Friday, November 18, 2016

Blunted Swords Continued

     A reader of Rod Dreher’s has something to say:

     As a 46 year old white male, I’d like to give my perspective for the various liberals and leftists who comment here (and I’m truly glad you are here).

     By your definition, I’m a racist, and I just don’t care anymore. I don’t believe I’m actually a racist, but you’re going to label me that way anyway, so I’ll just accept it. I’m a racist based on your definition. Fine. I won’t argue, I’ll just acknowledge you are right. I’m guilty of racism. Frankly, I’ve given up trying to prove you’re wrong. Hell, you’ll call me a racist for thinking algebra should be taught in school, and gifted programs should be kept even if they “lack diversity.”

     And so now, if I can be so bold, here’s my response: “So what? I get it. I’m a racist. Do you have anything else to say? Now that you’ve defined me as a racist, should I just disappear? Should I just admit that you are right, and come around to your way of thinking? What, exactly, do you want me to do? Because I still think about the issues affecting this country in the exact same way.”

     Anyone who fails to understand the mechanism displayed in the above should be deprived of the franchise until he’s finished grade school.

     Not long ago, Fred Reed, an open controversialist, announced that he’d decided to treat the matter in the same way:

Detractor: “You’re a racist!”
Fred Reed: “So what?”

     That reply is the only effective and self-respecting retort to such an accusation. “You’re a racist!” is supposed to be a lethal stroke – the sort of moral condemnation that automatically invalidates anything and everything one might say thereafter. None of the more recent “ists” or “phobes” has the potency of “racist,” specifically because some Americans once enslaved Negroes.

     But what most people call “racism” is merely the recognition that there are differences among the races. Those differences can be contextually significant. A psychologist friend once put it this way: You’re a basketball coach with a slot to fill in your starting lineup, but there’s a constraint on your choices. There are three candidates for the position. One is Caucasian, one is Mongolian, and one is Negro. You must choose without knowing anything else about them. Which do you choose?

     Note that I used the anthropological terms for the three recognized races in the above example – and note that at this time, about 95% of the players in the National Basketball Association are Negroes. Do you suppose the owners and coaches are biased against Caucasians and Mongolians?

     Slavery was unfortunate. Americans have done quite a bit to atone for that crime. But neither the history of American slavery nor the demands of left-liberals can obscure the real, objective differences among the races. Oriental laborers brought to the United States to labor as “coolies” were badly treated, too. Their descendants perform at least as well as American Caucasians on most measurable matters...and they don’t agitate for preferential treatment.

     Awareness that “You’re a racist!” is a rhetorical bludgeon rather than a substantive accusation is spreading rapidly. People are learning to shrug it off. Few imaginable developments would be more conducive to the health of our public discourse.

1 comment:

Deana said...

"People are learning to shrug it off. Few imaginable developments would be more conducive to the health of our public discourse."

This can not be said enough. It just feels so liberating to say, finally, I just don't care.

Several years ago I read an article about two black American women who had moved to France and were staying there. They loved it, they said. When asked why, both agreed it was because the French treated them like everyone else. In fact they specifically said they would never be allowed to cut in line at a theater or store in France. People wouldn't allow it. But in the US, no one would dare say anything out of fear of being considered racist.

Is that not just amazing? And yet it makes all the sense in the world.

For the sake of honesty and dignity for all, I hope this new found bluntness continues. It would be best for all of us.