January 5, 2012

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

I really enjoyed this article from the Marin Independent Journal. It concerns a recent forum held by the Marin Coalition on Marin County’s lack of racial diversity.   The forum revolved around two speakers who were presenting, according to the reporter, “their alternative versions of reality during [the] luncheon.”  More on these theories after the fold.

Before getting to the theories, I thought its was interesting that the forum was of such great import to the people of Marin County (population 250,000) that “[m]ore than 30 people turned out” to hear the speakers.  [The article does not reveal whether that number included the two speakers, the reporter, and/or the waitstaff.]  I also enjoyed that the event, designed to shed light on the lack of affordable housing in Marin County, was held at Chalet Basque, where you can get escargots bordelaise for lunch.

The alternative versions of reality provided by the speakers were quite interesting. The first speaker, from Fair Housing of Marin, argued that facially neutral housing policies “exclude people with children,” which it turns out is actually a proxy for discriminating based on race.  Yes, apparently white people can’t have children any more. Moreover, it seems the disparate impact of these neutral housing policies prove the discriminatory attitude of Marin County lessors.  [For more on the absurdity of the disparate impact theory, see here, here, or here.]

Not to be outdone, the second speaker, from the Friends of Mill Valley, offered his theory regarding the lack of diversity in Marin County.  He managed to trace the lack of diversity to Nixon, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Jack Kemp, the alien landing in Roswell, and a partridge in a pear tree.  (Note: two of those may not actually have been mentioned as actual causes).  No word yet on what happened to the lady that swallowed the horse to catch the cow to catch the goat to catch the dog to catch… you get the idea.

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