Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Black Lives Matter

This quote from Ijeoma Oluo reads, “Even the most virulent American racist has to wrestle with the fact that the United States would not exist were it not for people of color.”

What Black History Month means to me

At the coldest, bleakest time of each year in the United States, we observe first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in late January, and then Black History Month in February.

I know there are non-racist reasons for this scheduling. Dr. King’s birthday is January 15. February was chosen by a Black historian for Black History Month (originally Black History Week) because Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass both were born in February (Feb. 12 and 14, respectively).

But I sometimes feel as if this is a way white people accepted so they could seem “enlightened,” get them over with early, and then move on. Like maybe they won’t have to think about Black people the rest of the year.

This quote from Chris Rock says, “Black History Month is in the shortest month of the year, and the coldest—just in case we want to have a parade.”
(AZ Quotes)

Thinking about Black people all year

In recent years I’ve observed Black History Month annually on Artdog Adventures. But we cannot relegate any aspect of our history and national culture to a shadowed corner for ten and a half months of the year.

It’s impossible to live an honest life in today’s world without acknowledging Black people’s pervasive contributions to all aspects of our society, and the incredible depth of their talent pool. Simply put, Black people make our country a better place to live.

This quote from Yvette Clarke says, “We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation’s greatness.”
(AZ Quotes)

Like other meaningful annual observations, Black History Month should be a time of renewing our understanding and deepening our knowledge. The only way to truly grow in our antiracist understanding is to go back to the well of clear-eyed understanding with open-hearted empathy.

Black History Month at a unique moment in US history

If 2020 taught us anything, it should have taught us that way too many of us white folks are clueless and insensitive at best, can often be racist jerks, and may even be violent white supremacists at worst. It should have taught us to respect the massive contributions to our lives by our communities of color.

These groups disproportionately provided the essential workers who’ve kept the rest of us alive—at great personal cost. They came out to vote in huge numbers, overcoming sometimes-daunting obstacles, and literally saved our democracy (if we can keep it). In many ways, white Americans cannot easily fathom how very much gratitude we owe them.

This quote from Ijeoma Oluo reads, “Even the most virulent American racist has to wrestle with the fact that the United States would not exist were it not for people of color.”
(Jan S. Gephardt)

Of course, a lot of us white people are really slow learners, so the inequities persist. A living wage continues to elude many who are still employed. Medical professionals who should know better continue to cherish magical thinking about Black pain tolerance or ignore what their Black patients say. Systemically racist police practices continue to oppress and overpolice and kill.

No turning back now

Some powerful (and a lot of ordinary) white people still act and talk as if we could go back to “the way it used to be” after the pandemic has passed. Now that we have a new administration, they say, we should let bygones be bygones, in the name of “unity.

News flash: time marches on, just as inexorably as the Black Lives Matter demonstrators did last summer. Change has occurred. We’ve seen too much, lost too many family members, and sacrificed too much to subside into numb complacency now.

Not if we retain the smallest scintilla of survival instinct.

This quote from Sister Peggy O’Neill, S.C. reads, “Together we imagine a circle of compassion with no one standing outside of it.”
(Ignatian Solidarity Network)

If we didn’t realize it before, we no longer have any excuses. Everyone now knows how very many things can, and have, and do go wrong. When incompetent people collude with greedy people from a position of abused power, disasters ensue.

It’s going to take all of us, with all of our pooled talent, strength, and resiliency, to pull our country out of the fire. Let’s harness the understandings we gain during Black History Month, together with the spirit of genuine antiracism. Then let’s go forward to create a better future for all of us.

IMAGE CREDITS

Many thanks to AZ Quotes: first for the Chris Rock quote, and second for the quote from US Rep. Yvette Clarke. I assembled the quote from author Ijeoma Oluo with some help from 123rf. And I appreciate the Ignatian Solidarity Network for the quote from Sister Peggy O’Neill, SC.

This sign, in black and yellow like a traffic warning sign, reads, “WARNING: No Easy Answers Ahead.”

Easy answers

Does it seem to you that all the easy answers have gone away? We live in a complicated time, a complicated world.

