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"The guy that we get out of the hood":

We've just been through the most analyzed five minutes anybody ever spent in a bathroom. But there's still one little-noticed part of it that caught my attention. At one point during the taped exchange between Sen. Larry Craig and Sgt. Dave Karsnia of the Minneapolis airport police, Karsnia tries to shame Craig into admitting that he was looking for sex:

Karsnia: . . . I don't disrespect you but I'm disrespected right now and I'm not trying to act like I have all kinds of power or anything, but you're sitting here lying to a police officer. . . .

Karsnia: I just, I just, I guess, I guess I'm gonna say I'm just disappointed in you sir. I'm just really am. I expect this from the guy that we get out of the hood. I mean, people vote for you.

Craig: Yes, they do. (inaudible)

Karsnia: unbelievable, unbelievable.

Craig: I'm a respectable person and I don't do these kinds of…

It seems to me that the phrase, "the guy that we get out of the hood," is an implied racial reference. It refers specifically to blacks, though one could say the officer meant to refer only to young black men from the ghetto who, in the officer's view, are prone to commit crimes.

Either way, it's still race-specific in a case that otherwise has no obvious racial dimension. To shame Craig into telling the truth, the officer could have used a different example, like, "I expect this from some punk we get off the street." Or, "I expect this from some low-life, but not a Senator." It's also fairly clear from the context that the officer is not associating blacks with bathroom cruising, but with dishonesty and "disrespect" toward the police.

Why would Karsnia use a race-specific reference in this context? First, the officer may associate blacks in general, or at least those from "the hood," with bad conduct. In the heat of the exchange, this particular example is the one that first comes to his mind because black men from poor neighborhoods are the kind of people he would most associate with dishonesty and disrespectful behavior.

Second, the officer may have expected that Craig would immediately understand the reference and be especially shamed by it as a law-abiding white person. "Not only were you engaged in this tawdry behavior but now you're acting like a black thug who lies to a police officer about it," he seems to be saying. I doubt the officer would have used the "hood" reference if he'd been talking to a suspect who was black. It simply wouldn't have worked against a black suspect, whether that suspect was from "the hood" or not. It would have backfired even if used against, say, a wealthy black lawyer in a business suit. Further, in the presence of a black person the officer would have been sensitized to using a racial reference. It only works as a shaming technique if it's one white person speaking to another, with no blacks around to object.

The whole thing passed by unnoticed in their conversation; one of the interesting things about it was how matter-of-fact it was. Craig had no audible reaction to the comment except to insist that he is "respectable" — unlike those people from "the hood." The officer made no other racial reference, and of course used no blatantly racist slur, which would be unacceptable in senatorial company.

The moment also passed by unnoticed in the national conversation about the scandal. With just a few exceptions (see, for example, here and here), it hasn't even been a blip on the blogs. I've seen nothing about it on television.

We can't draw any grand conclusions from this one phrase in one interview. By itself, it's not an indictment of our society, or of police in general, or even of just the Minneapolis airport police. If it's a racist moment, it's the kind of casual and coded racism that doesn't even register with most people; it's part of the background of our lives, so pervasive and common it's invisible. That may be why it has gone unremarked. Its significance, if any, is that it seems like the sort of thing that happens every day in the interaction of cops and citizens, where presumptions and attitudes about race factor silently into all kinds of decisions small and large. Here we have one very small example of it on tape.

But maybe I've misinterpreted the reference or overstated what it may mean. I'm curious what others think. Please confine any comments to this specific issue, not the many other issues raised by the Craig scandal (e.g., whether he actually committed a crime or what evidence might have been introduced to undermine Karsnia's credbility at trial).

UPDATE: Some commenters suggest that because "the hood" can have non-racial meanings, the cop must not have intended to refer to inner-city blacks here. But coded race references work, when they're used, precisely because they can have non-racial meanings. In a society that condemns overt racism, they send the message you need to send to your target audience and provide deniability to everyone else.

I agree that the reference to "the hood" can mean lots of things. I've heard gay people refer to predominantly gay neighborhoods as the hood. The language of hip-hop has seeped into popular culture and has been appropriated to refer to lots of things, depending on context. But the question is, what's the most likely meaning of "the hood" when a white cop is interrogating a 65-year-old white suspect and trying to shame him into a confession? That he's lying like the people in a poor white neighborhood? Like the people who live in crime-prone neighborhoods in general? Like the people who live in the cop's own neighborhood? I doubt it, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong, which is why I raised the question.

Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
It didn't sound racial to me. I thought of a white, in fact; with greasy hair. It hairist.
9.2.2007 3:36pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
I think you were right when you said that the case has no racial aspects. There's no reason to try to create them out of this comment, unless one's trying to do a hatchet job on the arresting officer.
9.2.2007 3:44pm
liberty (mail) (www):
I don't see what is race specific about the 'hood. There are plenty of white folk in ghettos, and talking about the 'hood just means talking about the poor ghetto type neighborhoods.

Unless you think that all poor urban folk are black and all poor whites are rural, or that only black people abbreviate their words, I don't see why you would make any racial inference.
9.2.2007 3:53pm
rlb:
"Based on my training and years of experience as a hypersensitive advocate of political correctness, I recognized this apparently-innocuous reference to 'the hood' as an incitement to commit a hate crime, and accordingly placed the officer under citizen's arrest."
9.2.2007 3:57pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
[Deleted: please stay on topic.]
9.2.2007 4:06pm
Brian K (mail):
I agree with you dale (and disagree with all the above commentators).

"the hood" is obviously a reference to a poor predominately black ghetto area. that is the way it is used in everyday language. you can make arguments that this isn't what the cop was referring to...but they are rather contrived and lack any sort of basis.

however, whether the cop is genuinely racist or was trying to provoke a response out of the senator can't be answered based on this alone.
9.2.2007 4:06pm
e:
The first few posters have it right. I think that Mr. Carpenter might have been right 30 years ago if the cop had only been exposed to a suburban upper-middle class environment. I suspect Brian K's "everyday language" is actually "everyday language I'm exposed to or familiar with." Hood is now racially neutral when used in everyday language by urban and lower-middle class folk. Even without hip-hop cultural influences, the officer is of a different place and generation than those who would have once been reasonably offended.
9.2.2007 4:31pm
Nate F (www):
I don't know where some of you live, but I have never heard "the hood" used to refer to anything other than poor, predominately black neighborhoods. Whose terminology do you think it is, exactly? White people sure didn't come up with "the hood."
9.2.2007 4:33pm
Brian K (mail):
e,

you do realize that the objection that you use against my post works just as well for your post?
9.2.2007 4:39pm
suburbanite (mail):
Of course it's got a racist edge. But what's the problem? Cops are expected to lie, to dissemble, to fool, to fib, to manipulate during interrogation. It's a "catch as catch can" forum.

Bear in mind that although it's got a racist edge that doesn't mean anything about the cop. Remember that he's a professional and when he does something like that, it's just part of his professional role.
9.2.2007 4:42pm
Not from the Hood:

Whose terminology do you think it is, exactly? White people sure didn't come up with "the hood."

