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White University Newspaper Columnist's Call for Private "Retributive Correction" of Black Criminals:

A white North Carolina columnist at a student university paper — and the son of a city council member — wrote a remarkable column two weeks ago:

So upon whose shoulders should the responsibility of retributive correction fall?

Black people still murder us with impunity. Black people still beat us with impunity. Black people still rape us and get away with it.

The only deterrent to these legally, socially and economically validated supremacist actions is the fear of physical retribution.

White men, stand up. White women, stand up. White children, stand up. We have been at war here with these same black people for 500 years.

The time to fight, whether intellectually, artistically or physically, has always been now.

Predictably and properly, this has generated massive outrage.

Whoops, got one detail slightly wrong: It's actually a black North Carolina columnist at a student university paper (who is indeed the son of a city council member), complaining about various supposed failings of the criminal justice system — specifically the Duke case, where "The 'facts' of the case should not matter to us because even if we are unsure of sexual assault, these supremacists have admitted to sexually, racially and politically denigrating these women. Strippers or not, this must be addressed." Here is the excerpt:

So upon whose shoulders should the responsibility of retributive correction fall?

White people still murder us with impunity. White people still beat us with impunity. White people still rape us and get away with it.

The only deterrent to these legally, socially and economically validated supremacist actions is the fear of physical retribution.

Black men, stand up. Black women, stand up. Black children, stand up. We have been at war here with these same white people for 500 years.

The time to fight, whether intellectually, artistically or physically, has always been now.

I should say that there is of course a history of justice system racism against blacks, and doubtless a considerable amount of that remains. There is also a considerable amount of black crime against whites, at what credible sources report is a higher rate than white crime against blacks for murder, robbery, and in most years rape (though not for assault). The question is whether we deal with this by calling for honest law enforcement and reform, or by descending into claims of racial guilt and racial retribution, as the writer seems to suggest. (Had the columnist just been calling for self-defense by the victims against rapists and other criminals, I would entirely support that, whatever the race of the victims or the criminals; but the reference to retributive correction, supported by the tenor of the rest of the piece, strongly suggests something far beyond lawful self-defense.)

I should also note that the speech in the column is clearly constitutionally protected — even to the extent that it is trying to incite violence, it is not trying to and likely to incite imminent violence, which is what's required for it to lose constitutional protection (see Brandenburg v. Ohio, a 1969 Supreme Court case involving advocacy by white racists). I am simply saying that the speech merits condemnation, which I'm glad to say the university chancellor provided.

Finally, the News & Observer reports,

In 2000 and 2001, [the column's author] served a 13-month prison sentence after pleading no contest to charges of robbing two Duke students at gunpoint and then violating the terms of his probation.

UPDATE: Some commenters suggest that the color shift device with which I start the post is pointless, because they are equally outraged by both stories, and would have been outraged by the actual incident even without the earlier one. I'm glad to hear that this is the commenter's view; my suspicion is that the hypothetical (white call for race war) incident would have drawn much more public outrage than the actual (black call for race war) incident, because quite a few people wrongly cut slack to some black racists when they (rightly) would not cut slack to white racists — but if that's not so, and both incidents would have been treated comparably, that's excellent.

FURTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, other commenters argue that the white and black columns would indeed be different, which suggests that the color shift device was useful, in that it prompted the commenters to enunciate their position. Read the comments and decide for yourself which view is the more persuasive.

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