Covid-19 upends our lives with its invisible, omnipresent death-threat. The American West is burning. Women’s progress in the workplace has turned into eroding sand beneath our feet. Relentless inequities, laid bare by the Covid-19 recession, have thrown our social order into chaos.

It is terrifying. Infuriating. And exhausting.

If only things were easier

Remember the ad campaign with the “Easy” Button™ you supposedly could press to solve all your office supply needs? I wasn’t the only person who really wanted an Easy Button™ in 2005 (for me, that also was a rough year).

The iconic Staples® “Easy Button™” is a round, red-and-silver button marked “easy” in white.
A 2005 ad campaign featured the “Easy Button™” and the motto “That was easy,” to promote the Staples® office store’s services. The company now sells them as novelty gifts. Image courtesy of Staples.

I plan to dig mine out and display it prominently, after we finish renovating the Library and my new home office there (Yes, I have a library room in my house, yes, it’s normally full of books, and yes, it’s awesome when it’s in good shape). But the joke only amuses for a little while.

We can make cracks about easy solutions, but the truth remains stubbornly complicated. Very few easy answers stand up to an objective, critical interrogation.

This hasn’t been the year for “Easy”

Seems like this year we just can’t catch a break. Many of our most popular slogans turn out to easier said than done.

Defund the Police

Remember “Defund the Police”? Yeah, we knew that one wasn’t going to be a quickie, and it sure hasn’t been. Several cities actually are trying. Some look as if they might make real changes.

But the movement isn’t (yet?) popular. Polling tells us the proponents of “defund and reallocate” have a long way to go before a majority of Americans agree enough to act.

Donald Trump’s “Law and Order” message seeks the exact opposite of defunding. His opponent Joe Biden went on the record against defunding, too, although he agrees Federal funding should be tied to “basic standards of decency.” Whatever those turn out to be in practice.

When you consider the history of policing, however, and the baked-in practices and attitudes that have persisted for decades, it’s clear that reforms of existing agencies pose a challenge.

Black Lives Matter

Remember “Black Lives Matter”? That seemed pretty basic. Black people’s lives should be considered to be as important and valuable as everyone else’s. Easy, right?

Then came the inevitable pushback, as if somehow the movement was intended to shove everybody else aside. The unfortunate truth of how our society devalues Black civil rights blazes through in a drumbeat of daily headlines.

Amber Ruffin’s painfully funny skit, “The White Forgiveness Countdown Clock” dramatizes it all too well.

Climate Change is real

Can we at least agree that the forests in the American West are burning up for the same reason that we’re several letters into the Greek alphabet on named tropical storms this year? That climate change not only drives these forces, but it stems from human recklessness?

Not if you think the “Climate Arsonist”-in-Chief is right. He says “science really doesn’t know” why it’s such a bad year for wildfires. On the tropical storms, it’s not what he said. It’s what he didn’t say.

In this cartoon a signpost stands on a plateau with a cliff to the left and a winding road to the right. The sign says “ANSWERS.” Under it an arrow pointing to the left and the cliff reads, “Simple but wrong.” Next to that, an arrow above a bookcase, pointing to the right and the winding road, reads “Complex but right.” A crowd of people have lined up on the road, headed for the signpost. The vast majority of them go left, with only the occasional person choosing the right-hand road.
We probably know who’d be in which line. Cartoon by Wiley Miller/Go Comics/Non Sequitur, via the “Climate Etc.” blog by Judith Curry.

Covid-19 is dangerous

Another pesky “science thing” is the Covid-19 pandemic. Administration efforts to contain worries about the novel virus started at the beginning of the pandemic, in contrast to actual disease-containment efforts.

Nothing if not consistent in this area, these efforts have continued through the summer. The “denial” response continues even today, despite the President’s own diagnosis.

Yet all year long, people have perversely continued to get sick and die.

This is a screen-grab of a world map showing the spread of Covid-19.
Worldwide Covid-19 spread, by country, as of October 6, 2020. Go to the New York Times for a larger, better, interactive version of this map.