So just because white people didn't invent the term, they can't have adopted it? I don't think that white people came up with gansta rap, yet that music form seems to be extremely popular with the mostly upper-class white kids who live in my 'hood.
As e said, the association of "hood" with any specific race is quite outdated.
9.2.2007 4:44pm
Martin Grant (mail):
Maybe because the town I live next to has a large diverse group of minorities with a lot of poorer white folks as well, I've never thought of this expression as having any racial overtones. Have you been watching "Good Times" on TV Land recently Dale? :-)

DC: No, I prefer All in the Family ;)
9.2.2007 4:55pm
BCLS:
Goodness. The posters here who think that the "hood" is not a racially tinged term appear to be speaking a different version of the English language than I do. The "hood" as I understand it generally refers to poor, urban, primarily black neighborhoods. It does not refer to poor white neighborhoods. When have you ever heard of a rapper talk about the "hood" as being a white neighborhood?

That said, I do not think Sen. Craig's protests that he is "respectable" were necessarily in response to the whole "hood" issue. My guess is that he was asserting that he is a respectable man in the sense that he is not the sort of man who cruises for sex in public bathrooms.
9.2.2007 4:56pm
Chris E:
I don't know where some of you live, but I have never heard "the hood" used to refer to anything other than poor, predominately black neighborhoods. Whose terminology do you think it is, exactly? White people sure didn't come up with "the hood."

Well, five years ago I was in high school in Saint Paul, Minnesota and, while I can't be certain this is what I would have thought then, to me "the hood" carries racial connotations only in a historical sense.
9.2.2007 5:00pm
Anonymouseducator (mail):
I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who hear the expression "from the 'hood" think of black of Hispanic people. It's slightly different from saying "in my 'hood" which white people might use somewhat ironically.

Thinking about NYC, where I live, almost all the neighborhoods that would be described as "the 'hood" are predominantly black or Hispanic. Can someone from another city provide an example of a neighborhood that might be termed "the 'hood" that is mostly populated by white people? I'm guessing there aren't very many.
9.2.2007 5:01pm
e:
Off topic, but Brian K -- you'll have to explain yourself since I'm a bit dense. I grew up privileged and in many ways and I'm still isolated from many elements of society, but my critique of your post was supposed to be that you are likely unfamiliar with the "everyday language" in other crowds. Yes, I too am unfamiliar, but I suspect my world experience is a bit broader than yours on this particular question. Maybe I've been more of a nomad or just people watch more. Is my unfamiliarity of other topics relevant here? My point, I think, was that your perception of "everyday language" might not matter in determining propriety here. Assuming that we try to give those accused a benefit of doubt, my awareness that 'hood is often used in race-neutral ways is relevant. Unless I'm lying. Should the first few posts not lead you to question your apparent insularity with respect to the meaning of "'hood" to others? Should the police worry about a nationwide law-pontificating audience for comments, or just be held to a standard reasonable in their context?
9.2.2007 5:14pm
Brian K (mail):
e,

what gave you the impression that i am a sheltered kid?

i grew up the suburbs of chicago...went to high school and college in LA...and am now a med student in chicago. i'm white from a upper middle class family.

you may have broad experiences but i doubt they are broader than mine. i have never once heard westwood (a wealthy part of LA) being referred to as the hood but i have often heard the more run down areas and the poorer areas of LA being referred to as the hood. same thing as where i'm living now...north chicago and waukegan (both predominately poor and black) are referred to as the hood or the ghetto, but libertyville and vernon hills (wealthier whiter areas) very rarely are. when i lived in the farm country of illinois and indiana i never even heard the word "hood" used by anyone.

so yes, based on my extensive experience of living in both wealthy and poor and white and minority areas, i can say that the hood definitely refers to a poor, predominately minority area.

now then, what makes your experiences better or more inclusive than mine?

Should the first few posts not lead you to question your apparent insularity with respect to the meaning of "'hood" to others?
by this logic, 1) shouldn't dale's post give you doubt about your interpretation? and 2) i am familiar with the writings of some of the authors you are referring to and i would be genuinely surprised if they said anything else (see any post concerning muslims for an example)

Should the police worry about a nationwide law-pontificating audience for comments, or just be held to a standard reasonable in their context?
the police should definitely worry about overt and covert racism of all sorts.
9.2.2007 5:37pm
Waldensian (mail):
With apologies to the pearl-clutchers who gasp about people "speaking a different English language" than they do:

Where I live, "the guy that we get out of the hood" is in fact equivalent to "some punk we get off the street," although perhaps without the additional punk element. I.e., if somebody around here told me the police had arrested "a guy out of the hood," I could draw no reliable conclusion about that guy's race.

"Punk" itself may have racial overtones; I don't think I've ever heard a black guy described as a punk.

It may of course be different elsewhere.
9.2.2007 5:48pm
Cory Olson (mail):
My brother lived in the "hood" of NE Mpls, and he certainly is white. He reports some of the same harassment by cops that other people have had.

Plenty of white people live in the hood - especially in Minneapolis.
9.2.2007 5:48pm
33yearprof:
Metropolitan Minnesota is not immune to the institutional racism that is endemic in America's police forces (surprisingly, even among officers of color). Just ask any black person living in the city of Minneapolis or of St. Paul. The 97% white population, of course, doesn't see it, hear of it or speak of it.
9.2.2007 5:51pm
liberty (mail) (www):
those people who are arguing that this sentence was racist are only able, apparently, to defend the idea that "the 'hood" often refers to poor, predominantly minority, neighborhoods.

So what?

That doesn't mean that saying something about "the guy that we get out of the hood" is a racist statement.

1. "Predominantly" does not mean "exclusively"
2. The guy that the cops gets out of the hood, arrests from this poor (and predominantly minority, incidentally) neighborhood is being arrested. He isn't any old guy, he is a bad guy.
3. The point is simply that the guy that they arrest from a bad neighborhood is often disrespectful. This has nothing to do with his race-- it has to do with his being from a bad neighborhood. The fact that these neighborhoods are often predominantly minority is not relevant. And the guy they get out of there could easily be white.
9.2.2007 5:53pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Waldensian,

I second that. I was thinking the same-- whereas "guy from the hood" means nothing in terms of race to me, I often think "white kid" when I hear "punk"
9.2.2007 5:54pm
Brian K (mail):
Some of you are missing the point. The hood refers to an area that is predominately poor and minority. It does not refer to only the minorities that live in that area. Therefore, "a guy from the hood" very well could be white or asain or latino or african american or martian or whatever. its a probability thing...he will most likely be minority, but not always.
9.2.2007 5:56pm
vinnie (mail):
Larry Craig is from Idaho. I am from Idaho. Hood is a part of the parka that goes over your head to keep it warm. Homie is the way a warm fire feels after you get back from using your hood.
9.2.2007 5:56pm
Anonymouseducator (mail):
I am not really arguing one way or another about racism. I just find it difficult to believe that there are very many predominantly white neighborhoods that one would refer to as "the 'hood." Certainly there are white people who live in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods.

If someone was talking about a white acquaintance and mentioned that "he lives in the 'hood" I would not be shocked. I would just assume that the guy was one of the relatively few white people living in a mostly minority neighborhood. I think that most people would have the same reaction.
9.2.2007 6:03pm
BCLS:
Waldensian, I could do without your sneering assumptions about who is "gasping" or "pearl-clutching" -- I'm just raising my eyebrow in surprise as I read some of the posts here.

I wonder if the demographics of where we live may be playing a role here. A poster from St. Paul (11.7% black, which is less than the national average of 12.8%) and a poster from northeast of Minneapolis (the city itself is 18% black, but the northeastern suburbs are presumably whiter due to white flight), and a poster from an unidentified "town" all agree that "hood" is not a racially tinged term.

