#WalkAway (Just a Russian Bot, Nothing to See Here)

I guess I should contribute to this, huh? Well, time to commit.

Pierogi! Vodka! Fur hats and whatnot! Ra, ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen!

Moskau, Moskau. Wirf die Gläser an die Wand! Russland ist ein schönes Land!
Ho ho ho ho ho. Hey!

Привет товарищи! Я пишу вам от славной американской базы Матери-России, чтобы петь хвалу каждому политическому деятелю, которого вы лично не любите. Я также даю пищу всем моим русским товарищам, которые хорошо работают, прячусь под вашей кроватью и в вашем шкафу ночью и взламывая ваше амазонское эхо, чтобы дать вам больше рекламы.

Это старые новости, но я просто хочу раздражать всех людей (которые, в отличие от этих злых консерваторов, совсем не боятся иностранцев), которые считают, что противостоящие политические взгляды – это вина России. Путин выставил рекламу, поддерживающую Берни Сандерса. Я просто сказал.

I don’t speak Russian. If this is a horribly illiterate translation, blame our Google overlords. Now that I’ve beaten that joke into the ground, let’s move on to the actual content about #WalkingAway from the Democratic party.


I am not a Democrat. Yes, I know–I’m a genius and a hero. Really, though, I don’t understand why saying that earns anyone in 2018 America any flack. Even in its mutated form of #WalkAway from vague liberals, I don’t see why it has gotten so much flack. It has been painted by Democrats and left-leaners as alt-right, pro-Trump, conservative schlock organized by evil Russians to stop the Blue Wave from occurring in the upcoming election cycle. It’s a very odd alliance to me because the Bernie Sanders crowd has every reason to walk away from the Democratic party; but they are, for some reason, some of the main people throwing a hissy fit over the (comparatively very small) movement’s mere existence. The other main players are, of course, the Clinton-esque establishment Democrats who have been taking a well-deserved beating from all sides ever since Trump was elected.

If I had to guess why the alliance happened, it’s probably because the Democrats used their influence over major Old Guard media outlets (pretty much the only influence they have left at this point) to convince everyone that #WalkAway was an arrow pointing in one direction and one direction only–toward Trump. That is not the case. It’s certainly the case for some people, don’t get me wrong. You’ll see plenty of MAGA hats contributing to the hashtag talking about how they voted for Obama twice and hope to vote for Trump twice as well. I guess I want to contribute to this to show that this isn’t a one-way street. Leaving the DNC doesn’t inherently mean jumping aboard the RNC bandwagon. It really shows how bad bi-partisanism has gotten when that’s automatically assumed.

You can leave the Democrats and put an R on your voter ID. Or an I. You can leave to join the Green Party or the Libertarians or the Democratic Socialists or the Social Democrats (which are two different things, btdubs). I wouldn’t even point to the new MAGA enthusiasts as people who joined the Republican party seeing as how the RNC fucking hates Trump for not being an old guard establishment Republican. If anything, the #WalkAway movement seems to be about rejecting the Democrat/Republican paradigm to support populist candidates like Trump, like Bernie, like Rand Paul, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who all represent four different political ideologies). It’s not just about Russia trying to stop muh Blue Wave.

And I’m technically a part of it. I was a liberal in a very conservative, rural small town in the South. I would have voted for Obama had I been old enough to vote for him. Both times. (This is, of course, before I was more politically involved and realized that Obama wasn’t that great and did some highly contestable things. If I had known that back then, he’d only get one hypothetical vote from me, not two.) I’m registered to vote in local elections as an Independent now, but my first voter registration was as a Democrat. This last presidential election was the first one I was old enough to vote for, and I voted third party. I initially supported Sanders, but after the embarrassing BLM kerfuffle, it would’ve taken a lot for me to vote for him had he taken Clinton’s spot as the official Democratic nominee. I did highly consider voting for Trump before realizing that I didn’t want him in office as much as I just didn’t want another corrupt political dynasty candidate in office.

Now that I’m moving to a state that doesn’t have the “Independent” voter option, I’m honestly not sure which party I’m going to sign up under. The fact that I’m so ambivalent about it is evidence enough that I’m a #WalkAway case, I assume. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans strike me as mostly the same thing. Yes, they have different divisive social issues they like to push, but, in the end of the day they seem to do the same things once they get in office. Bush was a warmonger who gave guns to random countries and insurgency groups under the table, who fucked up our educational system, who let Wall Street fuck us in the collective ass, who started Gitmo and spying on citizens, who made the school-to-prison pipeline even worse. Obama is a guy who pretended to be a dove before revealing himself to be a warmonger, who continued to fuck our educational system, who did nothing about the criminals on Wall Street and even bailed some of them out, who not only did nothing about Gitmo but went after more whistleblowers than Bush could dream of doing, who had the NSA do even more spying, and who had even more potheads prosecuted than Bush did.

You can summarize that above rant with this quote: “Obama was putting kids in cages before it was cool to be outraged about it.”

So forgive me for thinking that there’s no difference between the two parties that matters. The only real difference seems to be that Democrats pretend to care about certain issues and the Republicans don’t bother. Oh look, Obama made a sad speech about racism after a gun-crazy neighborhood watchman shot a teenager for no reason. That makes him drone striking a teenaged American citizen okay!

As much as I hate to lend credence to the identity politics idea, I am forced to in this instance because it’s actually somewhat relevant to my #WalkingAway. I am a black woman. Democrats have made it very clear that they think they just own my vote by default. It’s not even entitlement at this point. In order to feel entitled to something, you must first admit that you don’t have it and that it should be given to you. As far as the Democratic party is concerned, I was born with a D next to my name. I was never not theirs.

