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tomhudson's Journal: Google has nailed Russ Nelson #1 and #4 53

Journal by tomhudson
Russ Nelson might want to try and rewrite history by removing his offensive blog post, but Google has him clearly in their cache: http://www.google.com/search?q=russ+nelson currently returns his "blacks-are-lazy.html" as the 5th result - and if you look at the cache, you see the page I quote below.

Also, if you do a search on "blacks are lazy" without the quotes, it returns his brainfart as the #1 result.

--- the cached copy --

The economist is here, and boy is he pissed.

Mon, 07 Feb 2005

Blacks are lazy

Black people are lazy in that they work less hard than whites. Not only that, but they are rational to be lazy! After black slaves were freed, they worked less. The value of their leisure time (highly valued after a lifetime of slavery) exceeded the pay from their work. Also, ongoing American racism has caused blacks to be paid less than whites. If everything else is the same, a black person is less likely to want to work as hard as a white person. I think that is what led people into the mistaken idea that blacks are lazy--as a characteristic of being black. They're not; it's an economically-ignorant idea to say that they are. They're just rationally valuing their leisure time at the same rate as whites, getting paid less for the same work, and deciding to work less because of it.

Actually, come to think about it, we had about 150 years of black slavery, and it hasn't even been 150 years since the Civil War. It wouldn't surprise me to find that blacks are still taught to value their leisure time more highly than whites. When their forebears were slaves, their leisure time was very precious to them. Cultures change slowly.

Disclaimer: Everyone is an individual, and you cannot pre-judge the characteristic of an individual from the characteristics of a culture or race. From that mistake comes prejudice. My brother-in-law is a highly paid lawyer and he works sixty hours a week if he works a day. But that just makes my point: stop (actually) being racist and blacks will stop being (perceived as) lazy.

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Google has nailed Russ Nelson #1 and #4

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  • Where is his copyright notice on the blog? Has he released his items under a copyleft or some creative commons license?
    • I think this is one instance where we're not likely to see someone come after either google or me for copying the text, as it would draw even more attention to something he obviously wishes we'd all just ignore.

      I've picked up 2 troll mods and 1 insightful from posting this [slashdot.org] in the thread about google being ordered to stop doing the french ad thingee.

      Moderators on crack, I guess.

      Still, I think that, seeing as it's such a short article, attempting to quote just parts of it could be argued by Nelson as atte

      • Wouldn't it be ironic if the newly-minted president of the Open Source Initiative's first real "act" is to complain about people "stealing his words"?

        This is what I was getting at. Why doesn't someone in this position have not only a clearly indicated copyright, but one that allows for liberal fair use. I wasn't wondering about this 'micro' copyright issue of either you or google. Rather the broader picture of what it says about Russ WRT his position at OSI.
        • Good point. I'm slow today (still got a cold, got home to find the dogs opened a 10-pound bag of potatoes and ate a bunch of them yesterday, and I'm still "dealing with the consequences" tonight, if you catch my drift, etc).
  • I find his conclusion to be non-racist and correct- but his presentation to be racist in the extreme. I think he'd be better off replacing "black people" with "working poor"- and his point would come across far better. It's an intriguing idea that the value of being lazy is inversely porportional to what one is being paid hourly- but of course it falls down completely at a certain point when you have wage and debt slaves working from, in the terms of pre-civil-war slaves, can to can't (can see in the morn
    • I think he'd be better off replacing "black people" with "working poor"- and his point would come across far better.

      I don't think that'd work either, to be honest. Are the working poor lazy? Are blacks lazy? Both claims are nasty, ignorant, things to say that have little or no evidence behind them. To say this, and then try to explain why it's the case (as opposed to show that it's actually the case) is some nasty stuff.

      A purely hypothetical comment along the lines of "A group discriminated against mig

      • Are the working poor lazy? Are blacks lazy?

        His point, in the end of the article if you can stomach reading all the way through it, is that they are NOT lazy- despite the rumors in the upper class that say they are. YOU are not the target audience of this article- another reason why it is badly written. The target audience is C-level executives and board members- who have been saying for the past four years that Americans in general, and blacks/Hispanics in specific, are lazy and that's why they need to
        • His current post disagrees with that, though. He says:

          I used to have a posting here which made the point that ceretis paritus blacks will work less hard than whites because of the lower salaries caused by racism. It was not well written and I have withdrawn it. I apologize to anybody who thought that the posting itself was racist.

          Let's look at it carefully:

          I used to have a posting here which made the point that ceretis paritus

          ... all things being equal ...

          ... blacks will work less hard than whites ...

          • This is a claim that is made that there is a cause and effect relationship between monies paid and effort expended. The real world doesn't work like that.

            I completely disagree with that statement. I happen to be a person for whom the real world very much works like that- there is a direct relationship between my ability to work on something I'm not interested in and how much I'm being paid to do it.

