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But what is it you are preventing? The prevention of violence is the excuse that is always used to take away free speech and other rights. The better course is for the police to protect all speech from all violence. I just witnessed a huge pro-Hamas demonstration on 7th Avenue in New York, and a lone man skipped down the street past the demonstrators waiving an Israeli flag. This infuriated the demonstrators (who were waiving truly horrible and insulting flags and signs), but a huge cordon of police protected that man and the few other counter-demonstrators. The crowd screamed Alahu Akbar, the counterdemonstrators waived the Star of David, and nobody got hurt. The trick is to have enough police, and make rules that allow both demonstrators and counterdemonstrators to speak and protest without violence. Anything less is catering to the sign most prone to violence, which these days seems to be the Islamists.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2009 on German police takes down Israeli flag at Myrtus
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I think it's a character flaw when people make excuses for their lack of cross-cultural game. It's a sign of bigotry when they resent the fact that they have to demonstrate them. I absolutely agree (assuming that I understand the precise definition of "game"). That said, the essence of getting along with people is to treat them as just people, with courtesy and respect every time. I grew up in Iowa, and that's just the way we roll. Of course, there are a lot of situations when we do not really have the opportunity to talk to somebody, we only react when we feel intruded upon. I think that this often happens in situations such as the one you describe. Many middle American whites are raised to believe that playing music so loudly that people outside their car can hear it, whether the music is hip-hop or Rogers and Hammerstein, is just impolite. Same with talking at the movies -- the first time I saw a movie with a majority black audience I was literally shocked at the, er, audience participation. Again, most whites are raised to believe that talking in a movie is very anti-social, the moral equivalent of littering or some other thing one's mother would disapprove of. Obviously, many blacks do not have the same point of view (or at least did not 20 years ago, which, I am embarrassed to say, was the last time I saw a movie with a majority black audience). The problem is, these different cultural opinions, if you will, drive people apart even before they get to know each other. Where does a white kid from Iowa learn that some people believe movies are an interactive experience? Only from that first encounter, which is as likely to build a wall as a bridge between the races.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2007 on Game or No Game? at Cobb
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