And if the Democrats actually earned that, I wouldn’t mind. But what have they actually done for the black community, as a political party? “LBJ was a Democrat!” you scream from the balcony. Yeah, and he had to get his arm twisted into doing anything for the Civil Rights movement, with it boiling down mostly to him making a savvy political move that he saw an unavoidable. What did they do after that? Economically cripple black communities by establishing the cyclical dependency of the welfare state as a half-hearted attempt at reparations. Keep affirmative action going far past its expiration date, establishing the stereotype of the black worker/student as inherently underqualified and prone to getting hand outs. Start the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that contributed heavily to unjust black incarceration and a prison population that exceeds China.

Take Super PAC funding from private prisons. Ignore the infrastructure reforms that would lead to safer living environments in favor of supporting doomed social programs. Utterly ignore the gun violence that is killing young black men at epidemic-level rates, yet get all misty-eyed the second a mass shooting that can’t be classified as gang-related violence happens. Get up-in-arms about Collin Kaepernick not being able to kneel during the national anthem, but be utterly unwilling to address the larger system of social and financial exploitation of professional sports (that victimizes mostly black men) that makes the NFL’s curbing of free speech rights totally legal. Or how about the fact that Democrats overwhelmingly represent the young, family-less 20-something demographic that is the main culprit in displacing minorities in urban areas–aka the gentrification issue they care so much about until they don’t.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a kinda like/hate relationship with Donald Trump. But if he got one thing right, it was the statement he made to black communities. “What do you have to lose?!” his grating voice boomed, spreading his arms wide. The Democrats, right on cue, accused him of racism . . . for parroting the exact same talking points about black academic underachievement and dangerous ghettos that liberals have been spouting for decades. (The ability to find grievous fault in Trump saying the sky is blue is yet another reason I wholly understand people flocking away from the Democrats.) Was he wrong, though? What does the black community have to lose?

Chicago and Baltimore and Newark and New York City and Philadelphia and Los Angeles have been blue for decades going on decades, and yet they are hubs of some of the worst living conditions for black Americans in the entire country. The black Democrat Baltimore mayor designated certain low-income areas as places that were “okay” to be destroyed by rioters just a few years back. Philadelphia was so extremely violent that the 1980s knew it more closely as Killadelphia. Living in South LA gives kids the same levels of PTSD as fucking war refugees. Southside Chicago is so universally shitty that its problems account for a very sizable percentage of the country’s overall violence and human rights abuses rates.

This isn’t me saying that voting in someone other than a Democrat would make those places better. But, hell, you could try changing something, instead of repeatedly voting in the same party that has repeatedly done fuck all to help the situation and then wondering why nothing changes. The worst element of it is that those people who are perpetually unhelped by having a Democrat in office are the same people who Democrats feel like they own the vote of. And they keep being proven right. Democrats have Stockholm Syndromed black America into thinking that they’re somehow the only political option available because everyone else is racist. Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton calls black men super predators to justify high incarceration rates in private prisons and carries around hot sauce in her purse to appeal to black radio hosts, and she still painted herself as the non-racist one because she had a D next to her name.

It’s called the Democratic Plantation for a reason. And just like plantations, the old guard Democratic party (and Republican party, for that matter) should be resigned to the past to be replaced with something better and more efficient, in a world with more than a handful of options available. But that change won’t happen until you leave it. Just walk away.

Advertisements

How To Be Against Race-Based Affirmative Action and Convince People You Aren’t Racist for Having That Opinion: 4 Easy Steps

Hey, guys! I’ve been dead for a while. Just long enough for the tons of shit to go down without my totally necessary commentary. Soccer hooligans are running amok. Religious people don’t have to bake cakes for gay weddings, under the pretense that wedding cake tastes too shitty to be considered food. A democratic socialist with very hard opinions on things and very vague explanations for how she’s going to achieve anything on her policy platform got elected in New York. Trump got called Literally Hitler for continuing deportation practices that have been going on for a decade. Then he promptly lost any sympathy by talking about how he wants to Liberate Venezuela, because trying to import freedom to a tropical country fucked over by socialism has never backfired on the US before.

I don’t feel like talking about any of that, though. None of those topics are close to my heart. But, would ya look at that–there is a topic I’m actually invested in being discussed right now, one nestled right in between by ventricles.

It’s race-based affirmative action. I guess I should say it was race-based affirmative action, because that shit’s probably gonna be gone soon. It looks like Donald Trump is just going to continue down this path of doing one thing that I can actually get behind to make up for the five instances of utter buffoonery coming before and after it. The last thing was the Space Force–not kidding. It’s the future, we’re gonna need a space army eventually. And the US is gonna be on top of that shit before anyone else. Gonna be great.

But back to affirmative action. I have never been a fan of it. It encourages minorities to have a very dangerous inferiority complex + entitlement issues combo that does no one any good. It encourages the soft bigotry of low expectations and is generally incredibly elitist and condescending to entire demographics of people who deserve to be treated with more respect and agency than that. I personally have a deep-seeded fear of being the Black Woman (TM) affirmative action hire, because that comes with the implication that I am comparatively incompetent and interchangeable with other black women. And I like being an individual human who is competent, so any indication that I’m not that doesn’t do great things for my self-esteem.

