To The Sun, Everything Looks Like a Nail
When everything is racist, nothing is racist
The Baltimore Sun sure does know how to take something silly and blow it up to something stupid.
Sun Deputy Editorial Page Editor Andrea McDaniel decided to use her bully pulpit to using a cautionary tale about the stupidity of homeowners associations as an opportunity to declare an entire neighborhood to be full of racists.
But the families of the boys say they have been ordered to remove the hoops, and one was threatened with legal action. TheRockland Ridge Homeowners Association said the hoops violate a declaration in its covenant that prohibits recreation equipment, and members have been advised by their lawyer that they can’t make an exception. To allow the hoops, the declaration would have to be formally amended, a process that would require the approval of homeowners in the community.
This, of course, checks out so far. Homeowners associations are the closest thing America has ever come to homegrown fascism. Little dictators with nothing better to do in their lives narc on their neighbors in order to make them feel better about themselves. If there is one thing that unites most people, it’s a distaste of homeowner’s associations.
Back in 2012, I had to write letters and threaten legal action against my own homeowner’s association. They demanded I take down campaign signs related to the 2012 election. I had to remind them that such prohibitions are illegal, as campaign signs are protected free speech protected by both the Constitution and state law. It’s why when I moved, I made sure to buy a home with no homeowners association.
McDaniel of course makes the entire thing about race instead:
The boys are crushed at the thought of losing one of their favorite pastimes, and their parents suspect that their sons are being discriminated against: Khasan is African American, and Cooper Korean American. It certainly brings to mind the history of covenants and their use by residents of white neighborhoods to keep African Americans and other non-white people out. The Baltimore area was one of the earliest adoptees of such tactics. Basketball hoops are also often targets of shutdowns and closures because of old stereotypes that they bring trouble by attracting crowds of African Americans.
The Homeowner’s Association of course denies this, pointing out that applications for basketball hoops have been denied in the past. Other hoops ave been removed. Nobody involved as a person of color.
But again, that fact is irrelevant to McDaniel. Why focus on facts when you can make baseless accusations against an entire community of people?
Now, this issue in Rockland Ridge has generated legislation that will “prohibit unreasonable limitations on the location and use of a portable basketball apparatus on property in which an individual owns or has exclusive right to use.” I have no problem with the legislation itself, though I don’t understand why it targets basketball hoops instead of other sports and recreation equipment within reason. Homeowners associations often use their little power to bully people into doing their bidding, any time we can ensure that the property rights of individual homeowners are preserved and defended we should. This proposed legislation is the same as protecting the rights of campaign signs.
But tarnishing an entire community with the label of racist because two families in a community convinced a columnist who doesn’t live there to use her bully pulpit in the area paper of record to accuse the community of racism? Who does that help? How does such an unproven accusation help anybody? How does this do anything other than enflame tensions in the community.
Andrea McDaniel doesn’t live there, so she obviously doesn’t care.
This is the problem with The Sun editorial board on a larger level. They have their world view and they are going to make sure that you know about it.
After all, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.