As I’m writing this, deaths in the world have risen past one million, and in the USA we’ve topped 210,000. The only certainty seems to be that these numbers will continue to rise.

Yet mask-wearing in the United States continues to rouse partisan ire. Flouting or following basic health guidelines remains a partisan issue. This video dates to last June, but the flaring tempers and divisions persist.

Controversy over the timing of a vaccine rollout provides another instance of science at odds with politics. So do efforts to end the ACA (“Obamacare”) in the middle of the pandemic. And of course, many want to force schools to open for in-person classes, although transmission rates in many areas remain well above recommended guidelines.

Easy answers remain hard to find

This year, more than ever, the “low-hanging fruit,” the easy answers, elude us. Yet I do think I’ve found a few, pretty basic ones, while on preventive lockdown for seven-months-going-on-eternity.

Seek your guidance and information from scientists, physicians, climatologists, and other experts trained and seasoned in their field.

Don’t share or retweet shocking things until you check the story with a factual source.

Give thanks for the wondrous devices that allow us to connect with each other, even when it’s only virtually.

Listen to others. Grieve with those in mourning. Rejoice with those who’ve found joy, and remind yourself and others that bad times eventually pass.

Wear a mask, socially distance (looks as if 6 feet isn’t enough), and vary your list of 20-second songs, so you don’t get bored and shorten your hand-washing.

Be gentle with yourself, and with others. Everyone has a heavy load, right now. Friends and family should try to nurture one another.

That’s Jan’s list. What’s yours?

IMAGE CREDITS:

Many thanks to SixDay Science for the warning sign image, and to Mykola Lytvynenko via 123RF, for the “warning stripes” background on the header. I appreciate Staples® for the “Easy Button™” image. Many thanks to Peacock and YouTube for the Amber Ruffin “White Forgiveness Countdown Clock” video. I’m grateful to Wiley Miller, Go Comics/Non Sequitur, and Judith Curry’s “Climate Etc.” blog, for the “Answers” cartoon. I appreciate the New York Times for the World Covid-19 map, and I hope you took a moment to look at the interactive one at the link.

This photo shows construction workers in hard hats using a crane to remove the John B. Castleman statue from traffic circle in the Cherokee Triangle, a Louisville KY neighborhood. Castleman fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War, but changed his mind later and fought segregation in Louisville parks. The statue was to be moved to the cemetery where Castleman was buried.

Whose history?

By Jan S. Gephardt and G.S. Norwood

They say that the winners get to decide whose history—that is, whose version of history—becomes the “official history.” But when it comes to the so-called “Lost Cause,” that isn’t necessarily so.

This photo shows a display of both US flags and the Confederate battle flag, as well as books bearing depictions of images from the “Lost Cause” pseudo-history narrative.
Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Independent.

The pro-slavery South has got to be working some kind of North American record for being persistent sore losers. They’re certainly not the only ones to hold a long-term grudge in world history, but they’ve hung in there for more than 150 years.

Who was it again, that lost the Civil War? Yes, well, we all know denial isn’t only a river in Egypt.

History and the First Amendment

Jan has written a lot of blog posts this summer inspired by the First Amendment. Since the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests, these rights have been on her heart.

Especially so, because the clashes turned violent. Violations of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly and petition were thick on the ground this summer. We can’t afford not to pay attention.

This photo shows construction workers in hard hats using a crane to remove the John B. Castleman statue from traffic circle in the Cherokee Triangle, a Louisville KY neighborhood. Castleman fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War, but changed his mind later and fought segregation in Louisville parks. The statue was to be moved to the cemetery where Castleman was buried.
Photo by Pat McDonough/Louisville Courier-Journal via CNN.

The renewed calls to take down Confederate monuments are a topic we haven’t tackled till now. For every call to remove them, others cry “you can’t erase history!” But when it comes to issues of erasure and representation, we’re not sure the sympathizers with the “Lost Cause” understand.

They don’t realize that ideologues such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy—who put up many of the monuments—were actually the ones who rewrote, and erased, important parts of our collective history.