“Affirmative action” has managed to weasel its way right up to the top of the pack alongside terms like “social justice” and “diversity”–you know, the things that you are in no way allowed to point out the flaws or inconsistencies in the application of at all without being deemed a racist bigot with a contempt for minorities. I have been, still am, and probably will until the end of time be called an Uncle Tom for being against race-based affirmative action because being in favor of race-based affirmative action is seen as synonymous with not being racist. So I’m going to make a handy list of logical, non-bigoted reasons that you can be against race-based affirmative action for you to consult.

1.) It is outdated and doesn’t reflect modern-day issues or disparities.

For some background, the Supreme Court (under the Obama administration) ruled that race-based affirmative action was all well and good back in 2016. The Bush-era administration discouraged the practice but didn’t do anything to actively confront it, for the most part. Affirmative action, in some form, has existed, though, since the mid-1960s after LBJ signed an executive order requiring state/federal sectors to actively hire more minorities in an attempt to combat the systematic racism that remained after integration. Most colleges and universities followed suit by the early 1970s with their own affirmative action policies.

Affirmative action has existed in a liminal zone wherein the courts have outlawed racial quotas but have allowed universities to “consider race in admissions” in a vaguer sense. The inherent gray area with that allowance, combined with more blatant racial quotas (wherein they had an minimum/maximum percentage of insert race here students that needed to be sent acceptance letters every year) that resulted in many California universities rescinding the policy in the wake of the backlash, has contributed to the continued controversy.

A very important note that many people do not make is that affirmative action was never intended to be permanent. It was first instituted in a time where integration was a new thing that many places and people fought tooth and nail against. LBJ saying that integration was a thing did not magically make systematic barriers to integration go away. The feds requiring a previously all-white company to start accepting applications from black people resulted in little more than those companies taking the applications because they had to . . and throwing them away immediately, under the pretense that the black applicants weren’t qualified. Affirmative action was instituted to stop that practice: People who would have been considered qualified had they been white were being rejected largely because the world wasn’t used to Jim Crow laws being gone. Affirmative action was intended as a temporary but necessary measure to help the first generation of minorities in an integrated United States get their foot in the door in an environment that, just a year ago, systematically and legally discriminated against them even if they were well-qualified and able.

The problem was that it didn’t go away even after achieving the foot-in-the-door goal that was originally set for it. Affirmative action, like 60s-era welfare, was turned into a highly symbolic political issue. Welfare was considered pseudo-reparations to the black community, and affirmative action grew to be seen in much the same way. It grew to be seen as something the black community was entitled to, which meant rescinding it after 10 years as planned was a no-go. Then, throughout the 80s and 90s, with racism retreating more and more, affirmative action changed connotations. It went from “qualified black people need help getting their foot in the door” to “under-qualified black people are under-qualified because they’re black, so they need help getting their foot in the door too.”

You can see where there started to be a problem. Affirmative action was a policy designed for a very specific purpose at a very specific time. And even if you think we should have something like it–which I do, by the way–affirmative action in its current form is just not how we should be dealing with education gap issues in 2018. Our problems are different. The causes of those problems are different. The people being negatively impacted by those problems are different. Using a policy that has gone largely unchanged since its conception in the 60s to deal with the constantly fluctuating issue that is the education system is not a good idea.

For instance, women are still considered a minority under most affirmative action standards even though women, in 2018, make up more than half of all college students and are graduating both college and high school far more than men (who’s retention rates for high school in particular have been plummeting since the early 2000s). Black women are one of the most educated demographics in the United States (largely thanks to nursing programs), and that’s just not even mentioned whenever you bring up “statistically under-educated demographics.” Asian Americans are so well-qualified that affirmative action policies have actually backfired on them. White male literacy rates are plummeting to the point where there are almost as many illiterate white guys as there are ESL speakers, and yet white men are still considered the standard of education to which all other groups must be leveled up to.

Affirmative action, how it is now, does not reflect any of those things. So even if you support it, you should be in favor of huge sweeping reforms that make it a policy that actually reflects the demographic disparities we have now.

2.) It doesn’t do what it says it does.

I’m just going to pull some quotes from the linked article to get across the motivation of those who support affirmative action without paraphrasing.

“[It] involves favouring minorities during the admissions process in order to promote campus diversity . . .”

“Learning environments comprised of students from diverse backgrounds provide an enhanced educational experience for individual students . . . by choosing to create this kind of rich academic environment, educational institutions help students sharpen their critical thinking and analytical skills.”

” . . .  encourage diversity [by] granting admission preferences to students from certain schools based on demographics and considering a student’s race ‘among other factors in its admissions procedures’.”

Fun fact: Black and Latino retention rates at universities that proudly wave the affirmative action flag suck. Affirmative action’s way of “encouraging diversity” is to  screw over black and Latino kids by letting them into programs that they’re under-qualified for, that they then do poorly in grades-wise and drop out of after two years–a huge dark spot on anyone’s academic reputation. Call me crazy, but I don’t think having a bunch of brown kids there for half the time as everyone else, who don’t even get a degree out of it, and who are now faced with the new roadblock of having to explain their educational failings to potential employers and other universities is a good thing. I don’t think that helps diversify that campus’ portfolio. And, more importantly, I don’t think that helps the minority students that affirmative action claims to be helping.

Now, I agree that having students from diverse backgrounds and experiences actually does contribute to a more dynamic learning environment. But how is setting someone up for highly probable failure a nice thing to do? How is that the liberal position? This is like giving a dog chocolate because Spot saw you eating food and looked sad, and you felt mean for not giving him something, so you gave him a piece of chocolate to make him happy. No, bitch, dogs can’t eat chocolate. You’re not a nice person for giving Spot food that will make him sick because he looked sad about not getting a treat.