The one poster who identified him/herself as being from New York City (26.6% black) said that "hood" is a racially tinged term, as did a poster from LA (which has only 11.2% black, but 46.5% hispanic population). I live in Boston (25.3% black) and agree that it's racially tinged.

We may indeed be speaking different versions of the English language, based on whether the cities we live in have a substantial black/hispanic population or not.
9.2.2007 6:07pm
WWJRD (mail):
When have you ever heard of a rapper talk about the "hood" as being a white neighborhood?

Eminem and a lot of the white kids who wanted to be him a few years ago, some of them were poor whites from "the hood", right? You're reaching finding racial overtones, when he meant more "you're a politician, not a kid brought up on the streets". Now that could be any race too, right?
9.2.2007 6:08pm
Anonymouseducator (mail):
As far as the distinction between the area and the people who live there, compare "the guy we get out of [Chinatown, Little Italy, Harlem." You're not talking about a specific guy that you actually pulled out of those neighborhoods, but rather a hypothetical guy.
9.2.2007 6:08pm
Anonymouseducator (mail):
I would also bet that, at least in this thread, conservatives tend to see the term "'hood" as race-neutral, and liberals don't. Amazing!
9.2.2007 6:11pm
Hewart:
The term "'hood" is widely attested to in rap lyrics by white rappers. Good grief, even the quintessentially caucasian rapper Vanilla Ice refers to his "hood" in multiple songs.

"Some guy from the hood" may evoke racial overtones for folks who aren't part of the Gen Y culture, but nowadays, it doesn't have such a racial connotation for younger folks. It generally connotes a poor, inner-city neighborhood where crime is a greater everyday problem and life is contrasted to middle-class suburban life.
9.2.2007 6:21pm
e:
Okay Brian K, I didn't think of you as a "kid" until now. And I only mean that you were sheltered (your word) in the sense that you don't appreciate that 'hood can be used without being racist. No pissing match intended, but yes some of us have been exposed to more places and different elements of society. I wouldn't read this board if I'd seen and experienced everything. The distinction that you seem to miss is that Mr. Carpenter seemed open to the possibility that a word he associated with race could be used in different ways. The first few posters established that, unless you are calling them and me liars. You and he bring a different perspective, which is valid, but does not preclude the idea that 'hood can be used by populations without racial connotations. Economic certainly (other than the rich kids' joking use referring to Grosse Pointe), and racial sometimes, but not always. Racism is often tough for privileged folks to see, but it is still possible to conjure instances to match a worldview. You are right that police should politely serve society, but they shouldn't waste energy worrying about racism where it doesn't exist, but might be imagined by those who live in a different sphere beyond their community and with a static language conception.
9.2.2007 6:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
The cop was talking about respect. Is it reasonable to think there is more crime and disrespect for police in such neighborhoods? If we look at a map of high crime areas in a large city, is there a correlation to the hood?
9.2.2007 6:32pm
John Neff (mail):
Maybe someone could ask the officer what he meant when he used the word "Hood".
9.2.2007 6:32pm
Not an American:
Dale,

Even if we assume 'hood' does refer to black urban neighbourhoods, can you explain more clearly what makes the phrase racist rather than just a race specific reference? If a suspect does behave just like "the guy that we get out of the hood", why can't the officer say so?

I honestly don't understand how the reference is racist. I'm not arguing that it's not racist: I just don't understand the reasoning in your post.
9.2.2007 6:35pm
liberty (mail) (www):
BCLS,

You skipped me. I am from NYC and do not believe that the 'hood has any racial connotations. I have lived in East and South Williamsburg Brooklyn and Harlem for quite a few years total. I don't currently live there.
9.2.2007 6:36pm
suburbanite (mail):
As to whether there's a race connotation to "hood," all I can say is that it's not even a close call. No later than John Singleton's "Boyz 'n the Hood," about 16 years ago, the word has been a catchword, buzzword, terms of art, and place of pride in the urban hiphop world.
9.2.2007 6:46pm
AppSocRes (mail):
[deleted: off-topic]
9.2.2007 6:47pm
Visitor Again:
This cop was quite well-versed in the techniques of getting people to talk. One of the things he did was give the impression that Craig had better talk or he was going to jail right now whereas if he cooperated he would not be arrested then and there (a threat which rendered Craig's entire ensuing statement involuntary in my view).

Would Senator Craig have understood "the guy that we get out of the hood" to mean anything other than a black guy? Did the officer intend him to understand it as a reference to anyone other than a black guy? If you answer yes to either of these questions, you need help.

By the way, from what I've read, I dislike Craig as a politician and as a man. But I think it was ridiculous to arrest him for what he did.
9.2.2007 6:47pm
Brian K (mail):
And I only mean that you were sheltered (your word) in the sense that you don't appreciate that 'hood can be used without being racist.

ahh..but i've never said it is a racist term. i said it refers to predominately poor and minority areas. if you'd taken the time to read my original post i specifically said that we could not call the officer a racist based on this one comment. just because a word has racial connotations does not necessarily mean it is racist.

whether or not a word is racist depends largely on the context of its use and we don't know the full context in this case. in this case i am leaning towards a racist comment but that also doesn't mean the officer is a racist as per my original comment.
9.2.2007 6:49pm
Brian K (mail):
It generally connotes a poor, inner-city neighborhood where crime is a greater everyday problem and life is contrasted to middle-class suburban life.

and which ethnicity tends to predominate in these poor inner city neighborhoods where crime is a greater everyday problem?
9.2.2007 6:51pm
Peter B. Nordberg (mail) (www):
I'm with "suburbanite." I do take the word to have racial connotations, but I didn't see the officer's use of it in the interrogation context as evidence that the officer had any racial bias. I saw it as an interrogation technique -- inviting Sen. Craig to make an inculpatory statement if Craig's racial attitudes and assumptions made him feel it was safe and/or appropriate to do so. From what I hear, it's a frequent interrogation technique to convey the false impression that questioner and suspect may hold basic attitudes in common -- e.g., that the interrogator sees the suspect as more like the interrogator than the interrogator's usual subjects. Why the officer would feel that a reference with racial overtones might push Craig's buttons is another question.
9.2.2007 6:57pm
Brian K (mail):
e,

Racism is often tough for privileged folks to see

and

I grew up privileged

i gotta give you credit for one thing...you certainly know how to undermine your own argument.
9.2.2007 6:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):
[deleted: off-topic]
9.2.2007 6:58pm
Dave N (mail):
I think if you want to see racism in the officer's comment you can see it. Heck, if you want to find racism, you can find it in just about anyhting. However, in my mind, if you want to call someone a racist, you had better have more evidence than one passing comment.
9.2.2007 7:07pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
The simplest explanation is the most likely: "Senator, we expect that sort of nonsense out of those negroes from bad neighborhoods, but not an otherwise upstanding white guy like you."
9.2.2007 7:12pm
Houston Lawyer:
While I see the racial connotations of the phrase, it has more of a class connotation to me. Would we pretend to be offended if the officer had referred to "white trash", or residents of a trailer park or even gangbangers?

As a resident of the hood, I know the type of person to whom he was referring. He wasn't referring to the elderly old Black ladies I see walking to church.
9.2.2007 7:18pm
lskjdflkdjf:
My vote: "Hood" was originally a term used by inner-city low-income African-Americans, but it has been appropriated by other inner-city low-income communities. Now it can refer to low-income neighborhoods with a variety of different ethnicities, or that are predominately composed of ethnicities other than African Americans. Some people, when they hear the word "hood", think of African Americans, but some just think of low-income people.

