“A strong message to Black Street”
The day after Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for committing a massive financial fraud, I saw the following big, bold headline in the Los Angeles Times:
A strong message to Wall Street
Think about what this headline implies. The conviction of one particular financier is regarded as a message to all financiers. That is outrageous.
Imagine if there were a mass-conviction of Mafia members and the LA Times wrote:
A strong message to Italian-Americans
Or, imagine, if, every time a black murderer got convicted, the LA Times wrote:
A strong message to Blacks
Members of those groups would be righteously, justifiably outraged that they were being treated as potential criminals simply because of their ancestry. In fact, we all would be outraged. Being Italian or black, we would say, in no way, shape, or form implies that a person is a would-be criminal. Well, neither does being on Wall Street. Unfortunately, many think it does because they regard the profit motive as immoral and an inducement toward criminal behavior. (See “Why Businessmen Need Philosophy,” “Unlimited Liability,” and “An Open Letter to CEOs” for more on this issue.) Shame on the LA Times for perpetuating this idea by smearing honest, productive financiers with Madoff’s guilt.