This is not me calling black kids dumb. The retention rates of minority students at places like UCLA who got admitted without affirmative action policies are just as good as everyone else’s. But when your policy to “improve diversity” is one that is so obviously lowering the bar for some people, even though that bar is at that height for a reason, you are doing nothing but hurting them in the short and long term. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

I went to a liberal arts college. It was overtly in favor of affirmative action. It tried really fucking hard to have the “diversity” that enhanced people’s educational experience so much. Guess what it didn’t offer? Help. It was real interested in letting ya in so they can put that Racial Demographics pie chart on the internet for progressives to nod their heads approvingly at, but it wasn’t too keen on addressing the educational background disparities once people actually got there. Speaking of that . . .

3.) It doesn’t help.

Affirmative action is, and has always been, a band-aid. That’s why it wasn’t supposed to last forever. That’s why it’s so unintuitively unhelpful toward the “diversity” goal. It’s there to fix the symptom of a problem. And it fixes it poorly, to boot (I refer you to the “flunking out after sophomore year” part above). To put it very simply: Affirmative action at the university level is coming in too late to do any good. It’s there to try to account for educational disparities that start in pre-K by dealing with the aftermath of that 18 years down the line.

The damage has already been done. The black kid from Compton got a shitty public inner-city school education where getting all As means close to nothing because the educational standards are so low. The “standardized” classes are little more than teach-to-the-test courses designed to evaluate the teachers more than the students, that don’t stimulate the critical inquiry skills needed for higher education whatsoever and that don’t account for that shitty school’s limited resources. The standardized testing game needed to get into most universities is an economically exploitative racket run by two major corporate oligarchs that charge hundreds of dollars for the SAT and hundreds of dollars for the resources to study for it. And that information about fee waivers is buried so fucking deep that the only kids who’d be able to find it are the ones who are studying on their own anyway, because it’s not like Division B 121 George Washington Carver High is giving them any test prep, optional or otherwise.

That’s all totally ignoring the culture of most low-income high schools in both city and rural environments that utterly shits all over academic achievement and has non-existent encouragement from the burnt-out teachers and faculty.

Saying that you’re “going to get more brown kids into college” by coming in during the third act of that clusterfuck and ushering them into an academic environment that they are not prepared for doesn’t help, believe it or not. If you want to address educational disparities, start doing more university outreach to low-income areas. Support college access centers that provide guidance and study help that kids won’t get from their families, schools, or peers. Provide mentorship in the form of something other than an exploitative charter school. Hell, get over this 90s mentality that every kid needs to go to a four-year college and start giving them information about lucrative 2-year degrees and trade schools.

In short: affirmative action is a really shoddy band-aid that only makes the bone-deep problem worse by perpetuating a cycle of underachievement and lowered academic standards. I know a lot of people who support affirmative action also support those things I listed above, but they don’t seem to ever make the connection that affirmative action is actively making their goal harder to reach.

4.) It’s like class-based affirmative action, but less helpful and more racist.

I’m not totally against affirmative action as a concept. There are very commonly occurring extenuating circumstances that I believe actually should be taken into account by universities. A smart kid being hindered by some perpetual illness or sudden injury deserves some leeway. A smart kid who’s grades took a hit after his dad died in the middle of his junior year deserves some leeway. A smart kid who just has the misfortune of growing up in a shitty place with limited academic and extracurricular opportunities deserves some leeway. And yes, this comes with the aforementioned problem of someone going into a university unprepared. In my ideal world where affirmative action gets its much-needed reboot, there would actually be measures taken by colleges and universities to help the kids who got screwed over by life circumstances out of their control play catch-up and get to where they need to be. It would still be a band-aid to temporarily address much larger problems than college admissions pie charts.

You know what problems my version of affirmative action wouldn’t have, though? It wouldn’t be racially discriminatory. It wouldn’t mark an exceptionally qualified Asian kid lower on personality and likability (whatever the fuck that means) just as an excuse to reject her. It wouldn’t look at a kid with the name Samari and automatically assume that the standards would have to be lowered for him. It wouldn’t presuppose hardship and adversity where there was none just because the kid was brown, or presuppose comfort and easy access to resources even if the white kid was from rural impoverished Arkansas.

It would actually be about more than the easy racial demographics that you can point to and brag about “being diverse” because you had a 25% admissions cap on Asians and a 10% minimum on admission for black kids. It would actually be about addressing real, confirmed adversity on an individual basis and not just pre-supposing that Keisha, the girl with two professor parents from the nice part of Palo Alto, must be disadvantaged somehow, so she gets a pass for comparatively lower grades. And it would still apply to that poor kid from Compton who deserved a better high school education, too. It just wouldn’t be something that gets you sued for being racists. That’s a win/win, isn’t it?

Oh, who am I kidding, armchair progressives could give two shits about poor people.

100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color: A Response

So, this article has been floating around. And I’ve been dead for a while, so why not spend two hours writing responses to this nonsense in the hopes that some white guilt-ridden 20-something will stumble across this instead and maybe not be riddled with self-hatred. Don’t worry, man, I’m a black woman. You can listen to my dissenting opinion without feeling dirty.


 

As someone with very low tolerance for racist bullshit, I’ve managed to surround myself with white people who are cognizant of their privilege and strive to make the world a less terrifying and frustrating place for people of color. This means that I often deal with said white people asking me what they can actually do to affect change.

You’d think someone with a low tolerance for racist bullshit would know when they were being unduly prejudiced against a group based upon race, but that observation skill is a one-way mirror, apparently.  That second part sounds really fucking awful. How low does your self-esteem have to be for your preferable company to be comprised of people who suck your metaphorical dick and think you’re wise and inspirational just for existing with a skin tone?