As evidence that the officer was trying to make some sort of racial innuendo, this phrase alone seems pretty weak. If he had used the phrase "punk", people would have thought of white neo-nazis, "scumbag" probably would have been perceived as referring to white people, "low-life" might have had no racial connotation, etc. It seems to me that he just happened to use a phrase that for some people refers more to African-Americans more than other people. He could have just as easily used one of those other words.

That said, if this officer had a history of using that particular phrase to white people, of only giving traffic tickets to African-Americans, etc., then I might view this phrase as some evidence that something more was going on here.
9.2.2007 7:20pm
SG:
Houston Lawyer

I'm with you. When I think "'hood", I think class and behavior much more than race. I hear the police officer as trying to draw a distinction between the (ex-)Senator and a hoodlum. Are there racial connotations to the term "hoodlum" that I'm unaware of?

I do find it interesting that the liberal/progressive folks self-admit to equating class with race more so than conservative folks. I find implicit assumption that black equals poor to be highly racist. Yet for some reason it's the conservative mindset that is always accused of racism. Why is that?
9.2.2007 7:32pm
Guest 101:
Is it racist to acknowledge that there are poor urban areas, predominantly inhabitied by relatively uneducated minorities, in which the crime rate is relatively high? If so, then reality itself must be racist (a rare exception to Colbert's observation that reality has a well-known liberal bias.) Assuming the police officer's statement is grounded in fact-- which I have no reason to doubt-- then I can't imagine that there's anything inappropriate in his reference to that reality, regardless of whether his doing so conjures a negative picture of certain minorities.
9.2.2007 7:34pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
This cop was quite well-versed in the techniques of getting people to talk. One of the things he did was give the impression that Craig had better talk or he was going to jail right now whereas if he cooperated he would not be arrested then and there (a threat which rendered Craig's entire ensuing statement involuntary in my view).

I had that thought, too. As far as "the hood" the interogation theme seems to be:

"All the time I pick up guys from the 'hood (ignorant, thuggist types) who try to lie their way out of something: a guy like you ought to be ashamed to act like them, and should instead confess to the nice officer."
9.2.2007 7:45pm
SP:
Of course it was a racial reference. It wasn't the worst ever, and I don't think it says anything about society, but it is what it is.

And while I tend to think Craig was looking for a quickie, this type of police interrogation seems extremely inappropriate. Not unconstitutional, but ridiculous. The officer's whining toward the end is the most ridiculous thing in this story, and that's saying something.
9.2.2007 7:56pm
SP:
Boyz in the Hood was about white people, yes? What???
9.2.2007 7:58pm
Brian K (mail):
I do find it interesting that the liberal/progressive folks self-admit to equating class with race more so than conservative folks. I find implicit assumption that black equals poor to be highly racist.

where in this thread do people actually do this?
9.2.2007 7:59pm
SG:
Brian K,

Look at every posting (including yours) where the belief that any reference to residents of the 'hood' (meaning poor, crime ridden neighborhoods) must refer to black people.

Although to be fair, while writing this response I realize that you and others aren't necessarily saying that black equals poor, you're saying that poor equals black. Still racist, but not in the same sense. I suppose it doesn't matter if you discriminate against poor white folks, though. Can you maintain your progressive bona fides with that form of racism? Does it help?
9.2.2007 8:12pm
Teh Anonymous:
I'd like to declare a new winner of the thread. Nice work, Vinnie.
9.2.2007 8:19pm
Brian K (mail):
SG,

i've always said poor, predominately black (or minority) areas. both are necessary and neither one is sufficient alone. the fact that you think i am saying that all poor areas are also black or that all black areas are poor is poor reading comprehension on your part.

you're saying that poor equals black.
no i'm not. the hood refers to poor predominately black areas. a poor predominately white area would be referred to as trailer trash or something else.
9.2.2007 8:21pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
Probably the word, even if Black in origin, reponds to pressure from ``hood'' as in ``hoodlum.'' Which brings in gang member, which is more or less what ``guy from the hood'' means ; that sort of person.
9.2.2007 8:39pm
Hewart:
SG, I don't think the correlation you're proposing exists. I've argued that "hood" is nowadays a race-neutral term. Are you saying I'm a conservative?
9.2.2007 9:02pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Others have already accurately pointed out that the hood refers to an *area* that is poor and has a high crime rate. Yes, it is true that in the US the hood is often associated with racial minorities (as they tend to live in poor crime ridden areas of cities) but surely that is not the *meaning* of the term. BTW I don't buy that the hood is associated primarily with blacks, at least in California people tend to associate it with Latinos to a comparable degree.

However, what is equally important is that not only are there non-minorities who live in the hood but there are many minorities who do not live in the hood. Thus I fail to see what makes this a coded racial message since it refers primarily to CLASS distinctions that happen to be correlated with racial ones (both objectively and in people's minds).

I mean I could make the same argument about the term 'some punk from the street'. After all we don't say suburban white kids, even when arrested for criminal behavior, are from the street. Thus being from the street is something that is predominately applied to minority youth and most likely will call up the image of a minority in a rich white person's mind (rightly or wrongly).

Ultimately it seems by your standard that ANY attempt to talk about the group of people who tend to be crime prone and disrespectful to the police will NECESSARILY be a coded racial message because most people will think of a minority when they think of an example.
9.2.2007 9:23pm
Scipio_79:
as someone who reviews postconviction motions for a living, i have noticed that most criminals tend to lie when caught. this is not a black/white/latino thing but indicative, i believe, of a breakdown in moral standards among the poor of all races. (see gertrude himmelfarb-"the de-moralization of society). thus, i belive the "hood" means the poor section of town and not the black section of town, though sometimes the poor section is the black section, but i would argue that it's not uniformly any single race.
9.2.2007 9:50pm
SG:
Brian K,

Our conceptions of the hood differ. When I hear 'hood', I think poor, urban, and high crime rate. I don't immediately think of race. Curiously, when I think of 'trailer trash', I think poor, rural and explicitly white. I don't claim immunity from racial generalizations, only that 'hood' doesn't carry that connotation with me.

Hewart,

I believe you're making the same mistake I did. I don't claim that every liberal/progressive reads 'hood' as a racially tinged term, only that liberals/progressives are more likely to do so more than conservatives. In other words (and only based on this thread), if you believe 'hood' is racial code, you are a progressive/liberal. Rejecting that code doesn't imply that you are conservative.

That said, my original statement ("liberal/progressive folks self-admit to equating class with race more so than conservative folks") lacked nuance so I can understand why you read it as more absolute than I intended it. To be more clear: I read this thread as saying if you find 'hood' to be racial code, you are liberal/progressive (Aside: can't the left pick a label and stick to it? At the very least it would save some typing, and God knows how much CO2 that would save...). I did not mean that everyone who rejects that code is conservative.
9.2.2007 10:45pm
anonymous poster:
How many of you VC posters listen to rap? For nearly twenty years, most rap / hip-hop music has been sold to white males under the age of 25. In the same way that so many of them appropriated the baggy pants of "the hood" (without having any idea why baggy pants have an advantage in the hood but not in the suburbs), they also appropriated the language, and refer to their neighborhoods as "the hood" and their friends as "homies" or "homeboys".

