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He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.

-P.G. Wodehouse

I loathe Washington Post columnist Richard, but not just because of his lack of intelligence, as the Wodehouse quote above alludes to. But because he thinks he is very intelligent, despite his writing and analysis being so poorly constructed that it would garner an "F" from my alma mater, Vassar College—a school that rarely dispenses such a grade.

This evening Cohenaccused opponents of Stop-and-Frisk of enabling an environment where "guns will remain on the street and more people will die." He also writes:

The same holds for racial profiling. The numbers are proof not of racism but of a lamentable fact: Black and Hispanic men are disproportionately stopped because they are disproportionally the perpetrators of gun crime. The four persons a day that have not been killed by guns are statistically not white. They are black or Hispanic.
No one is disputing the fact that black and Latino men commit crimes at a higher rate than white men. Poor folks, no matter where one is, are more likely to engage in criminal activity given their economic conditions. But not all black or brown men are responsible for the criminal actions of a few, no more than all white men like Richard Cohen are responsible for the criminal antics of those on Wall Street. I would not endorse stopping all the white men who enter JP Morgan's headquarters, just as it shouldn't be okay for the NYPD to stop and harass black and brown men solely because of their skin color. And yet these obvious contextual examples don't stop Cohen from advocating for the racial profiling of black and brown men.

The columnist went onto assert that crime has dropped in NY at a more dramatic rate than any other city, even though some statistics show that San Diego has seen an even larger decline. Nevertheless, Cohen has no way to prove that Stop-and-Frisk is the reason behind NY's drop in crime. He just says so because he, like many liberal elites, worships at the alter of that egomaniac Mike Bloomberg who Cohen applauds for doing "a bang up job".

We shouldn't be surprised by Cohen's racist rants. This is a man who has written the following comments:

I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize.

For most Americans, race has become supremely irrelevant. Everyone knows this. Every poll shows this. Maybe the Supreme Court will recognize this.

Cohen also, in an infamous 1980s column, defended racist NY jewelry store owners who refused to admit black patrons.

This man clearly believes that black and brown crime is pathological. He has no understanding of the factors behind the criminal antics of impoverished peoples. Instead Cohen, who is Jewish and the descendant of a group that was profiled and branded with a yellow star in Nazi Germany for no reason other than their ethnic identity, is now advocating for the same bigoted policies on the opinion pages of the Washington Post. Cohen ended his screed by insulting those who disagree with his support of racial profiling by calling them simplistic. But of course a man who sexually harasses women and then argues it wasn't sexual harassment would say such a thing.

Cohen, like most entitled wealthy, white men, doesn't believe his behavior is racist or sexist. He thinks that's just the way life is. But for those not white and/or possessing a penis, Cohen's world isn't our world. My walking down the street and being stopped by a cop just because I'm black isn't constitutional or moral. Perhaps, Cohen would better understand this perspective if he got off his fat ass and stepped foot in the real world. America's segregation has not only sustained white supremacy but it also allows for a lack of compassion of empathy. Bloomberg said today that if he had a black child it's possible he would feel differently about S&F; and to this I say: Of course! Herein lies the problem with Cohen, Bloomberg and company: they don't understand life outside their privileged circles. Bloomberg, I think, may be genuinely committed to stopping crime, but Cohen is a filthy bigot who does a poor job of hiding it with his dreadful writing on the equally dreadful opinion pages of the Washington Post.

His musings on the Post's pages are indeed a train wreck. But worse than putrid writing is the sort of thinking, exhibited by Cohen, that allows the continuation of reactionary and racist policies that do nothing to improve the relationship between police and black and brown communities. He is worse than Jennifer Rubin because he truly thinks he is an enlightened liberal thinker.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He's a shithead extraordinaire. I was about to say (7+ / 0-)

    that Rubin is worse until your last point, and then realized you're absolutely right. He's a racist wolf in "reasonable moderate intellectual" sheep's clothing. At least Rubin is unmistakably a GOP moron. He's more insidious, indeed.