“What can we do, Vice journalist Kesiena Boom, to make your life more beautiful? What knowledge do you have to bless us lowly melanin-deficient scum with today?! Truly, just a spark of that raging inferno of insight existing within you would be enough to make my meager body alight with righteousness!”

So here, anxious allies of the world, are 100 simple ways to be the change. It’s not nearly comprehensive, but it’s somewhere to start. Go forth and disrupt our harmful racial paradigm!

When you have to describe your own allies as anxious because they’re so openly scared of doing something wrong around you, you’re probably a shitty ally to them. I guess I’m just in the wrong for thinking that allyship was supposed to be a two-way street. “Yes, go forth and disrupt the harmful racial paradigm!” said the person who divides the world into White People and Other as a means of determining who gets what treatment and who gets certain rules applied to them. That’s not a paradigm at all!


 

1. Just because you can’t see racism around you doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Trust people of color’s assessment of a situation.

How can this not just as easily be applied to white people saying that they’ve experience racial discrimination? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. You have to trust their assessment and their unique perspective.

We don’t do this for anyone else. If Kathy was abandoned by her dad at age 10 and then goes on to have abandonment issues with every guy she dates, we don’t then take Kathy’s word for it when she says her new boyfriend Dan not picking up his phone immediately when she calls him means he’s a cheating scumbag. That’s Kathy’s honest assessment of the situation, but it can be wrong, you know? Kathy having bad experiences in the past doesn’t mean she’s right on the money every time she thinks that’s what’s happening. People get that. But a POC maybe being mistaken about the racial overtones of an interaction or an event? Heavens no! There’s no need to ask any questions or require any clarifications when a black person thinks racism is afoot!

2. Don’t assume that all people of color share the same views. We are not a monolith.

Said the person who compiled a list of things that apparently all POC want all white people to do.

Said the person who also likes surrounding herself with white people who treat her as the voice of black opinion and black wokeness.

3. Don’t assume or guess people’s races. This is NOT a fun game for us.

Speak for yourself. I have a Racially Ambiguous Bingo game going. I just need to wear a headscarf for like a day, then I’ll sweep the fucking board! No one shall defeat me! Quick question: Are POC also not allowed to guess people’s races, or is this just a rule white people have to follow?

I also want to point out that one number down from “We are not a monolith” is this author using the royal Us to refer to the opinion of an entire group of people. An opinion that this brown person doesn’t agree with, shock of all shocks. It’s almost like claims of not being a monolith only apply to opinions she doesn’t mind brown people differing on. All the important stuff–like how annoying those white bastards are–is something we can all agree on.

4. If someone tells you they’re from Uganda, don’t say, “I went to Nigeria once!” Just, please.

Don’t ever leave the United States, hon. You’ll get a lot of “You’re from Tennessee! I went to California once!” conversation starters. International ignorance is not just a white people thing.

5. Related: Don’t refer to Africa as a country. It’s a continent and it’s wildly varied. Yes. Take a moment.

Who does this besides people who are stupid and don’t know the difference between countries and continents? Also, once again, don’t ever leave the United States. The USA and its culture is alternatively “Texas” or “New York City” and nothing else as far as most people abroad are concerned. It’s almost like people who aren’t from a place and who have no practical reason to know the slightest amount of information about it are prone to over-generalization or something. Hey, Kesiena, tell me about all the varied cultures and goings on of the UK. It’s an island made up of very separate and distinctive peoples, you know?

6. Oh, and rest assured that literally no person of color ever wants you to get back from holiday, show off your tan and excitedly exclaim, “Look, I’m almost as dark as you!” Cease and desist.

You know, I was expecting this list of Things That Would Make My Life Easier to be a little more substantive. I guess not having to spend two seconds hearing a stupid joke doesn’t not not make my life less frustrating.

7. Don’t assume that a person of color knows everything about their country of heritage. Do you know everything there is to know about America? Germany? Sweden? That’s what I thought.

But you’re being low-key oppressive if you don’t know enough about the geography of countries you have no connection to, whitey! Break out that Atlas and get to studying that basic knowledge your American public school education denied you or you’re raaaaaaaacist.

8. Don’t assume we can run if we’re Black, do math if we’re Asian, have drinking problems if we’re indigenous…

DO assume that we’re all oppressed and unhappy, though. Also, assuming that someone is racist because they’re white is fine. Stereotypes are fun.

9. Regard us as autonomous, unique individuals, not as representatives of our race.

I refer you to my response to Point Number 2.

10. Don’t make embarrassing jokes to try and be “down” with people of color. We’ll laugh at you, not with you.

Embarrassing jokes are lame on their own, not white people making embarrassing jokes specifically. What, is an Asian kid allowed to be cringey as fuck without you putting his cringe on a list of things that make your life hard? What’s with the unnecessary racial delineations?

11. Don’t rinse our culturally specific memes. They’re ours. Go enjoy that weird one about the plums.

Aw, cultural appropriation. The “Get off my lawn!” of sociology. Segregating cultures is great. Separate but equal, right?

12. If you’re at my house party, don’t turn off the Weeknd to put on Arctic Monkeys. (Okay this one is very specific but it happened to me once and I’m not over it. The audacity!)

I love the Arctic Monkeys. They brought back garage rock in a time that desperately needed it. Way to assume that no brown person likes garage rock, Kesiena, ya racist. Just for that, I’m going to listen to Suck It And See for the rest of this writing sesh.

