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« Very funny | Main | Contrived Mystery? »

July 16, 2008

Tough Love

I wish more leaders in the black community cared this much. Watch the video and tell us what you think about what this judge is doing.

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I am somewhat offended by what the judge is doing. No, I am not offended in taking young men to task for their failings as an adult and the choices they make.

I am offended that he thinks that this problem is limited to a certain ethnic group.

Does he not see white defendants? Or Hispanic defendants? Or any other ethnic defendants?

What the judge is seeing is not a failure of the black community: it is a failure of all communities. It is a failure of humans. While it may be more prevelant in some areas than others, that does not mean that it is not a problem in all areas.

The judge should not limit his message, his speech, his outrage, or his mentoring to people based on the basis of their skin color.

It is a message that anyone sitting in his courtroom in a blue jumpsuit and irons should hear.....

... and hopefully take to heart.


As someone who has worked with Judge Arrington, I can confidently say that one shouldn't jump to conclusions regarding his motivations for promoting the tough-love message. Arrington has been a figure in Atlanta public life for more than 30 years and is nothing less than an esteemed elder in the black community. To my mind, it makes perfect sense that he have an abiding interest in the betterment of his community.

Let's not forget that racism, whether imagined or not, sells. And it doesn't surprise me that the media have made this very important discussion more about style than substance. Some would apparently prefer Arrington disregard his own history growing up in urban poverty and limit himself to making racially-neutral proclamations for the sake of academic tidiness. No thanks. Not only would that message be condescending, it would also be ineffective. The defendants in Judge Arrington's courtroom are almost exclusively black. All hurt feelings aside, a tailored message is just what they need.

Diane Singer

Pgrimm, Thanks for the personal insight.

When I first saw the video, I was reminded about a story I read years ago about a juvenile court judge who noticed that he rarely, if ever, saw any Jewish youths in his court. When he began to ask leaders in the Jewish community about that, their answer was BECAUSE it was a "community." Any Jewish adult had the right and obligation to correct any Jewish kid if he or she was doing something wrong, not just their own children. So Jewish kids knew that they were not going to be able to do something and get away with it: someone was ALWAYS watching!

I think that the judge, and Bill Cosby, are arguing for adults in the black community to develop this same sense of responsibility. And, in that light, gitarcarver is right: the need is not just for the black community, but for us all.

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