            Certainly, there is no linear effect - someone making 100,000,000 a year is not working 10,000 times hard
          • The original article was a lot worse. I've challenged him to present some facts, some studies, some PROOF for what he says. Prove that blacks don't work as hard as whites. Don't just say it and expect people to take it as fact.

            I think you've entirely missed the point. That myth DOES exist in certain WASP old boy networks in America. It doesn't matter that it isn't true- in fact, the article argues that it is just a myth, that if you gave equal pay for equal work, there is NO difference between blacks an
          • I stumbled across this page from a link elsewhere on Slashdot. Now that I'm familiar with the controversy, I wonder if your labeling him a "bigoted racist" is really helping things.

            Don't get me wrong, I think the guy's an ass. But it seems to me his biggest mistake was to frame his argument in such inflammatory and easily misinterpreted words (what does he think "lazy" means, anyway?). This demonstrates terrible judgment, especially coming from a public figure like him. But is it racist?

            Is it racist to po
            • He wasn't talking about other people's discrimination against blacks - he was saying, and these are his exact words: "blacks are lazy" - "all things being equal, blacks will want to work less hard".

              You might want to read my arguments in squiggleslash's journal [slashdot.org]. I'll quote a bit here:

              This deserves a public response.

              There are a few problems with the "analysis".

              If someone is paid less, they have to work more hours to cover the basic necessities of life, so that means they're working more, not less.

              And

              • I did skim those, but thanks for pointing them out again. These comments of yours seem to be directed at Russ's analysis, but frankly, the economic theory and the facts are out there to support him. Failing to cite them in his blog doesn't make him racist, and it doesn't (necessarily) make his claims "ridiculous."

                I agree that the bit about "It wouldn't surprise me to find that blacks are still taught to value their leisure time more highly than whites" is really bizarre (taught by whom?). At the very least
                • the economic theory and the facts are out there to support him

                  The "economic theory" is the bastard son of the old "social darwinism" school of thought. It sounds fine, but it doesn't hold up in the real world.

                  Fact is, people who are at the very bottom of the wage scale *have* to work harder just to survive - anyone working two jobs at the minimum wage in a lot of places (say, Ohio - minimum wage as low as $2.80/hr, or Florida - no state minimum wage except on federal projects and federally-regulated busi

        • I've read it to the end, and I cannot see how you're coming up with the idea he's trying to argue that they're not lazy. He says repeatedly that BAL. He doesn't say they're not, he says they're economically justified in being L. His point is that they're lazy not because of genetic factors but because of discrimination (and past history.) That's the exact opposite of saying they're "not lazy." He says explicitly that they're lazy, and they're "right" to be "lazy".

          It's all rather stupid even taken at face

          • I've read it to the end, and I cannot see how you're coming up with the idea he's trying to argue that they're not lazy. He says repeatedly that BAL. He doesn't say they're not, he says they're economically justified in being L. His point is that they're lazy not because of genetic factors but because of discrimination (and past history.) That's the exact opposite of saying they're "not lazy." He says explicitly that they're lazy, and they're "right" to be "lazy".

            His audience- who believes in social darwi
            • While I understand the argument, I think this theory is real stretch to be honest.

              I also question whether Russ Nelson would agree. I think if the intent was to start with a difficult-to-stomach racist accusation commonly made and "agree" with it while turning it around against racists, I think Nelson would have said that from the start. That said, as he proved in the infamous "kook aid" flame war, Russ Nelson has a serious problem explaining anything to anyone offended by his behaviour. It doesn't ring tr

              • Remember how you posted on the mailing list that it was better to hear it from you rather than, say, Microsoft? Ignoring this, "now that it's been retracted", won't make it go away - it's a ticking time bomb, and indicative of other problems:

                Take a look at the dishonest way the post was withdrawn - it brings into question, yet again, his personal ethics.

                The original post was last Monday. His "withdrawal" announcement was backdated to January 1st, 2001.

                This gives anyone who looks at it the mistaken impre

                • What does any of this have to do with Open Source and Technology at all? After all, all human beings are racist in some way- it's hardwired. Are you saying that OSI should have appointed somebody with lesser engineering skills? Or are you saying that being a bigot would reduce engineering ability?
                  • Taking your remarks at face value (always a dangerous thing to do, BTW :-), I'd have to pick door number 2 - "The right tool for the right job".

                    Judging from their actions and mail, the OSI wanted someone who could speak on their behalf to the media, the public, etc., about open source licensing issues.

                    There is no need for engineering or coding skills for that sort of position - being able to communicate licensing issues with clarity, preciseness, and in a friendly matter, are what count.

                    Nelson made his

                    • Judging from their actions and mail, the OSI wanted someone who could speak on their behalf to the media, the public, etc., about open source licensing issues.

                      And what does racism have to do with open source licensing issues? At all?

                      There is no need for engineering or coding skills for that sort of position - being able to communicate licensing issues with clarity, preciseness, and in a friendly matter, are what count.