The Weeknd is amazing when he’s channeling the 80s and just really boring when he does anything else.

13. Avoid phrases like “But I have a Black friend! I can’t be racist!” You know that’s BS as well as we do.

Aw, Kesiena, that probably broke all your sycophantic white friends’ hearts.

14. When you endlessly complain about how terrible white people are, you are being that terrible white person. Jeez.

Wow. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t here, isn’t it? “Why can’t white people be more openly cognizant of how bad they are? What, this white person is being openly cognizant of how bad white people are! Aren’t they just the worst.”

This is why Trump won.

15. Don’t say shit like, “I know what it’s like to be a person of color…I’m a ginger!”

HEY. That’s their word.

16. Don’t question someone’s Blackness if they’re light-skinned. It’s not your place. Other Black people can make sure that light-skinned Black people are cognizant of their privilege.

So they’re not even allowed to tell a privileged person to check their privilege if the person in question is slightly tanner than them? The fact that any white people support this movement where they’re seen as a perpetual nuisance even if they do everything you want them to is amazing to me. The amount of self-hatred rivals Kesiena’s self-esteem issues.

I love how this reasoning is pretty much: “Only Black people can question other Black people’s Blackness, not you!”

17. Never try and tell a person of color what is or isn’t racist.

“That cop who gave me a ticket for punting a toddler through a plate glass window was being racist!”

“DeAndre, I don’t think getting a ticket when you’re actually doing something wrong is rac–.”

“HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME.”

18. When you find instances of racist bullshit online, please don’t send it to us. We know racism exists, thanks.

But if you don’t do what you can to spread the word about racist occurrences, you’re being a bad ally.

19. Read something already written about it rather than coming to your friends/acquaintances of color looking for hot takes on anything and everything appropriative a Kardashian/Miley Cyrus does. We don’t wanna think about this shit 24/7!

Holy shit! The Kardashians are vaguely brown, and this article mentions them as people who can do wrong! Oh brave wonders! I have serious trouble believing that you don’t want to think about this shit 24/7. This is like a Buzzfeed writer saying they don’t want to think about things only 90s kids remember 24/7. I don’t believe you.

20. Understand that some days are even more mentally exhausting for people of color thanks to the news cycle. Try not to badger us for our opinions on the latest atrocity that has occurred. Leave us to grieve.

$20 bucks says the next point is about how you’re racist if you don’t want their opinion on the matter.

21. But when we do have something to say about it, listen.

BOOM.

22. Share articles relating to the everyday experiences of race and racism written by people of color.

But I thought they weren’t supposed to share racism-related things with you because you knew already? Did you just forget writing that point?

23. But don’t be that person who is weird and sycophantic and loves to demonstrate their wokeness constantly to the people of color around them. Be thoughtful.

I refer you to the preamble of this piece, wherein Kesiena says she only hangs out with white people who frequently go to her as a source of wokeness.

You have to openly care about the trials of POC and support us and empower us. But not too much, because then you’re a sycophant, and that’s laaaaaame.

“‘Oh, what the hell,’ she said. ‘I just can’t win for losing.’ And she laid back down . . .” Oh my God, I’m a brown person who just quoted an early 2000s Rob Thomas song. That probably gave Kesiena an minor stroke.

24. Read books by people of color. I recommend Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and literally everything that Junot Diaz writes for great insights into Blackness.

I believe I’ve said this before, but I’m a black writer. Don’t read my works just because I’m black, you patronizing, condescending assholes. Read my books because they’re interesting to you, or not at all. Soapbox: Done.

25. Watch shows that are created by people of color i.e. Atlanta or Insecure. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen Atlanta, you need to watch it. Now.)

Ew. Now I feel dirty for liking a show that this person likes. I guess I’ll edit this point to be more appropriate.

25. Watch shows that are created by talented people i. e. Atlanta on FXX or Happy! on Syfy (where Elliot Stabler and a unicorn voiced by Patton Oswalt hunt for serial killers on Christmas).

26. Have a critical eye when watching TV and movies. How are they portraying people of color and why? What purpose does it serve?

I bet you’re the kind of person who wonders why black people don’t get cast more. Hint: They’re not going to hire someone who is perpetually followed around by think pieces attacking the career and moral character of everyone involved.

27. If you go to an art gallery, notice how many works are by people of color. If it’s lacking, make some noise, send an email, query the curator. White people shouldn’t have a monopoly on what can be considered art.

Fuck appreciating the art that’s actually there! It was made by whiiiiite people *hiiiiiiiiisssss*

How would you even do this? I have a pretty white-sounding given name, so how would you even be able to tell that I was indeed an artist of a more acceptable skin tone when all you have is the art and my name attached to it? I guess that would force you to judge the value and merit of something based on its actual content and not the skin tone of who made it, though. Must be hard.

28. If a character you assumed was white in a book is portrayed by an actor of color in the movie, embrace it. Whiteness is not the default.

Unless that character explicitly was white, in which case they were race-lifted for no reason, but that’s still also okay, because diversity.

Hey, Kesiena, can we do an American remake of a K-drama and recast them as non-Asian? Is that okay? Korean is not the default, after all. Is it okay as long as they’re recast as non-Asian but also non-white? If so, you have a double standard on your hands that bears addressing.

29. Support plays written by and acted in by people of color. The world of theater is overwhelmingly white.

“Support plays written by and acted in by white people. The world of theater is overwhelmingly black.”

“Support films written by and acted in by black people. The world of film is overwhelmingly Jewish.”

“Support book written and published by men. The world of literature is overwhelmingly female.”