Just because in your rarified pseudo academic imaginations the phrase "the hood" has racist connotations, it does not follow that most users of the phrase (who are white and use the phrase self-referentially) also use it with racist overtones. Get out of the ivory tower and talk to people who live real lives.
9.2.2007 10:53pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Wikipedia directs "hood" to a disambiguation page, where it claims that it's a synonym for "ghetto." The UrbanDictionary.com page agrees, putting "1. Ghetto" as its first definition.

The 'hood usually seems to mean "a specific area, which, because we're either from the same city or one of us is from a well-known city such as New York, is probably clear to both of us, but might mean some place else or areas very much like it to other listeners" in pop culture. At least one reference substitutes "the block" (Lopez, Olivier, Barnes, Oliver, Deyo, Parker, Sterlin, and Miro, 2002,) and "ghetto" has similar contemporary, not particularly pre-WWII "we never leave because no one else speaks our language" usage (Michel, Jean, Jones, Gibb, Gibb, Gibb, Brown, Byrd, and Lenhoff, 1998.)

To me, "the hood" means any place which reminds me of lower class (in the sense of "stealing shopping carts because we're bored")/economically poor, MTV/BET/VH1 thug/prostitute themes. I know people who still use it to actually refer to particular places in regular conversation (rather than pop culture) but most of the people I know only do so in a derisive "I'm using this word because some goofy people still think it's cool" sort of way. It doesn't really have a solid racial meaning for me, but I've lived in places where most of the poor people were white (parts of Ohio,) where they were Latino (Los Angeles,) or where they were black (Connecticut,) and some where the poor people were more rural than everyone else ("the hood" definitely implies an urban situation,) so a lot of these terms are ambiguous to me now.

Anyway, if that's the only reference, I wouldn't make much of it. The stuff about expecting a Senator to behave in a more dignified fashion struck me as somewhat naive or old-fashioned, though, which made me sad.
9.2.2007 10:55pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Oh, and I think the cop meant "you're lying in the way that lower-class people -- the sort of people you probably think commit most crimes -- do." I'm sure he was trying to conjure generic, Jerry Springer-esque, "40 of our high schools now offer daycare to teen moms," bars-on-the-windows, stolen shopping carts, 'this is why we wrote that 3-strikes law,' high school dropout images. Whether they were black (or whatever) people in the Senator's mind wasn't as important as the social and economic trappings surrounding them -- and the cop got a "I'm not that kind of guy!!" response, just as he'd hoped. The message was "fine, upstanding, non-criminal citizens such as yourself would do themselves credit by Acting Like A Man and admitting to everything." It's another version of the "if you've got nothing to hide, you'll let us do X" tactic, which only works on people who think of themselves as decent.
9.2.2007 11:02pm
Toby:

Wikipedia directs "hood" to a disambiguation page, where it claims that it's a synonym for "ghetto." The UrbanDictionary.com page agrees, putting "1. Ghetto" as its first definition

So, then, it was actually an antisemtic term all along?

I am reminded of when I was 13, when I and my [male] classmates claimed we could find a sexual connotation in *anything*. Of course, Larry stumped me after a long run of phrases with a simple sentence involving a box. I did not yet know that "box" was slang and could have been easily dealt with.
9.2.2007 11:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The racism of a remark is in the ear of the listener of the target race. The test is whether you were offended or not. The speaker may have been intentionally racist or negligently racist. Racism pervades our society to the extent that people literally do not recognize when they are being racist. One indicator of negligent racism is white people disagreeing about whether a remark was racist or not: remarks intended to hurt other races are usually obvious to all.

Here, because the police officer did not specifically say "minority group member," I believe he was unintentionally racist when he contrasted someone in Larry Craig's position in life to someone from the hood. The hood is where poor folks live, who have to hustle to get by, who might have to break the law to survive, and, to protect themselves, might lie about what they did. For these reasons, although lily-white, the ratty trailer park zone that Eminem grew up in could quite rightly be called a hood. Unlike thugs from the hood, United States Senators are not poor folks who have to hustle to get by, and therefore their transgressions would not be motivated by the need to survive. Thus their transgressions are inexcusable, and lies to protect themselves are unjustifiable. But if you were a minority group member from the hood, you are quite justified in calling the remark racist.
9.2.2007 11:47pm
NickM (mail) (www):
I agree with Peter Nordberg. If the cop thinks that a Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho is racist (perhaps just because of a stereotype of Republicans, Idahoans, or some other group), he might make a remark with racial overtones to try to draw a reaction from the Senator.

Nick
9.3.2007 12:00am
Waldensian (mail):

Waldensian, I could do without your sneering assumptions about who is "gasping" or "pearl-clutching"

Ummm.... I don't care.


I'm just raising my eyebrow in surprise as I read some of the posts here.

Exactly the point I was trying to convey.
9.3.2007 12:21am
a knight (mail) (www):
(Note: an online transcript of the Craig arrest video is available in the transcript of MSNBC's 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for August 30, 2007)

I do not believe that Karsnia's use of the phrase, "the guy that we get out of the hood", is inherently racially biased, and I'd read the transcript several times before reading this comment. I read it to be a reference to a contemporary cultural artifact, the elevation of gangsterism to acceptability in society, that Karsnia felt was detrimental. On reflection though, I realise that I was working from additional data:

Just 29, his record has been that of a rising young officer. He joined the Metropolitan Airports Commission's department in 2000 as a community services officer, just out of college. Three years later, he was named its Officer of the Year, and in 2005 he was promoted to sergeant. Last year, he finished his master's degree.

...Karsnia grew up in International Falls, on the Canadian border, and worked as a butcher's assistant at Karsnia Meats and as a produce clerk at a grocery store, according to employment records kept by the airports commission.

He got a two-year degree at a community college in International Falls and then in 1998 moved 320 miles south to get a bachelor's degree in 2000 in law enforcement at St. Mary's University in Winona. Last year he earned a master's degree in criminal justice, leadership and education at Concordia University in St. Paul.

Joshua Freed - The Associated Press, "Minnesota officer who arrested Craig has reliable reputation", Idaho Statesman, August 31, 2006


Karsnia seems to be a motivated young man who grew up on the Canadian border, and whose police experience is entirely at the Metropolitan Airport. For you to advance this, based only upon one phrase, as being racially biased against blacks is in my mind more indicative of your own geo/pol/social slant. Have you ever spent much time west of the Rockies? Ask Professor V. if he believes the term 'hood' carries with it a specific racial bias against black. That you subsequently continue to defend the assertion without any further justification other than the extremely hazy concept of 'code words', which you did not further describe, causes me to wonder if you may have motivations of agenda.

[deleted off-topic material]
9.3.2007 12:37am
Ken Arromdee:
The racism of a remark is in the ear of the listener of the target race. The test is whether you were offended or not.

Well, I guess you're racist, because you just offended me by implying I'm racist.