    "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Kombema on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:41:58 PM PDT

  •  really disappointing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Kevskos, kpardue

    given many Jews were on the front lines of the fight for civil rights to have someone like him in a high profile position saying shit like this.

    Of course it will look like non-whites commit more crimes if the people you stop and investigate are mostly non-white. Of course if you spend most of your resources in mostly non-white neighborhoods you will find more non-white people committing crimes.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:02:12 PM PDT

  •  This is how I knew Newspapers (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Mike S, dougymi, OHdog, mkor7

    were going to be hit in the face with a shovel over and over and over again for a decade or so after the dawn of how the internet was going to change how millions get the news. Right up until they finally lost their last die-hard wealthy dead-ender old money backers so much money they just went away for good.

    The Pantheon of Fuckwits and Noodlebrains we are supposed to regard as wise and learned who say something stupid or inane each and every time they meet a deadline for a column.

    MoDo. The late David Broder. Tom Friedman. Richard Cohen.

    One is one thing.

    Every village has an idiot.

    A Village of babbling self-absorbed vapid idiots that might have but one wise man, who might be fired at any moment, is something else.

    Nobody, and I mean nobody, in a position of authority in a business going into a profound period of transition and change like print publishing who would not only hire, or keep these people, but promote and feature them as if they are an asset to the firm and the product is smart enough to be in charge.

    If you read a single month of Tom Friedman columns, even if they are all mediocre ones rather than his usual attempts at constant bar-lowering new low worsts, and you still think of him as somebody foundational and visionary... your institution is fucked. Royally.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:11:37 PM PDT

  •  Loathe him? Get in line. Good diary. nt (6+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:13:53 PM PDT

  •  Since it is not block quoted I'm assuming that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    voicemail, Kevskos, sturunner

    these are your words:

    No one is disputing the fact that black and Latino men commit crimes at a higher rate than white men.
    People of color are the main focus of law enforcement all over the country.  It's no wonder they are disproportionately represented in crime rate statistics.  I am disputing your statement as being a fact.

    From the Center for American Progress:

    Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated.
    The Huffington Post reported that black youth arrest rates for drug, assaults, and weapon offences "are higher than arrest rates for white youth -- even though both report similar rates of delinquency."
    According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests.
    Because of a long history of racial bias and racial profiling, the available statistics generated by the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program are not to be trusted, and no one can make such a claim without relying on such questionable data, which is supplied voluntarily by law enforcement agencies.

    Don't buy in to the conservative stereotype that black and Latino men commit crimes at a higher rate than white men.  Don't make this point for them and don't concede this point to them, especially not to the likes of Richard Cohen or Pat Buchanan.

    Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

    by sjburnman on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 01:35:16 AM PDT

  •  The list is long (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I thought the courts had established that racial profiling is unconstitutional?

    I don't read these columnists because they simply defy logic, common sense, and comity. I haven't missed the editorial pages of the formerly free press in many years.

    I come here for my editorials.

    Thanks for this diary.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by voicemail on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 06:44:51 AM PDT

  •  Actually, the NYC S & F stats don't support (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the notion that profiling Blacks and Hispanics because you think they are more likely to be criminals gives you good results.  If you read the S & F opinion, it points out that, first, 88% of the stops result in no issues whatsoever, no guns, no contraband, nothing.  A 12% success rate is a pretty lousy utilization of resources.  Even more interesting, although relatively few Whites are stopped, the percentage of Whites who do get stopped and who have weapons and/or contraband is actually slightly higher than for Blacks and Hispanics. This suggests that racial profiling based on the perception that Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be criminals than Whites is simply not an effective tool to identify bad guys.

    And of course, even if it were true, it would still be unconstitutional to stop and frisk someone without a reasonable suspicion.  Being Black or Hispanic is simply not a reasonable basis for suspicion under the Constitution.

  •  T&R for Your Headline Alone n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

    by midnight lurker on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:16:40 AM PDT

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