“Support films written and acted in by conservatives. The world of film is overwhelmingly liberal.”

“Support hip-hop written and produced by Jews. The world of rap is overwhelmingly black.”

“Support cartoons written and published by white people. The world of animation is overwhelmingly Asian.”

Which of these are problematic, and which aren’t? $50 goes to the winner!

30. Refuse to go to club nights or drag shows or burlesque nights that use culturally appropriative acts.

How dare those places try to be interesting by putting other cultures into the act! Don’t they know cultures are supposed to stay separate and unchanged by outside influence or incorporation–there have been multiple points on that topic by now!

This is also very indicative of the kind of crowd Kesiena is going for. Hey, working class father of four living off of food stamps and still struggling to make ends meet after the power company laid off 200 workers from your sector, stop going to drag shows where Trina Fabulous wears a kimono in one dance number.

31. If you have kids, buy them dolls of color and books with characters of color.

What if the kids don’t want those? If they want those things, sure, buy them. But am I just weird for being under the impression that you ask kids what items they want before you get them? I guess you can awkwardly force your racial views into Christmas gifts if you want, but that makes you a cringey parent.

32. Support crowdfunding campaigns for cultural products created by people of color if you can.

What if it’s a person of color who isn’t making a cultural product? Can they just go fuck off? What if it’s a cultural product made by someone who isn’t a person of color? Well, I already know what you think about that. Appropriation REEEEEEEEEEEEE.

33. Donate money to grassroots movements around you that are run by and support people of color.

This is actually a really fucked up point, the more you think about it. By all means, donate to local grassroots movements that do good work in your area. They could usually use the help. But why are you relegating them to movements run by non-white people/only helping non-white people?

Yeah, I know you started up a literacy program to fight this county’s staggering drop-out and illiteracy rates, but you’re a white guy, so . . .

Yeah, sure, you started up a food program to help impoverished children have lunch in the summer time when food stamps aren’t enough to provide more than two meals a day, but you’re helping mainly white kids, so . . .

That’s fucked up, Kesiena.

34. Support small businesses owned by people of color.

That struggling small business down the street floundering in its attempts to compete with mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart, though? Are they white? FUCK ‘EM.

35. If you’re upper or middle class try to avoid moving into an area that has historically been populated by low-income people of color. Gentrification tears communities apart.

They can move into areas that have been historically populated by low-income white people, though. That gentrification is fine. No white people got priced out of Nashville or Albuquerque once the hipsters started moving in.

36. Don’t assume people of color can’t speak English.

If you’re one of those liberals who thinks we should have open boarders and no language-learning requirements (as I can only assume you are), you can’t also get pissed off by people assuming that someone who looks and sounds like they’re from Mexico maybe doesn’t speak English.

37. But also be patient if our English isn’t perfect. Are you bi/tri/multi-lingual? Probably not. It’s hard.

Hey! A point I actually agree with! One for thirty-seven, I guess.

38. In general, just don’t assume we want to be white or want to assimilate. And don’t pressure us to do so.

This is just a double standard. I think Dan Harmon’s Community explained it best: Why does X have to accommodate and support Y being special and different, otherwise X is a bad person, but Y doesn’t have to do anything to accommodate the feelings and comfort level of X in return?

39. Recognize that you can’t assume someone’s religion based on how they look. Not all South Asians and Middle Eastern people are Muslims, not all Black people are Christian, not all East Asian people are Buddhist. You get the idea.

Hey! Another point I agree with! And so close to the other one, too, We’re on a roll, Kesiena!

40. Remember that not all people of color are straight.

Hey, we’re getting into the intersectionality clusterfuck now! Who wants to bet the next point is one that totally ignores the comparatively higher levels of homophobia/transphobia found in racial and ethnic sub-communities such as African Americans?

41. Remember that people of color are not inherently more homophobic than white people.

Called it!

42. People can be Black and gay and disabled and trans and middle class. Blackness is expansive. It doesn’t look one way. Keep this in mind.

Blackness is expansive! It encompasses all the disabilities! *laughs hysterically*

 

43. When we talk about race, we’re not just talking about men! Repeat after me: Intersections of race and gender exist.

I am a strong, independent black woman who don’t need no man. Mmmmm hhmmm.

Hey, Kesiena, you want to talk about how almost 99% of black people killed by cops are men? Men’s rights? What’s that?!

44. Remember that it is Black women and Native women and mixed race women who are most likely to be raped in their lifetimes in America. You cannot be an advocate against sexual violence without considering the impact of race.

I . . . think you can, but okay. Needlessly racializing rape like that’s going to improve local police department funding for rape kits seems like you’re losing track of the plot, but you do you, boo.

45. Don’t ask Black women if it’s our “real hair.” And don’t judge Black women for wearing wigs or weaves or having relaxers.

But they’re appropriating Europe and Asia, Kesiena. How dare they. Why can’t people ask us if it’s our real hair? People aren’t allowed to ask benign questions about hair care now? Also, way to juxtapose women being raped with . . . being slightly annoyed about questions about hair texture. Those are equivalent.

46. Don’t touch our fucking hair.

I’m starting to believe that this doesn’t actually happen that much outside of the lunch line in elementary school. I lived in Japan for a while. People were way more interested in touching my hair over there. Were they being racist? Or does their Asian-ness save them?

47. If you have a Black girlfriend, please make sure that your shower is always adequately stocked with conditioner. Never that 2-in-1 stuff!!! We beg you.

This list is really furthering the stereotype that the only ones obsessed with black women’s hair is black women. A disproportionate amount of this list as been dedicated to the topic.