                      Sometimes an unfriendly and imprecise manner is also called for- and equally valuea
    • That's not how it looks to corporate America.

      The ones making the most bucks (the 7, 8, 9-figure CEOs, etc) have demonstrated time and again that money does not buy loyalty to the business's owners/shareholders.

      Enron, Worldcom, Northern Telecom ...

      Ever try to get a union into a place that pays poorly? Those making the least tend to toe the company line a lot more than those who are comfy.

      • The ones making the most bucks (the 7, 8, 9-figure CEOs, etc) have demonstrated time and again that money does not buy loyalty to the business's owners/shareholders.

        Loyalty to business shareholders is not equal to how hard somebody works- the disloyal CEO (take Carly as an example- $50 million in earnings during the short time she was CEO of HP) may in fact be working VERY hard- finding the loopholes that allow the business to pay that high salary.

        Ever try to get a union into a place that pays poorly? T
        • it was purely about the common upper-class american myth that if you are poor, you are lazy- and the racist version of that myth.

          Well said.

          We've had documents proving that this "if bad stuff is happening to you it's because you're a bad person" attitude hanging around since at least when the Book of Job was first written (circa 1500 BC).

          And here I thought social darwanism was thoroughly discredited among those who had a pretense to a brain.

          Again, well said. Thanks.

          • And here I thought social darwanism was thoroughly discredited among those who had a pretense to a brain.

            That's to me the main problem, the real main problem. Those who have a pretense to a brain, the educated, are by and large NOT of the following two classes:

            A. Immensely wealthy WASPS who pass down inheritance and decide what payroll should be in the 77% of companies that are not unionized.

            B. The 77% of American workers who refuse to be unionized.

            Social darwinism is still very much an active myth

  • by eno2001 (527078)
    Kind of a stupid thing to write without REALLY thinking it through. I've put my foot in my mouth many times before, but this takes the cake. Reminds me of the time I told a girlfriend "I would have eventually asked you out anyways. I'm not picky". I still bang my head on the table for that one.
  • Russ Nelson was absolutely right to remove his blog entry. It was offensive, it lacked tact, and in his new role as OSI President, he was associating the OSI with racism. He's not "rewriting history", he's admitted, publically and permanently, that he's withdrawn the article and that people were offended by it.

    I know you're angry about the comment, and my opinion of Nelson hasn't exactly improved over the last 24 hours. But I'm very glad this apparently racist piece has been removed. If Russ Nelson isn't

    • Sorry, but I have to disagree.

      Insulting various groups of people (black, poor, etc) and then saying "I'm sorry if what I said offends you", is not tact - it's tactless.

      Let's compare it to me throwing a pile of turds at someone, then saying "I'm sorry you were offended by my actions". What I should be saying is "I'm sorry I threw the turds".

      What he did was calculated to get attention, and it did. This was juvenile in extremis.

      OSI should handle this the same way Tylenol handled the poisonings in their

      • What he did was calculated to get attention, and it did. This was juvenile in extremis.

        I agree that's what he originally did. I also believe though that he's realized he can't do that kind of shit any more.

        One thing nobody's commented upon is that BaL isn't the only rant he removed from his site. He also made a posting a few days ago about the N word, saying that it was loaded (correct) and that it would be far less loaded and damaging if it was just mindlessly repeated over and over again. To wit, he

        • Unfortunately, one of the things OSI deals with is different kinds of licensing, and the issues around them (check out some of the other posts in the mailing list for examples).

          So they need to be fairly good at parsing out what something means, and being able to express concepts with clarity.

          What does this have to do with Russ,?

          If he gets involved in the text of licensing issues, people will be able to throw his irresponsible postings back at him, and say "why should we trust your judgment".

          if he refr

  • I'm frankly much more scared by your politically correctness than by even-not-so-racist posts on a blog. Ok, mr.Nelson wrote a questionable opinion (opinion I firmly disagree from,BTW) on his blog. Ok, mr.Nelson said plain bullshit. Now,what's the point? It *his* opinion and he has the right to say it, no matter how stupid or how disturbing to us it is. Now because mr.Nelson said something I don't agree with, I must do (useless) online petiton to remove him from OSI presidence? What's next? Shaving his hea
    • And what about his attempt to mislead people by backdating the "withdrawal" of his post to January 1st, 2001, more than 4 years ago?

      He wrote this a week ago, one week after he was appointed president of the OSI.

      So, do you still think, in light of his subsequent actions, he's still someone you would want representing the face of open source?

      • You don't answer to my points. But that's ok, I expected it. Anyway,I will answer to yours.

        And what about his attempt to mislead people by backdating the "withdrawal" of his post to January 1st, 2001, more than 4 years ago?

        That's exactly the kind of ridicolous things people feels forced to do because of your ridicolous indignation. In a world where people don't always feel superior moral attitudes, these kind of things won't happen. Oh,of course it's a shame, if I would have been him, I would have

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