By your own standards, you have no argument against that because there is no such thing as being unreasonably offended, and my statement that I was offended takes priority over anything else.
9.3.2007 1:00am
whit:
sorry, but the OP is simply wrong

the hood is the hood. it only has a racial context if you want it to. i spent a good part of my life living and working in the hood. that says nothing about my race.

i have interrogated people and referenced the hood. so what?

it is UNDOUBTEDLY a reference to class. it is NOT a reference to race.

the same people who would say we should not associate (stereotype) poverty with blacks (here's a hint. blacks do not make up a majority of the poor in this country), now say that we should associate blacks with the hood.

that's absurd.

the hood is a place. it's also a cultural thang. eminem has an association with the hood. oj simpson does not. yet, eminem is white. and oj is black... how confusing?

get real

as for the reference to white trash, while it doesn't mean the officer would have been a racist if he used that term, white trash CLEARLY has a specific racial element. "the hood" does not.

i remember guarding a prisoner at the hospital who had just been shot by a partner of mine. he was a white guy FROM THE HOOD.

he looked at me and said that there would not be any marches for "justice" for him, or cries for the police to be fired for shooting him cause he was just "poor white trash" and he didn't have any jesse jacksons or sharptons coming to his aid.

now, that is a person from the hood who understands reality
9.3.2007 1:08am
whit:
"As to whether there's a race connotation to "hood," all I can say is that it's not even a close call. No later than John Singleton's "Boyz 'n the Hood," about 16 years ago, the word has been a catchword, buzzword, terms of art, and place of pride in the urban hiphop world."

and the urban hiphop world is not "the black world"

plenty of blacks detest hiphop and plenty of whites love it, consume it, and participate in its production

this whole argument is so absurd. last i checked, the NBA is disproportionately black. does that mean that if the cop had referenced larry craig having a jumpshot like an NBA player, that this was a 'racial reference'
9.3.2007 1:11am
Peter B. Nordberg (mail) (www):
On the meaning of 'hood, we need Eugene Volokh, so we can have a nice argument over whether to be prescriptivist or descriptivist.

To my casual white middle-class understanding, 'hood is a slang term whose contemporary currency largely originated in black vernacular for "neighborhood," but which now has multiple senses and uses that evolved or radiated from that one. Some might use it as a term to refer to black neighborhoods, others as a term for any neighborhood, and still others as a term for poor neighborhoods. Because I personally tend to hear the term most frequently in the context of black popular culture (movies, rap, etc.), the primary meaning, to my ears, is associated with that context, but others may hear and use the term in different contexts. We could argue about which usage is "correct," but maybe several are -- and even if someone won the correctness argument, it wouldn't follow that the officer's usage conformed to the argument-winner's.
9.3.2007 1:23am
whit:
also, assume for the sake of argument the cop DID use a blatantly racial word or phrase (fill in the blank).

the job of an interrogation is to get the truth (contrary to the belief of defense attorneys, it is NOT to get a confession)

anything that can help build rapport, shock, or any other psychological tool that can help strip away defensiveness and open an interrogation subject towards revealing truth is a good method. (within the law of course)

if i am interviewing, a child rape suspect (and i think it might be useful) is it bad for me to say that i think sex with 13 yr olds isn't a big deal and should be legal?

the answer is no.

if i am interviewing a drug dealer and i tell him my best friend used to deal in college and he was a really cool guy is that a bad thing?

no

if i am interviewing a white supremacist and i (assuming i was white myself) suggest or outright state sympathy with his beliefs, again is this bad police work?

of course not

if i am interviewing a vicious mysoginist rapist, might it benefit me to act like a mysoginist who empathizes with him?

yes.

i once got a confession (with no evidence whatsoever... it was an interrogation on a hunch, and non-custodial) on a multiple arsonist, burglar by appealing to class differences. specifically the guy had torched the houses of rich neighbors out of (among other things) a sense of class envy. did i use some pejoratives in reference to rich people? hell, ya. did he confess? yes.

the cop actually used some pretty astute psychology. he's got a guy who is obviously NOT happy with his situation, who feels shamed, scared, etc. by using the "hood" reference he makes an appeal to dignity (and what politician doesn't have a sense of dignity, however false) that he is BETTER than the rifraff? it's an appeal to craigs sense that he is "better" than the situation he is in by likening him to a person that craig might presumably think is BENEATH him.

in some situations, it pays to make the subject think you are much stupider than you are (the columbo technique), in others, that you are much smarter than him. you can appeal to catholic guilt, white pride, black pride, class envy, lust, envy, greed, or whatever you think might be useful. that's good police work.

cops should use interrogation techniques that are EFFECTIVE. not those that can survive 16 levels of semiotics analysis by those who have never interrogated a suspect, investigated a crime, etc.

again, hood is NOT a racial reference. it's a CLASS reference. but i am saying ASSUMING he did use a racial reference it says NOTHING about whether the cop is racist himself.
9.3.2007 1:25am
BCLS:

Exactly the point I was trying to convey.


Then, Waldensian, I'm glad that I was able to convey your point both more articulately than you and without resorting to the tired fallback of making superfluous personal insults.

Returning to the subject at hand, some other posters say that because white suburban kids and Vanilla Ice have appropriated the word "hood", it has become race-neutral. (Eminem is, I think we would all agree, not in the same category as a mere white poser like Vanilla Ice or the wiggers of Middle America).

I think that an argument based on the linguistic usages of white posers seems a little weak to me. For example, just because these suburban white teens sometimes call their friends "my niggaz" doesn't mean that the term "niggaz" has lost its racial connotation. It just means that these white kids are trying to emulate black culture by appropriating black slang for themselves. Their act of borrowing does not automatically change the underlying meaning of the word. Shouldn't the same reasoning apply to the word "hood"?
9.3.2007 1:35am
Brian K (mail):
has anyone been keeping a tally of the number of people who do not understand the meaning of the work "predominately"? how about the number of people that mischaracterize another's argument?
9.3.2007 1:38am
Brian K (mail):
BCLS,

exactly right.
9.3.2007 1:44am
whit:
BCLS' argument is flawed for a # of reasons

there are both whites and blacks who are POSERS.

a black guy who grows up in a rich neighborhood and creates a fake gangsta hood persona is a poser. a white guy who grows up in the hood (a la eminem) is not a poser

his idea is that whites using "hood" are posers, and blacks aren't. which is, arguably, racist in itself but i aint going to play that game. it is, however, factually wrong

this reminds me of a lot of the arguments among music snobs that white guys playing the blues are automatically "posers". this is just as stupid as saying black dudes playing hardcore punk are posers (tell that to DC from bad brains). just because an area (or a music style) started out as being associated with one race predominantly :) does not mean that anybody else using, or claiming that term is a poser.

like i said, i spent a good portion of my life living and working in THE HOOD and regardless of my race, it's a part of me.

my race is irrelevant to that fact.

a black guy who rides bulls for a living and then goes to a country western bar at night with a big ole belt buckle, some wranglers, etc. is not a POSER , despite the fact that many may consider rodeo culture a "white thang".

same concept
9.3.2007 1:51am
Brian K (mail):
whit,

you fail to grasp the fundamental difference between a poser and someone who actually does something.

the black guy in your cowboy example is not a poser. any person regardless of race who wears cowboy clothes and talks constantly about how much fun it is to ride bulls without actually ever being in the same state as a real live bull is a poser.

eminem is not a poser because he has an actual rapper (one of the few successful white rappers, but that's besides the point). Michael Bolton from Office Space is a poser.

the concept is really very simple...it shouldn't be difficult to grasp.
9.3.2007 2:11am
Waldensian (mail):

Then, Waldensian, I'm glad that I was able to convey your point both more articulately than you and without resorting to the tired fallback of making superfluous personal insults.

Superfluous insults like "You're not as articulate as I am," for example? Hysterical.

Facts are facts. Where I live, saying that you have arrested a "guy from the hood" is a race neutral statement. That's just the way it is here. And we do in fact have "the hood," and I pretty much live in it (arguably I'm on the yuppifying edge).

Incidentally, if I were arrested I suspect a cop might well say that he had arrested a guy from the hood. Knowing that, can you guess my race?

