Sunday, July 19, 2020

How do you want ME to practice anti-racism, specifically?


I am half way through Robin DiAngelo’s book “White Fragility” book – on Kindle it is inconvenient to peruse, and will review it on Wordpress, but I am still wonder, what do you want ME, a retired 77 year old white gay male, to do about this personally?  What do you demand of me?  OK, anti-racism is more than the lack of racsim.  Just as caring is more than the lack of direct harm, or loyalty is more than the lack of betrayal. 



(Above: "PBS, How anti-racism is a treatment for the 'cancer' of racism")

I pose the question particularly in conjunction with what I see as a very challenging time ahead for Internet free speech, in the style I have developed since the late 1990s, without gatekeepers.  That is no longer a guaranteed right, and we could face a time in the near future (on the other side of the pandemic) that if you want to he heard online, you must meet some norms of social creditworthiness, monitored by the platforms, rather than government (as in China).

Social creditworthiness might include various kinds of community engagement to give something back from a position of past privilege, if in fact you have one.  (I would have a problem in that sense). 

But that idea is getting obscured by the idea that every white person must face up to the fact that they have (unfairly if unknowingly) benefited from a systemic injustice from the past (specifically derived from slavery) and must participate in making reparations or actually join a political movement to overturn the system.  This quickly can run into Marxism, to be sure.

There’s plenty of reason to say, whoa there. First, race is an arbitrary designation.  There are other racial minorities (especially Native Americans) who could make a similar claim.  Where do you draw a line with an individual person?  Obviously, we are bringing back reverse racism.

Most of the articles addressing what “you” want talk about confronting family and relatives in social situations (as I [["incel"] have no kids and no contact with them, there is no reason for that to come up in my own life, although it has happened in the distant past), to self-education (no problem there), to suggestions that you direct financial and personal support to black organizations or to the movement (as a kind of quid pro quo) and raise money in your own social media for their causes.  “They” seem to want to be first in line with demands.

Here are a few typical articles: (Vox, Anna North, June 3), (Bthechange, Christina Marie Noel, June 3), (Insidehighered, “A Call to Action”, Jourdain Hillare, June 10) .

Many prominent and well-liked young white adults with YouTube and Instagram channels and various companies or interests jumped on and posted strong suggestions that everyone need to join this specific effort, almost as if they felt compelled to in order to retain viewership. In some cases they posted the black squares branding their pages.  In one case, there was a plea to provide bail money to protesters and accusations against at least one apparently abusive policewoman.
 
Jonathan Chait has a counterpiece in New York Magazine, where he notes the more radical activists have attacked individualism, scientific method, and logical thinking, as somehow instruments of “oppression” – with a chart from the DC African American Museum that got widely circulated (and ridiculed) on Twitter.  Of course, Chait's remarks could be balanced by the observation that "Black Lives Matter", as a movement, is very much about identifying with a group before you become yourself as an individual -- necessary for a lot of people in practice -- and a source of a lot of class resentment. It's "easier" for some people to bundle them into groups before negotiating anything.  (And no, I am not non-binary.) 
  
Nick Gillespie interviews Kmele Foster on Reason (July 15), with an hour long podcast that maintains “Black Lives Matter is hostile to free markets and capitalism”.  Indeed, ponder some of the most extreme demands of some activists, do dismantle law enforcement altogether so that everyone suffers the same risk of violence -- and will be drawn into their Marxist (even Maoist) moral agenda.   Yet this same agenda sees the world in terms of power structures, with individuals benefiting not from their own direct work but from deriving privilege from an existing system.  That means these individuals are wiped out of existence if that system is overthrown. 

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