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Monday, September 8, 2014

Bruce Levenson latest member of KKK

In case you haven't heard, Bruce Levenson, partial owner of the Atlanta Hawks, has outed himself as a "racist" and has volunteered to sell his stake in the NBA franchise for having sent an email in which he said the following:

Regarding game ops, I need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, I didn't much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. When digging into why our season ticket base is so small, I was told it is because we can't get 35-55 [-year-old] white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo[graphic] for season tickets around the league. When I pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then I start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:

-- it's 70 pct black
-- the cheerleaders are black
-- the music is hip hop
-- at the bars it's 90 pct black
-- there are few fathers and sons at the games
-- we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then I start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.

Before we bought the Hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the NBA's urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience.

My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. I never felt uncomfortable, but I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites I would read comments about how dangerous it is around Philips yet in our 9 years, I don't know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don't care what the color of the artist is, I want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season tixs demo. I have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.

Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly I think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.

And many of our black fans don't have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white Thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).

This strikes me as an exceedingly innocuous email. All of this is just stuff that takes place in every marketing department of every large corporation across the country. Advertisers have always targeted specific demographics, including every ethnic group and every age bracket. 

Nowhere in this email did Levenson express any personal antipathy to blacks, or use any ethnic slurs, or even mention verifiable-but-still-controversial facts like IQ differences or crime rates. It was all just Marketing 101. 

Levenson mentions the ticket giveaway in the black community, and even dismisses any talk of the area surrounding the arena being dangerous as "racist garbage."

This, of course, hasn't stopped outlets like the New York Times from writing hand-wringing editorials about Levenson being an example of "racism" in the NBA. 

Here's the real question: why would a hard-edged businessman like Levenson choose to "out" himself two years after sending this email? 

There's been some talk about how he may have been blackmailed, or he might have realized the email was about to be exposed anyway because of the private detectives Donald Sterling had hired to root out other examples of "racism" among NBA owners. 

That's certainly possible. But it seems far more likely that Levenson simply wanted, for business reasons, to sell his interest in the Hawks and used this as a convenient excuse. My guess, he's hoping some mogul like Steve Ballmer is willing to give him more than the franchise is currently valued at. 


Steven said...

First and foremost, the email seems extremely perceptive. His analysis is probably 100% correct.

He distances himself from racist views by saying he himself has never felt uncomfortable in the arena and that the reports of crime are racist garbage.

You are right, this is a marketing email. What Levenson did was purely for financial reasons, of course. I think he'd be fine with a 70% black crowd if they brought in the money and bought the season tickets.

I suppose the problem people see is that while he condemns the element of racism that makes white middle aged guys stay away (there are other factors too- the music, the chicks), he still wants to engineer a decrease in the size of the black crowd. This is to play to the white people who are staying away, for financial gain.

Is it for racist reasons though? You might say black crime rates are the legitimate reason for white fears of black men, and that some publicized black group behaviour (riots and looting) is responsible for a weariness of black crowds.

On the other hand, I think there probably is some racism involved too...the black behavior in and around the arena, if you believe Levenson, doesn't justify fears of crime or feeling threatened. There is probably an exaggerated sense of the black propensity to violent behaviour in situations like this. Plus there is probably some contempt for black people and racist prejudice invovled, of the crude kind.

I find it interesting to ask, if a white person could assume the form of a black person temporarily, would he feel less threatened in a crowd of ghetto blacks. My answer is that he would feel considerably less threatened, showing that some of this comes from a primitive fear of standing out or a sense that there is a greater risk of being picked on if you are white and stand out.

Steven said...

By the way, I'm looking at ethnic IQ and achievement scores from the UK at the moment.

It looks like the adult black/white IQ gap in the UK may be 10 points, rather than the always touted 1SD. And it looks like the gap is narrower and possibly narrowing for kids. For some reason there is no achievement gap in school exams at age 16 (GCSE) but there is an achievement gap of about 0.4SD at A(dvanced) level (age 18 exams).

One of the most capable of the quantitative minded HBD bloggers seems to think admixture and selective immigration doesn't account for it. So I'm looking at this with quite a lot of interest at the moment.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I'm not sure what you mean by "racist prejudice, of the crude kind." The NY Times and its ilk condemn any sort of pattern recognition as "racism," so we should probably define our terms. If you're talking about just disliking another race because they're a different race, then we should see that sort of racism directed against Asians, too, and generally, we don't.

Interesting question you raise in your last paragraph. I think you're right in your analysis.

John Craig said...

Steven --
That is interesting, and at odds with all the date that ones out of the US.

Steven said...

That's true and a big part of this IS pattern recognition. There might be a little more to it than that though.

For one thing, black people look a lot more different to us than Asians. Asian and white skulls look a lot more similar because the genetic distance is considerably less. (Perhaps they act more different to us too?) Because of that, there is more scope for imagining blacks to be less human or less evolved. There's also more scope for just feeling I don't like them, they're different.

For another thing, Asian people are physically smaller and a bit less testosterone fueled than white people, which makes them viscerally less threatening. Blacks are more testosterone fueled and have bolder faces, making them viscerally more threatening. That plays into and combines with whatever there are ideas about their propensity to crime or violence.

By crude racism, I guess I partly meant that. I also meant the crude and exaggerated ideas of blacks that goes beyond what they deserve from the facts.

