Friday, July 11, 2008

Black Hole = Racist ... What?

According to conventional physics, a “Black Hole” refers to a phenomenon where matter gets so densely packed that gravity becomes strong enough to prevent light from escaping. With not light emanating from the black hole nor reflecting off of it, it appears dark; hence the name “Black Hole.” You could theoretically see objects swirling into the black hole and light bending around it. Once anything passes the event horizon, it is doomed to swirl into the center of the black hole never to escape. There are a few theories that suggest it is possible to matter to escape after passing the event horizon, but that is not the point of this post.

To (hopefully) most people, a black hole is just that. Any connotation drawn from the phrase out of the astrological context is interpreted to mean essentially a chasm from which nothing leaves. Not so to Commissioner John Wiley Price. He took offense to the term “Black Hole” considering it racist.


DallasNews.com
(http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/07/dallas-county-meeting-turns-ra.html)

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.
County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term.



Not to get deeper into science, but there is such a thing as a “White Hole.” In theoretical physics, a white hole is the exact opposite of a black hole. In simple terms, while a black hole traps matter, a white hole is constantly emitting it. The practical effect would be that the white hole would be light, hence the “white.”

This is so ridiculous. Using the word black in a sentence does not make you a racist. If something is dark or lacking in sufficient light, it should be ok to refer to it as black. Racism is still a problem in some areas, but story like this only serve to detract from the cause of putting a stop to racism.

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