Monday, March 24, 2008

An Interesting Satire -- Federal Judge: Enough With the Stupid Names

So I found the following satire article through Snopes.

Federal Judge: Enough With the Stupid Names

It is obviously a satire, and is labeled as such on the bottom. The premise is ludicrous, and more than a bit racist (though penned by a black satirist):
In a decision that’s expected to send shockwaves through the African-American community—and yet, give much relief to teachers everywhere—a federal judge ruled today that black women no longer have independent naming rights for their children. Too many black children—and many adults—bear names that border on not even being words, he said.
He ruled that black women have to go to a panel of three white people to get their approval prior to naming the child.

Such a thing is quite over-the-top. Yet apparently a bunch of people (though certainly not all) in the African-American community, in the comment section, did not realize it is satire, and are really riled up by it, calling for the judge to be fired, calling for lawsuits, saying this is an attempt to restore slavery, and so on. Follow the link and check it out.

It is an important thing to realize, in terms of race relations, that many in the black community could fall for this so readily. It goes to the same point as how many agree with Pastor Wright's assertions about AIDS and HIV. In a 2005 study about beliefs about AIDS in the black community:
Nearly half of the 500 African Americans surveyed said that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is man-made.

More than one-quarter said they believed that AIDS was produced in a government laboratory, and 12 percent believed it was created and spread by the CIA.

A slight majority said they believe that a cure for AIDS is being withheld from the poor. Forty-four percent said people who take the new medicines for HIV are government guinea pigs, and 15 percent said AIDS is a form of genocide against black people.

At the same time, 75 percent said they believe medical and public health agencies are working to stop the spread of AIDS in black communities. But the responses, which varied only slightly by age, gender, education and income level, alarmed the researchers.

This is important for the following reason:
That belief markedly hurts efforts to prevent the spread of the disease among black Americans, the study's authors and activists said.
There may very well be personal and family experiences which influence these perceptions, which make them more likely to hold them. But it is also problematic, because people do not react to the world, but rather they react to their perceptions of the world. Palestinian kids and adults are taught that Israel uses nerve gas on them, and believe "accusations that Israel disseminated bubble gum that sterilized Palestinian girls and sent AIDS-infected prostitutes to infect Palestinian men." Given such a background of falsehood, how is peace to take hold?

As an aside, a month or so I saw a judge show in which one of the litigants was unfortunately named Latrina. Presumably La + Trina. But still, ill-advised, and I wonder if her parents were aware of the word latrine.

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