The question of whose history we represent—and whose history we erase—is a modern-day minefield where the rules are changing almost as rapidly as the demographics of this country.

A case study in Parker County, TX

A recent episode illustrates some of the complexities of this problem. As she wrote to Jan recently, reports from Weatherford struck home for G., who lived in Parker County, Texas, from 1985 through 2010.

Whose history should be represented on the grounds of the Parker County Courthouse? This aerial photo shows a stunning view of the Courthouse’s distinctive architecture and dramatic setting in the middle of the Weatherford Texas Square.
Photo by Charles Davis Smith, FAIA, via Reddit Snapshots.

“Twenty-five years. I liked the people I met there. They were smart, kind, generous people. Quick to volunteer money and time to worthy causes, they still believed in community groups like the Lions Club and the Masonic Lodge.

“They served on boards, organized rodeos, trail rides, and scholarship funds. They gave high school kids their first jobs, and made sure seniors citizens had hot lunches, affordable housing, and a nice place to go to socialize every day. There were black and Hispanic officers on the local police force and the regional Department of Public Safety (highway patrol) roster. Everybody turned out for the annual Peach Festival.

“I won’t pretend there wasn’t racism. I am white, so I probably didn’t see as much of it as the black professionals I worked beside, but I’m sure it was there, simply because it’s everywhere—especially in states that once belonged to the Confederacy.

The monument on the Courthouse grounds

“A generic stone statue of a nameless Confederate soldier had been placed on the Parker County courthouse lawn by the United Daughters of the Confederacy sometime in the past. Not a work of fine art—just a statement about the county’s history. And apparently its present reality, too.

This photo shows the stone statue of a man in a Confederate uniform, standing and holding a rifle atop a base that reads, “In honor of the United Confederate Veterans of Parker County, 1861-1865.” The base was placed on the grounds of the Parker County Texas Courthouse by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1915, but the statue’s date and ownership are less clear.
Photo by Dreanna L. Belden/University of North Texas “Portal to Texas History.”

“I moved away from Parker County in July 2010. Almost exactly ten years later, on July 25, 2020, some local progressives decided to up their ongoing battle to remove the Confederate statue by leading a small protest march.

“Some sources say there were about 25 Black Lives Matter marchers making their way up South Main to the courthouse square in Weatherford that afternoon. Some estimates go as high as 50.

The counter-protest

All news sources agree that the crowd of counter-protestors who met them was nearly ten times bigger—anywhere from 250 to 500 people.

Counter-protesters came out in force to oppose a small group of demonstrators calling for the removal of the Confederate soldier statue on the grounds of the Courthouse in Parker County, Texas. One of their displays looked like a jail cell with effigies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in “prisoner black and white stripes” inside. Signs on it read, “Jail Transport,” “History Matters,” “All lives matter,” “Trump has opened our eyes to fake news and lies,” and “Deep state demon rats.”
Photo by Walt Burns/Spectrum News.

“The counter-protesters came with Confederate Flags. They came with signs, denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement. And they came with guns. One guy even mounted a semi-automatic assault rifle in the back of his pickup truck, military style.

“There was a lot of yelling, some pushing and shoving, and three people were arrested. One of them turned out to be a white supremacist leader from Utah. Nobody was injured, but I was appalled.

I had loved Parker County. Loved Weatherford. Made it my home for many happy years. Never in all that time did I suspect that such ignorance and hatred lived just under the surface. I still don’t know how to process it.”

It’s a lot to process. But that question of “whose history?” certainly comes down to some very personal history. As it is many places, it’s deeply personal for many in Weatherford.

Whose history is important?

Some people, like Kim Milner, who grew up in Weatherford and started a petition to keep the statue, call themselves “Those who want to keep the monuments that reflect our history rather than tear them down.”

But “That Lost Cause propaganda,” as protester Courtney Craig called it in an interview last June with CBS 11’s Jason Allen, has drowned out all other historical perspectives for decades.

Doesn’t mean those perspectives went away, though—or aren’t real.

