From: Ze'Diva <Zediva@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [TheBlackList] CALL FOR HELP FROM 'NATI
I'm just up the highway from the "Nati" I have several friend who reside
there. I'm hearing things I never thought I would here in the 21st
>From the list I hear Rev. Al is going to work to assist on a few slavery
issue overseas. I think "Charity" starts at home.
Where is everyone, the police and the state troopers are going to have a
fields day down there.
My friends are beginning to feel as though they can't leave their homes and
My father who was fortunate to march with MLK and the likes spoke with me
the issue just yesterday.
I was so surprised to hear him say he feels the riots are justified. Well
after his explanation as to why I have to concur.
If we don't make some noise and act out as they say every now and then,
incidents such as this one will be sweep under the rug. My only concerns
are the rioters, attacking the black businesses. If so I feel maybe these
actions should be re-directed. I've watched the footage, and the one piece
which strikes me is the young lady who is taking to the police and one of
the COPS standing in the back ground begins to shout at her and sprays
or pepper spray directly in her eyes. Now that's atrocious.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2001
Fearing the people factories
New innovations in biotechnology promise to better the
world, but the cloning of humans will end only in
By KAI M.A. CHAN GS
A few weeks ago, I claimed that cloning was small moral peanuts in
comparison to our neglectful treatment of nonhuman organisms and future
generations in environmental issues such as global climate change
("Created in Our Image," March 6). My position should not be mistaken for
one that condones cloning humans. The response my column elicited from
several readers demands a deeper analysis of the issues at hand.
First, cloning is a process that can be applied in a wide variety of different
circumstances. Some of these circumstances are more appropriate than
others. Unless the process is inherently evil — and one would seem to
commit the naturalistic fallacy to claim that it is — a single policy for all
applications of cloning technology would inappropriately legislate this
complex mosaic of issues. Some applications are clearly indefensible: it's
horrendous to suggest cloning people for the purpose of harvesting their
organs. Other applications seem clearly beneficial: the cloning of stem cells
allows medical researchers a powerful, cost-effective, suffer-free
alternative to animal testing.
However, if most applications of the technology are undesirable and none
are highly advantageous, society might do well to ban the technology
entirely and keep a lid on Pandora's box. This may well be the case. While
the cloning of stem cells is beneficial — because it does not entail the
creation of new persons — it is not "reproductive cloning." We might
therefore take the route adopted by several countries and ban reproductive
cloning while allowing the cloning of stem cells for medical research.
But are there no major benefits to reproductive cloning? In my previous
column, I discussed the case of an infertile couple that strongly wishes to
have their own genetic children. But a cloned child would not be "their"
genetic child, as it would only share genes with one parent. I am confident
that more effective reproductive technologies will soon be available. These
technologies — which might allow the insertion of an infertile man's genes
into another man's functional sperm — will eliminate the need for
One of the most frequently discussed complaints against reproductive
cloning is that it will render genetic enhancement easier but still expensive,
thereby widening the gap between the rich and the poor. This objection
relies upon an analogy with genetic enhancement in livestock, where the
two separate technologies will be combined: once cells are enhanced
genetically, they will be cloned. Notice that cloning is fully unnecessary for
genetic enhancement: it only makes the mass enhancement of a group
more cost effective. The genetic enhancement of humans is unlikely to
follow the livestock route, as most people would prefer their own genetic
children to mass-produced children, even if they were cheaper to enhance
genetically. Cloning would therefore seem irrelevant to this important
debate (which I will therefore tackle separately).
In my mind, the most damning objection to cloning is the attitude it betrays.
The attitude of the man and woman who want only their own genetic
children seems to reflect a desire that the child be "just like" them. With
such an attitude, the parents' plans for their child would be instrumental to
the child's creation, which would threaten to put the parents' plans for their
child's life ahead of the child's own plans. This would place cumbersome
— and likely damaging — expectations on the cloned child. Despite shared
genes, the clone would differ in many respects and would frequently seek
dissimilar goals from his or her parent. It is always a problem when parents
choose their child's destiny for him or her; the very idea of a supposed
'need' for a cloned child embodies this wrongful attitude perfectly.
This attitude of 'plans for the clone' seems to underlie all applications of
reproductive cloning. Why would we need a being to have a particular
genetic identity unless we had predetermined a purpose for him or her? A
friend speculated that the CIA has already cloned dozens of Einsteins with
the intention of setting them to work on cold fusion, intergalactic travel and
weapons for political domination of the planet. This image of good-hearted
but downtrodden scientists — with shock hairdos — chained to Mac G5
supercomputers jumps to mind whenever I think of human cloning. It is
also the very definition of exploitation and a monstrous abuse of the human
It is this exploitative attitude that colors cloning in such an insidious light.