Your mileage may vary. Perhaps in Minneapolis there is a racist edge to this expression that we don't have here. I just don't know. But without more evidence along those lines, I think the OP is going too far.

Now back to your eyebrow raising.
9.3.2007 4:06am
myiq2xu:
I noticed the "hood" reference when I first read the transcript and it seemed implicitly racist, but not nearly as bad as the "N" word or some other racial slur.

But the cop seemed very professional in the rest of his conduct so I would hesitate to make a big deal about it.
9.3.2007 4:27am
d b (mail):
Brian K (9.2.2007 5:51pm) asks:
which ethnicity tends to predominate in these poor inner city neighborhoods where crime is a greater everyday problem?

In St. Paul, the most likely answer is Hmong or Mexican, especially if you're talking about gangbangers. I grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, and lived until recently for several years in St. Paul. The term "hood" means, to me, any lower class neighborhood, and carries no racial connotation whatever (though I am of course aware of its origin in rap music).



BCLS (9.2.2007 5:07pm) observed:
I wonder if the demographics of where we live may be playing a role here. A poster from St. Paul (11.7% black, which is less than the national average of 12.8%) and a poster from northeast of Minneapolis (the city itself is 18% black, but the northeastern suburbs are presumably whiter due to white flight), and a poster from an unidentified "town" all agree that "hood" is not a racially tinged term.

I agree, local demographics play a role, but I'd say there's a stronger generational effect on the interpretation of "hood". And I detect nothing at all racist in the policeman's usage of the word during his interrogation of Craig. I would translate his meaning as, "I'd expect this kind of denial from some thug we dragged in off the street; but it's totally unbecoming from someone of your social station."

An aside: The "NE" (northeast) mentioned by an earlier commenter [Cory Olson (9.2.2007 4:48pm)] refers not to a northeastern suburb, but rather to the Northeast ("Nordeast") working class neighborhood of Minneapolis. That neighborhood spans the entire northeast corner of the city, everything east of the Mississippi and north of Hennepin Ave. (The NE city limits is at the intersection of 37th &Stinson, if you're looking at Google maps.) In the early 1900s this section of town was settled by immigrants from Italy and eastern Europe — old Nordeast, down by the river and east of Central Ave, probably has more Eastern Orthodox churches per square foot than elsewhere in the US, excepting maybe the mill towns near Pittsburgh; and if the church ain't Orthodox, it's Italian or Polish Catholic. In the past 10-20 years, the neighborhood's ethnicity has shifted due to an influx of blacks from North Minneapolis (on the west bank opposite Northeast), plus new immigrants from Mexico, Somalia, and various Arab countries. They're all residents of my old 'hood.
9.3.2007 5:50am
skyywise (mail):
Reading that part of the transcript, it sounded so odd to me that the white cop from Idaho referenced "the hood" that I wondered if it had some context specific to Idaho. As in "[a Klu Klux Klansmen] that we get out of [his] hood." I've no idea if that is at all close to accuracy, but it was the first jump my mind made when trying to figure out a non-racial bias reason for the use of that term.
9.3.2007 9:55am
Chica (mail):
Is this Dale Carpenter person obsessed with victimhood, or what?

In poor neighborhoods referred to as "the hood," there's more law-breaking in ways that generate arrests (as opposed to snorting cocaine inside suburban mansions). People who pretend this isn't the case probably have not set foot in "the hood" for a long time.
9.3.2007 11:48am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Well, I guess you're racist, because you just offended me by implying I'm racist.

Well, I didn't intend for that remark to be racist. Your being offended by it shows the pervasiveness of racism in our society.
9.3.2007 1:17pm
Fred Flintlock (mail):
Frankly, I assumed the cop was less intelligent than all you posters here, with your sophisticated theories. He is, after all, a man who earns his living as anonymous gay bathroom sex bait. I interpreted the cop's comment to refer to his own experience as an officer in general, including the collective experience of other officers on the force. In other words, the cop said "In my personal experience as a police officer, including what I have heard from other police officers, I expect criminal suspects from poor, predominantly black areas to lie. I did not expect an upstanding white Senator to act like one of them." I do not think the officer even realizes there is an ambiguity as to whether the hypothetical criminal suspect he is referring to is black. The cop is simply assuming his meaning is clear, probably because of his facial expression, because of his power in the situation, and because if he were referring to the rare white guy from the ghetto, his comment wouldn't make any goddamned sense.
9.3.2007 1:30pm
Carolina:
Context, context, context. The cop was not giving a public speech about "scumbags in the 'hood" - it was an interrogation.

There is nothing to agitate about when a white cop uses an arguably racially-tinged term as a psychological ploy to get a white defendant to confess.
9.3.2007 1:36pm
Fred Flintlock (mail):
Carolina,

But it is a psychological ploy. Not an accidental reference.
9.3.2007 1:38pm
Elliot123 (mail):
DC,

Suppose the cop was referring to a poor, black neighborhood. So what? What is the significance of that? Can you tell us why you are concerned?

I agree presumptions and attitudes about race factor silently into all kinds of decisions small and large. Many of those presumptions and attituds are unfortunately correct. The murder rate among blacks is about seven times that of whites. Many state prison systems have a 50% black population. We are told over and over by black leaders that there are more blacks in prison than in college.

Bill Cosby is hardly a racist, but he has been publicly saying this for several years. What does that say about his presumptions and attitudes?
9.3.2007 1:41pm
Carolina:
Fred Flintlock,

I agree with you. I just think this whole "controversy" is much ado about nothing. In some circumstances, I would agree that a use of the word "hood" might indicate unpleasant racist views on the part of the speaker. But this was an interrogation.

Interrogators say all sorts of things they do not really believe during an interrogation as psychological ploys to get people to confess.
9.3.2007 1:57pm
Toby:
How many poor black hoods are there in Idaho?

From a recent Google on Idaho...

Ninety-one percent of the state's population classified themselves as White. Interestingly,the next largest category, which accounted for 6.2% of the population, was Other. African Americans made up 0.4% of the state's citizens, American Indians were 1.4%, and Asian and Pacific Islanders accounted for 1.0%. Nearly 8.0% of the population considered themselves Hispanic

This seems to suggest that Fred Flintlock's assumptions (Only because he's the last guy in the thread) about the number of poor black neighborhoods the cop has experience in to say more about the poster than anyone in Idaho...

Somewhere, Danial Patrick Moynihan is mumbling "We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts..."
9.3.2007 2:09pm
Toby:
Sorry - I was skipping over that the arrest was in Minnesota, even if the Senator was from Idaho...mea culpa
9.3.2007 2:10pm
CJColucci:
I thought everyone knew about those vicious Norwegian gangs in East Minneapolis.
9.3.2007 2:14pm
Atlanta:
Uhh, Waldensian, some source material for you. "...you gotta ask yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya punk?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Popewell.JPG
9.3.2007 2:19pm
DCP:
I associate the word "hood" with poor, black neighborhoods, but the term may have a broader meaning in a place like Minn.