This photo shows a crowd of the original protest group, who want the statue removed. The crowd contains both White and Black people, many of whom are wearing masks. A protester at the front of the crowd holds a sign that reads, “If you’ve ever wondered what you’d do during slavery, the Holocaust, or Civil Rights Movement, you’re doing it right now!”
Photo by Walt Burns/Spectrum News.

Tony Crawford, one of the organizers of the Parker County protesters, told Spectrum News, “My family was lynched on that square,” he said. “I’m going about this knowing full well that after that statue comes down, it may be too dangerous for me to ever step foot in Weatherford again.”

History’s context

Whose history do we value? Whose history do we preserve? Jan and G. believe that history’s lessons are the most rich and meaningful when we remember the voices, thoughts, and memories of all who had a stake in the events of the times.

That means not glorifying any single narrative over all the others. It also means placing things in context. And sometimes that means removing them from one place to another. Along with Courtney Craig, we believe that there may be places where Confederate monuments could be displayed. Confederate cemeteries, perhaps. Museums.

We do not, however, believe that monuments placed years after the end of the Civil War and intended as propagandistic declarations of domination by “Jim Crow” racists should remain on their pedestals overshadowing public spaces. Or stay in places where justice should be upheld.

IMAGE CREDITS:

All of our image sources come from great online articles and other sources that will reward you if you’re interested in learning more. Please dig deeper to your heart’s content. Many thanks to the Milwaukee Independent for the photo of “Lost Cause” books and memorabilia.

We also want to thank photographer Pat McDonough, The Louisville Courier-Journal, and CNN for the photo of John B. Castleman’s equestrian statue being removed from Louisville’s Cherokee Triangle. There’s a video of the removal in the Louisville C-J article, and an in-depth, illustrated list of other removals in the CNN article.

We’re grateful to Charlies Davis Smith, FAIA, via Reddit Snapshots, for the amazing drone shot of the Parker County Courthouse. And we’re also indebted to Dreanna L. Belden and University of North Texas “Portal to Texas History” for the photo of the Confederate monument at the center of the Weatherford controversy.

Double thanks to Walt Burns and Spectrum News for the two photos from the Weatherford protests, both the “Jail Transport” and “You’re doing it right now!” images. They really captured the range of ideas on the march that day.

And finally, we appreciate Mitch Landrieu’s words about the place of Confederate monuments in New Orleans today, made available via the beautifully-produced video from the Atlantic and YouTube.

Many thanks to all!

This illustrated quote from author N. K. Jemisin says, “If the first words out of your mouth are to cry ‘political correctness!’, chances are very, very high that you are in fact part of the problem.”

Freedom of Speech Part Two: Not a crime but not okay

Do we really have as much freedom of speech as we think? Do we have more than we realize? Or have we misunderstood the whole concept? Two weeks ago, I started a series of posts on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Last week I discussed “When Speech is a Crime,” exploring the exceptions to the First Amendment.

Now might be a good moment to remember what the First Amendment actually says.

The text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Many thanks to Indivisible Door County WI

In my first post of this series, I asked, “Is the First Amendment an aspiration, or a reality?” I got some pushback in comments online. As one commenter put it, “Of course the First Amendment is a reality. It’s the law!

But that might be an “alternative fact” in daily practice. The founding documents also say “all men are created equal,” and there’s a culture-wide concept that “equal justice under law” is a guiding principle. We haven’t even come close to getting those right, yet. Kinda like with the slaves in Texas between the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth. Just ‘cuz they wrote it, that “don’t mean we got it.”

Freedom of speech, and its limitations

As with all broad declarations of principle, the devil lurks amongst the details. Turns out, freedom of speech is a thorny issue, even (or perhaps especially) in the USA. The section of the First Amendment relevant to today’s post says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . .

This quote from Benjamin Franklin, reversed out of a painting of Franklin, reads, “Without Freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
Courtesy of “Relatably

That all seems pretty straightforward. But even when the speaker is not committing a crime, s/he may hesitate to say something. There are times when even protected speech may technically be legal—but it also may be socially “not okay.”