It's this attitude that demands most strongly that proponents of the
technology propose an application truly beneficial before we embrace this
technology as a society. It is difficult to imagine why we would require that
people be 'just so' if we did not wish to use them, or how we could make
moral progress by treating people as tools. In the absence of a proposal
that successfully navigates these moral hazards, I cannot condone cloning.
I can only condemn it.
(Kai M.A. Chan is an ecology and evolutionary biology graduate student
from Toronto, Ontario. He can be reached at email@example.com)
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Cape Cod Times
April 10, 2001
Crime in the 'Liberal' Media
By Sean Gonsalves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I hate to disappoint readers of this column who see a
conspiracy behind every news story, but in my stint as a
journalist I have yet to come across, or even hear rumors,
of a smoke-filled room where a group of old white guys
gather to plot against the masses and dream up ways to
scapegoat blacks for every social ill in America.
But then again, I suppose if these conspiracy meetings were
being held in some mysterious back room, I'm sure I wouldn't
It's not that conspiracies don't happen. For sure, they do.
And while the uncovering of a conspiracy is much more
fascinating, what brings real insight into the nature of
power and social relations is institutional analysis.
Whether we are examining a bank, a prison, or the Pentagon,
analyzing institutions helps us see the social roles we
play, allowing us to determine if these various institutions
conform to our values and are governed by a spirit of
This is why I find a new study being released today
extremely interesting. I think you might find it valuable,
too. The report is called "Off Balance: Youth, Race & Crime
in the News," authored by Lori Dorfman of the Berkeley Media
Studies Group and Vincent Schiraldi of the Justice Policy
You probably won't be surprised to find out, as the study
shows, public perception of crime is heavily influenced by
the news. In fact, 76 percent of Americans say they form
their opinions about crime based on what they see or read in
the news. Only 22 percent claim to get their primary
information on crime from personal experience.
So the study puts forward the sensible question: Does the
news media present an accurate picture of crime in America?
The answer, according to the study, is a resounding no.
The study found that although youth homicides declined by 68
percent between 1993 and 1999 and are at their lowest rate
since 1966, 62 percent of the public believes that youth
crime is on the rise.
Examining over 70 content analyses of newspaper and
television crime coverage, the report uncovers some
disturbing discrepancies. For starters, the news media
report crime, especially violent crime, out of proportion to
its actual occurrence.
Homicides make up one- to two-tenths of one percent of all
arrests, but 27 to 29 percent of all crimes reported on the
evening news are of homicides. Eighty-six percent of white
homicide victims are killed by other whites and most
homicide victims know their killer. But the least frequent
killings - homicide between strangers and interracial
killings - receive the most coverage.
>From 1990 to 1998, crime coverage on network news increased
by a whopping 473 percent as real crime rates have fallen
dramatically. (For example, homicide arrests dropped 32.9
percent from 1990 to 1998).
Another major finding is that the news media, particularly
television news, "unduly connect race and crime, especially
violent crime. African-Americans are underrepresented in
crime reports of victims and are overrepresented as
perpetrators of crime. Articles about white homicide victims
tend to be longer and more frequent than articles that cover
African-Americans were 22 percent more likely to be shown on
local TV news in Los Angeles committing violent crime than
nonviolent crime even though actual crime stats indicate
that blacks are just as likely to be arrested for nonviolent
crimes as they are for violent crime.
In California, seven of 10 local TV news stories on violence
involved youth, even though young people make up only 14
percent of all violent crime arrests. "Youth of color fare
far worse than their white counterparts... A study of Time
and Newsweek found the term 'young black males' became
synonymous with the word 'criminal' in coverage."
The study concludes: "It is not just that African-Americans
and other people of color are overrepresented as criminals
and underrepresented as victims, or that young people are
overrepresented as criminals, or that violent crime itself
is given exaggerated coverage. It is that all three occur
together, combining forces to produce a terribly unfair and
inaccurate overall image of crime in America."
The study makes a few recommendations, which includes
putting crime into context by providing relevant data on
crime statistics, balancing stories about youth and crime
with stories about youth accomplishments, and conducting
voluntary periodic audits of news content and sharing the
results with news consumers. (For more information, check
The get-tough-on-crime crowd - usually the same bunch
hollering about a "liberal" media and "dumbed down" youth -
might see things different if they did their homework and
got in touch with reality.
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and
Copyright (c) 2001 Cape Cod Times. All Rights Reserved.
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