The Neutral Man’s Burden

I couldn’t help myself. Somewhat related to the post on Dharma Folk.

[Archivist’s Note: the original post contained an embedded video of a “The Word” segment from The Colbert Report. The video was embedded via Flash which is no longer supported by the Internet.]

My favorite lines:

In America, white is neutral.

Now for years, band-aids only came in only one color…white person. It’s standard “person” color. In fact it is so standard, that when I was a kid, in crayola boxes, it was the color called “flesh.” Now most Americans accept this [points at his own hand] as “neutral” without thinking about it.

And that is why the decisions made by all those white justices were not affected by their experiences; because their life experiences were “neutral.” That led to “neutral” decisions.

For instance, take the Dredd Scott Case. Those justice’s life experience, being white men in pre-Civil War America, some of whom owned slaves, in no way influenced their decision that black people were property. And the personal backgrounds had nothing to do with the all neutral court’s decision that it was legal to send Japanese-Americans to internment camps in 1942. Imagine how the life experience of an Asian judge would have sullied that neutrality!

Not to mention, in our “post-racial” society, a Harvard professor can be arrested for getting upset when police ask him to prove that he entered his own house. What a day.