Political correctness and “Cancel Culture”

In recent decades several terms have bubbled up from the cultural ferment: “Politically correct,” “cancel culture,” or “call-out culture.” Sometimes people abuse their new power gained through “the leveling effects of social media.” But still I agree with Spencer Kornhaber that it’s less a matter of “cancellation” than accountability.

Whatever you call it, these terms are used defensively. They push back against a changing social norm that abhors racist, sexist or gender-identity-denigrating speech or actions.

The definition for “Cancel Culture” given in this image reads: “Cancel culture is a form of public shaming that tries to hold someone accountable for their actions by publicly calling out their behavior as problematic.”
Courtesy of Parentology.

The pushers-back complain that these shifting social norms result in a climate that stifles freedom of self-expression. An excellent recent example of this can be found in a letter that, while set to be published in the October 2020 issue of Harper’s Magazine, has already found its way into wide circulation. The inevitable response to this pushback also is easy to find.

Many, including several prominent comedians, have protested that political correctness “kills humor.” Those who disagree counter by saying what’s dying is out-of-date schtick that relies on bigotry for humor. More on that below.

Thought police? Really?

The complainers also say the country is more and more pervasively dominated by “thought police.” That to step out of line, especially on college campuses, is to risk scorn, ridicule, and ostracism. The critique of campus culture has some merit, as far as it goes. Sometimes unpopular speakers, especially those who support white supremacy or are known for hate speech, are booked for events on some college campuses. Almost inevitably, students have raised loud protests.

This back-and-forth has led to conservative-leaning students saying they feel unwelcome in some classes. They report being afraid to speak their views in classrooms or campus forums, for fear of being shouted down or shunned. The liberal-arts ideal of a “marketplace of ideas” never included this.

This quote from Noam Chomsky says, “If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all.”
Might note that Chomsky signed the Harper’s letter. (Courtesy of Minds Media.)

A short “Political Correctness” debate

Lest this discussion get too heavy, let’s pause for a short “political correctness” debate in the form of a meme war. Contemporary social media culture seems awash in such soundbite messaging. And memes fly in especially thick flurries and flocks when it comes to political correctness. Why not let the memes duke it out?

This photo montage consists of three photo-based memes. 1. In the upper left photo, an angry young woman seems to yell. The meme says, “Judging people by their race and sex is wrong . . .  I wish you privileged white men would get that.” 2. The upper right photo shows a snarling miniature schnauzer dog. The meme says, “That moment you realize . . . that “political correctness is the P.C. euphemism for censorship.” 3. The third is a photo quote from comedian George Carlin that is often used as a meme. It says, “Political Correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners.”
(Clockwise: Politically Incorrect Humor, Lather, via MemeCenter, and Meme Generator)
This photo montage consists of two cartoon images and a photo-based meme. 1. In the upper left image, from Some EE Cards, a man and a woman in old-fashioned clothing embrace each other. The words say, “When I complain about ‘political correctness’ what I’m really saying is that I want to be able to act like a douche without people pointing out that I’m acting like a douche.” 2. In the upper right photo-meme a man gives the camera a squinty-eyed look. The meme reads, “Claim to be against political correctness . . . Call torture an enhanced interrogation technique.” 3. The cartoon at the bottom is by B. Deutsch, titled, “The Straight, Ablebodied, Cis, Rich, White Man’s Burden.” It shows a slender young white man with a day-pack on his back, yelling at four other people bending with effort beneath much larger, bulkier bags. His listeners are a man with a prosthetic, a short-haired woman, a person with vaguely Asian or Hispanic features, and a Black man. The young man with the small pack says, “Why are you people complaining? Can’t you see I’ve got a burden, too?”
(Clockwise: SomEEcards, and “Chris1787763,QuickMeme, and Claire’s Passion Blog/Ampersand by B. Deutch.)
In this photo-based meme, the puffin struts across a grassy surface. The meme says, “Just because your (sic) offended doesn’t mean your (sic) right . . . Just as much as being offensive doesn’t mean your (sic) right either”
(“unusedimgur,” via Imgur)

There now. Who says humor is dead? There are times when we may be tempted to side with the Puffin. Unfortunately, the puffin meme supports a false equivalency.