On another note, why would the cop say he expected this type of thing from somebody from the "hood"? If Craig had mugged someone or engaged in some other crime more closely linked to socioeconomic status, I would understand. But it seems to me that homo/bisexuals cruising for these anonymous thrill encounters would cover a pretty broad spectrum. This was, afterall, a major airport, not a gas station bathroom in the slums. And I'm sure many of the particiapnts of this sort of behavior are exactly like Craig - successful, respected members of the community who have to keep certain sexual proclivities clandestine (see, George Michael).
9.3.2007 2:39pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
If I'm not mistaken, some commenters are addressing the question "Is the police officer racist?" As I and some others tried to point out, this is a different question from "Was his remark racist?" A non-racist police officer might have used a racist remark deliberately, as an interrogation ploy, or inadvertently, because he did not perceive it as being racist.
9.3.2007 3:21pm
Guest12345:
DCP: I think the remark is associated with Craig's denials, not with his looking for a handjob/blowjob in the bathroom.
9.3.2007 4:22pm
FoolsMate:
<i>If it's a racist moment, it's the kind of casual and coded racism that doesn't even register with most people; it's part of the background of our lives, so pervasive and common it's invisible.</i>

I would say that the racism insinuated here by Prof Carpenter on the part of Sgt. Karsnia is of such subtlety that it does not actually exist, except in in the author's imagination. Carpenter rightly questions whether it was a racist moment at all. My chess coach often chided me for "chasing ghosts", making unnecessary prophylactic moves in response to opponents' threats that were imagined.

Prof Carpenter: Forgive my bluntness, but I believe you are making a similar error here, using thin evidence and tortured logic to discover racism where none exists.
9.3.2007 4:34pm
Fred Flintlock (mail):
A non-racist police officer might have used a racist remark deliberately, as an interrogation ploy

I agree with Carolina that this is likely what happened; but, then again, Professor Carpenter's point seems to be that someone who makes a racist remark in an interrogation is not a saint. Add in that he arrested Senator Craig for no good reason and this cop looks like a total shitbag.
9.3.2007 5:38pm
Waldensian (mail):

(link)Atlanta:
Uhh, Waldensian, some source material for you. "...you gotta ask yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya punk?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Popewell.JPG

Touche!! I sit corrected!!

Interestingly, before I saw that photo, if you had asked me the race of the guy staring down the barrel of Clint's .44 Mag in that famous scene, I would have guessed a white guy.
9.3.2007 6:15pm
Waldensian (mail):

and because if he were referring to the rare white guy from the ghetto, his comment wouldn't make any goddamned sense

I just think that's flat wrong. It would still make perfect sense. If he said that to me, I'd be thinking of the typical guy -- very frequently white -- who gets busted in the crappy neighborhood on "Cops" and then lies his ass off. This happens in every single episode of Cops, usually about seven times.
9.3.2007 6:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
a "hood" is an urban area containing a disproportionately high percentage of the disfunctional underclass.
White usually don't have "hoods" because the white underclass is--usually--more spread out, although certain suburbs near larger cities have their reputations. I am told by a retired banker in the upper part of Michigan's lower peninsula that there are small towns which require a good deal of police attention and small towns which don't, and they aren't all that different at first glance.

Had the cop been making a racist remark, he'd have referred to a race. Instead, he's making a distinction based on behavior. Were he racist, he'd have made a remark including the prosperous middle class and upper class blacks and latinos.
9.3.2007 11:59pm
Fred Flintlock (mail):
I just think that's flat wrong.

Yeah, and he wasn't talking to you. He was talking to a white Senator. And you clipped off part of the comment you were responding to. You didn't see the cop's face when he spoke. That's important. (Neither did I, but the point is there may have been nonverbal communication.) Moreover, the reason the rare white guy reference makes no sense is because he's rare. This cop is not a statistcian or a sociologist; he's just making a crude comment. The idea that he's referring to COPS is some theory an undergrad would bandy about in SOC: TV is responsible for shaping cultural attitudes. There is no reason to believe this guy was conducting a seminar on the cultural significance of COPS. If he had meant to refer to the rare white guy in a predominantly black ghetto, he would have used language that clearly indicated that. He did no such thing, and you're just trying to cover up for this shitbag, for who knows what reason. I would sincerely hope you don't identify with a dude who makes a living luring lonely gay people into bogus arrests.
9.4.2007 12:17am
Fred Flintlock (mail):
Had the cop been making a racist remark, he'd have referred to a race.

I would imagine there are millions of black people who could refute this claim.
9.4.2007 12:21am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Fred, there are other threads discussing the validity of, and public policy reasons behind, Sen. Craig's arrest. This thread is limited to discussion of the "hood" remark.
9.4.2007 12:38am
Sean E.:
I think we can reasonably draw the following conclusions:

1. We cannot definitively say the policeman was using the term "hood" in a racist way. It seems that whether it is racist or not depends in what part of the country one lives in.

2. Whether it was racist or not, it was valid in the context of an interrogation. It says nothing about the views of the policeman about various races.

3. Whether one can conclude someone is racist or not, by the comments they make, depends on the motivations of the commenter. If someone with little knowledge of American culture used a racist term, with no knowledge that the term was racist, that person is not a racist, though the minority hearing the comment could certainly still take offense. I tend to give folks, in the absence of other corroborating actions or statements, the benefit of the doubt.

3. Seems like as a society there are probably much more obvious examples of racism that we could be addressing.

By the way, my wife is a teacher here in Houston. She has taught in schools with high minority populations, high poverty rates, and in schools with low minority populations/lower population rates.

I have heard her, and many of her fellow teachers, both minority and white teachers, use the term "hood" to refer to the the area that their school is in, and that the student body they teach lives in. The high minority schools where she taught were mainly Hispanic, not black.
9.4.2007 1:13am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
There are people who are so anxious to catch others being racist that one thinks they make their living on commissions.
For Fred Flintlock; This isn't worth turning in. It's a gotcha that won't buy you a cup of coffee.
9.4.2007 7:24am
AntonK (mail):
[deleted]
9.4.2007 9:34am
A.C.:
Any interest in debating the undeniable fact that many people in poor, predominantly minority neighborhoods have a social norm of not cooperating with the police? This includes some law-abiding people who defend their neighbors out of solidarity, as well as some others who avoid cooperation because they fear what their neighbors might do to them. There have been articles about this phenomenon in the Washington Post within the past couple of weeks, and I've heard complaints about it from cops and prosecutors (of various races) who work in cities with neighborhoods of this type. It's not exactly a secret.

This is a social structure thing that may not reflect what the same individuals would do in a different context. So it makes perfect sense that the reference is about a social unit (the hood) rather than about the individuals who live there.

In contrast, upper class people are assumed to have faith in public institutions (which serve their interests, after all) and to cooperate with authorities. I take the officer's remark as an invitation for the senator to defend his upper class credentials by being cooperative. The "hood" reference is vague and lets people read in whatever they want as to who those non-upper class (and therefore uncooperative) people might be, but it doesn't need to be any more specific in this context.
9.4.2007 9:40am
WWJRD (mail):
That's the problem with affirmative action.

The VC professors don't encounter lower-class white young persons. They see the advantaged whites, the advantaged and economically disadvantaged blacks (through merit and a.a.), but the working and lower-class white culture is something the academics are clueless about. Not on tv or in the movies like the black and immigrant underclass, and not intruding into their daily lives.

They don't see it, so it's not there.
Sad really.
9.4.2007 10:19am
PubliusFL:
A.C. makes a good point. It is not necessarily racist to acknowledge that there is often tension between the police and residents of "the hood," even if "the hood" has a racial connotation for you, and even considering residents who do NOT have a criminal history. There's often a lot of distrust there. Consider the recent controversy over the "Stop Snitchin'" campaign.
9.5.2007 5:24pm