Paul Stamler writes:
"Precisely what criminal cases has the ARSC board expressed an opinion about?"
Have you read the Statement from the ARSC Board Opposing Racism and Police Brutality?
Here's the text where the ARSC board takes a stand on several cases of deaths of African Americans following interactions with police:
"The recent killings and acts of police brutality against Black Americans serve as horrifying
reminders that racism is not only still here, but it is systemic, affecting all aspects of our lives.
The Association for Recorded Sound Collections stands in support of, and in service to, our
Black members, as well as those in the community at large who face violence and oppression
every single day. Today we remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud
Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and countless others who have lost their lives."
Full text, here:
Specifically, do you see the names of several people written there in connection with a statement about police brutality? None of these cases have been litigated in court. Charges are still pending, charges have not been filed in some cases, and we, as of yet, have no idea how any court will decide on any of these matters. The ARSC Board is connecting the deaths of the named individuals with police brutality (a question for the criminal justice system) and racism (also, potentially, a question for the criminal justice system).
What if the outcome of these cases (or some of these cases) is that no crime was committed? Or that a crime was committed, but that no racism was involved? I'm merely asking these questions, as I, like you and the ARSC Board, have no idea what the answer will be. If any of those scenarios play out, could ARSC could find itself the subject of a defamation lawsuit?
Why is the ARSC Board weighing in on any of these complex issues? We elected them to be leaders in recorded sound. I have expressed my professional concerns about having the board of an organization for record collectors and archivists speak for me on issues that I have to provide unbiased coverage of. Others may have objections on different grounds. That is for them to voice, if they feel moved to do so.
I have to ask again, why are we even in this position? What does any of this have to do with recorded sound? If the answer is that ARSC advocates for certain cases currently making their ways through the criminal justice system, I must vehemently protest, and also must consider whether I can continue my membership. I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that, as I have found my ARSC membership meaningful and valuable in my hobby as a record collector and playback and transfer enthusiast.