The philosophical throughline: underlying bigotry

As far as I can tell, there’s one huge problem with the arguments against political correctness. It lies in the kind of “truth” and “humor” they defend.

That “freedom” they desire? It often turns out to be the freedom to use racist or homophobic language. The “truth” they defend? All too often it’s not objective truth, but instead derisive racial or gender-identity stereotypes. The “humor” they want to keep alive boils down to racial slurs and ethnic jokes.

Dig down to the bottom of the “anti-P.C.” arguments, and you’ll mostly find white privilege defending hate speech.

You may be surprised to learn that hate speech normally is protected speech—at least, in the United States. Mind your expressions of racial hate in other parts of the world, though.

Hate Speech, the ultimate “not a crime but not okay.”

Defined as “distasteful, offensive, or hateful speech that causes others to feel grief, anger, or fear,” hate speech truly does offend. But as long as people stop short of hate crimes, they can say pretty much any awful thing they want to.

And they definitely do say despicable things. There are lots of reasons why, but it all boils down to one. White privilege doesn’t want to concern itself with others’ problems and feelings, because it’s never had to do that before. Well, sorry to all you white snowflakes in your gated communities. That’s got to change.

Outside her St. Louis mansion on June 28, 2020, Patricia McCloskey points a handgun at Black Lives Matter protesters, one of whom also appears to be armed. Her husband Mark McCloskey stands farther back behind a hedge with a rifle. Later, Mark McCloskey said he was “scared for my life, protecting my wife.”
Outside her St. Louis mansion on June 28, 2020, Patricia McCloskey points a handgun at Black Lives Matter protesters, one of whom also appears to be armed. Her husband Mark McCloskey stands farther back behind a hedge with a rifle. Later, Mark McCloskey said he was “scared for my life, protecting my wife.” (Photo: CNN).

An unaccustomed concern

I understand. Always having to accommodate another culture takes a lot of effort. You must always think about the other culture’s standards, ideas, perceptions, and understandings. Even if you don’t “get” them.

It’s really hard. You’ll get things wrong, and there’s a price to pay when you do. Sometimes you’re wrong, no matter what you do, just because of what you look like, or where you came from. And you never, ever, get a break from it. That’s uncomfortable and exhausting.

I can almost hear all the Black folks out there saying, “Mmm-mm, you know that’s right.” Because that’s the reality they live every day.

But white people’s moans about “political correctness” are whimpers of a dying privilege. Sooner or later—actually, about 2045 or so—demographics will have their way with this country. No matter how many pathetic little (I’m sorry: “Big, beautiful”) walls we build.

Rather than huddle inside our compounds, if we white people are wise we’ll start expanding our horizons, and working for justice.

This illustrated quote from author N. K. Jemisin says, “If the first words out of your mouth are to cry ‘political correctness!’, chances are very, very high that you are in fact part of the problem.”
Courtesy of Gecko And Fly.

IMAGES:

Many thanks to Indivisible Door County, WI for the First Amendment’s text. I am grateful to Relatably, for the quote-image from Benjamin Franklin, and to Parentology for the “cancel culture” definitionDeepest gratitude to MindsMedia, for the Noam Chomsky quote-image.

MEME-WAR: I’m grateful to Politically Incorrect Humor for the “Judging people” meme, to Lather, via MemeCenter for the Schnauzer image, and to MemeGenerator (no legible additional credit) for the George Carlin quote.

I’m also grateful to SomeEEcards and “Chris 1787763” for the “act like a douche” image, to QuickMeme (no additional credit) for the “P.C. but Torture” meme, and to Ampersand by B. Deutch, via Claire’s Passion Blog on the Penn State University website, for “The Straight, Ablebodied, Cis, Rich, White Man’s Burden” cartoon.

Many thanks for the peace-puffin meme to “unusedimgur,” via Imgur.

MORE IMAGES: Many thanks to CNN for the photo of the McCloskeys confronting BLM protesters, and to Gecko and Fly for the image-quote from the wonderful sf author N. K. Jemisin.

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