Regarding the black British IQ, it is at odds with the wealth of US data and it will be interesting to see if the same pattern is seen in other European countries. A salient factor may be that Blacks are only about 3 or 4% of the British population, so maybe more amenable to intervention or more integrated. Its all pretty convoluted and uncertain at the moment anyway.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I agree with everything you just said. You have a very rare attitude towards the subject of race: you're open to facts, and don't mind talking about them, yet you're not motivated by animus (as I could tell by all your comments about Muhammad Ali in our "greatest heavyweight ever" discussion. Too bad more people aren't as balanced.

One small favor: I appreciate all your comments, but you have a tendency to leave a lot of blank space at the end of many of them (see above) which makes it harder to read all the comments at once, at least on my screen. May I ask you to erase all that blanks space before hitting the send button? Thank you.

Steven said...

Thanks. I appreciate that.

I started looking into this race and IQ business because I wanted to assure myself the IQ differences I'd heard about did not have a genetic basis. That was my motivation. Human variation has always been kind of interesting to me too.

I'm a bit of an idealist at heart. I want a better world and the overcoming of divisions and all that stuff. I am more inclined to see us as one humanity and I don't really care about preserving a race. But I'm also too scientifically curious and honest to deny whatever I find to be reality.

I guess the same can be said for you too about being honest and interested but not motivated by animus.

Hopefully this comment doesn't have a gap! No problem.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Can't say I'm as much of an idealist as you. I just like to see the truth come out, and I have to admit, I am motivated by animus, though against hypocrites and liars.

Anonymous said...

When I read the owner's e-mail, I wasn't put off by anything that he said. He was just making observations, stating facts (from a business perspective), analyzing how to make positive improvements where his business is concerned (which happens to be a basketball team). I don't regard the owner as a racist. He's a businessman who's doing his job - it doesn't make him a racist. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who don't have "a head for business," so they can easily misinterpret what's being stated in a leaked e-mail.


Steven said...

yeah, well I often get annoyed by the same sort of stuff too. I often feel I want the truth to come out for its own sake too.

The media is pretty shit. On social issues, they are hopelessly liberal and pc and give voice to fools.

On international issues, there is very little neutral investigative journalism. They just pedal the official line, prepare the public for the latest intervention. They refer to out of favour governments as 'regimes' and report that they are 'killing their own people' while the in favour opposition (usually worse than the government) are portrayed as a bunch of democracy loving peace activists.

John Craig said...

Birdie --
Exactly. Except that I think those people "who don't have a head for business" in fact do have a head for trouble-making an obfuscation and hypocrisy. I think they realize that what Levenson said makes sense from a business and demographic standpoint, but these people will seize upon anything that could possibly construed as 'racist," the definition of which is determined by them, and run with it.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I see the media as more sinister than that. They have a very specific agenda, and they follow that with great care. They're not fools so much as hypocrites and liars. Certain stories they give an incredible amount of publicity to, others they bury, depending on whether these stories fit the narrative they want to tell.

Steven said...

"I see the media as more sinister than that. They have a very specific agenda, and they follow that with great care. They're not fools so much as hypocrites and liars."

What we are saying isn't necessarily in contradiction. The ones who run the media have an agenda. The columnists they hire are certainly sometimes pc brainwashed fools who believe what they say.

"Certain stories they give an incredible amount of publicity to, others they bury, depending on whether these stories fit the narrative they want to tell."

e.g. media reports: MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in possession of a surface to air missile supplied by Putin. This is plastered all over the media.

Evidence starts to suggest that maybe MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian Ukrainian fighter jets. Media suddenly forgets this story ever existed.

Steven said...

I didn't mean to imply that on international issues, they are just being lazy. Their narrative probably matches the aims of the government too well for that.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Evidence is now suggesting that MH17 was shot down by the Ukrainians? Wow, I hadn't heard that.

But this phenomenon of the media forgetting a story as soon as the evidence starts to point the other way is a common one here in the US, it happens with every hate crime hoax.

And yes, you're right, there are reporters who are simply fools, who swallow the PC line, which is a different ting than the people who own the press and have an agenda.

Steven said...

"Evidence is now suggesting that MH17 was shot down by the Ukrainians?"

I saw some evidence to that effect a while ago that seemed convincing, although I'm no sure now.

At the very least, it was a mystery and they never mentioned the theory that the Ukrainians shot it down, just blamed Putin. Even if pro-Russian rebels did it, I doubt Putin either ordered it or wanted them to do it.

John Craig said...

Steven --
OK, thanks. I agree, I can't imagine Putin having ordered that. There was absolutely nothing to be gained by shooting down a Malaysian commercial flight full of Malaysians and Dutch, and there was a big price in terms of international reputation.

Glen Filthie said...

Vox Day floated the idea that this 'outing' was actually a marketing ploy to increase the sale price of the organization.

If the owner is painted as racist - it falls on the social justice warriors to buy the team at any cost - the honour of black people is at stake, dontchya know.

Whatever. I would not want to be in business with militant blacks either, to be honest - for exactly what's going on here.

Glen Filthie said...

Oh, and I dunno if I would trust the IQ studies - or any study, for that matter - coming out of the UK and Europe. They are notoriously politically correct and have willingly compromised science for politics since forever. The case where they let their young women be gang raped by pakis rather than report them springs to mind. I know for a fact that their violent crime rates are greatly skewed to reflect politically expediency too.

John Craig said...

Glen --
Vox Day's theory makes sense; The Clippers were valued at $1 billion before the brouhaha, and Ballmer paid twice that for the team.

If Levenson makes a lot of money he'll have to go down as one of the shrewdest businessmen around.

Steven said...

This reminded me of the sinister agenda you talked about.

I don't always like this guy but he's very good in this one.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Yes, that was very good.