48. Never try and pull any uninvited “race play” shit in the bedroom. Seriously, what the fuck?

Lol. What?

Lequisha and her boyfriend Kevin are getting hot and heavy. Lequisha is into it until Kevin breaks out the early-1990s-def-jam-comedy voice and has to pay $200 and go back to start. Why are you kink shaming people? For shame.

49. Actively try to identify and unsubscribe from orientalist tropes i.e. believing that East Asian women are naturally more submissive or docile. People of color are people, not characters.

Black people can believe the Love You Long Time stereotype all they want, though. It’s not racist because reasons.

50. If you call a woman of color “exotic,” you deserve to stub your toe every day for a year. Do. Not. Do. This.

What if she is, though? “Exotic” is a relative term. If you’re a white guy from Minnesota, a Latina from the Bronx is going to be exotic. I guess if she’s exactly like you culturally and behaviorally but is just a brown chick, calling her “exotic” then has uncomfortable racial undertones, but that’s a more specific situation. GASP nuance.

51. Also, saying “I’ve never fucked a Black/Asian/Native etc. person” to someone you’re trying to hook up with is a one way ticket to hell.

I guess I agree with this one. This is yet another example of this writer telling people not to be cringe as fuck in their interactions with other humans like being cringey is somehow a trait owned by the white race.

52. If you have such fetishistic thoughts, just don’t even bother coming near a person of color.

Find us attractive! Women of color are beautiful! Not finding us attractive is a sign of inherent racial bias!

If you’re attracted to us because you think our race is an attractive physical feature, you’re wrong and raaaaaaaaaaaacist.

53. Remember that having mixed race children is not a cure for racism or a way to live out weird racial fantasies.

Here’s a tip for helping your movement grow, Kesiena. Maybe don’t tell mixed race people such as myself that our parents are still secretly racist and awful. It doesn’t endear me to you or your cause, believe it or not.

54. If you’re trying to start a mixed raced family, sit down and deeply interrogate your intentions.

What the fuck is wrong with you?! “Deeply interrogate your intentions,” as if people wanting to have kids with their significant other have some nefarious, selfish ulterior motive about proving how non-racist they are. This just goes to show the kind of bubble Kesiena and the people she is writing to live in: Only the guilt-ridden, white Bay Area liberal would be someone who you actually feel the need to tell, “Hey, don’t invest the entirety of your adult life to another human being to the point of starting a family with them just as a way of proving how WOKE you are.”

Something tells me we’re going to get into the parts of this list that actively anger me.

55. If you do have mixed race children, make sure that they have access to people who look like them and who understand their experiences.

Kesiena, I’m going to tell you this as a brown-skinned mixed raced woman: My parents trying to force this was one of the most annoying and alienating aspects of my childhood. My mother is white and my father is black. I do not know my father. My white mother and her mother raised me. Them forcing me to hang out with other black people–for your exact reasoning of me “needing” to be around people who looked like me and understood my experiences–fucking sucked. Because I was a nerd and an atheist, and–shock of all shocks–I didn’t really enjoy the time I spent around my strictly Southern Baptist black “cousins” who made fun of me for liking books. It’s almost like personalities and compatibility of interests matter more to compatibility than race or something.

My best friend for the entirety of elementary school was a black girl. I hung out with her and her family because I liked them as individual people. We became friends the first day of kindergarten because I liked her and she liked me, not because my parents forced me to go hang out with one of the other black kids because “I needed to.”

If a mixed race kid wants to know more about their ethnic heritage and wants to be around people of either/both of their backgrounds to be more in touch with that part of their identity, go right on ahead. But forcing that on them as something that’s necessary for their development does not help–it arbitrarily boxes them into a category that they don’t even fully fit into, all whilst making them believe that it’s incredibly important that they identify with something that they may or may not even care about, and is a really fast way to give them a complex about “not being X enough.”

56. If you have a partner of color or children of color, trust and believe that you can still be racist. You’re not exempt. If anything, you have even more of a duty to examine your behavior for the benefit of your loved ones.

You see? This is why people shouldn’t date interracially! And why they definitely shouldn’t have interracial marriages or mixed race kids. Why don’t the whites just stick with the whites and leaves us colored folks to ourselves so we don’t have to deal with ya’lls awfulness.

57. Take your racist family members to task for the shit they say over the dinner table or via social media.

Yes, do encourage more one-sided social media stratification and familial alienation. That’ll do wonders for our generation’s plummeting mental health.

58. Confront your colleagues who say racist shit unchecked at work.

Don’t do it too much, though! You don’t want to be one of those white people, ya know what I mean? Seriously, it’s the same list. You can’t even be consistent within the same list.

59. Look around your workplace—are the only people of color cleaners or assistants? What can you do to change that? (The answer is almost never “nothing.”)

Yeah, pull some Inverse Magical Negro shit and use your white power to get the black janitor a job as the new company CFO. Mighty Whitey to the rescue, here to insist that the boss bring in more of the colored folk. Note to whomever’s reading this: Please don’t ever put me in the super awkward position of being the one person everyone knows is only there because Craig from accounting kept bitching about how we need an affirmative action hire.

60. If someone asks you to fill a role that you think a person of color would be better suited for, recommend a talented person of color who you know and forego the position yourself.

So literally, “deny yourself individual progress for the sake of my individual progress.” Okay. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that no one with anything resembling ambition and life goals is going to take that advice.

61. Don’t make us be the de facto diversity guy at work. Or at least pay us extra to do the labor of diversifying the workplace.

What?! You want to be paid extra literally for existing whilst not white? That won’t cause any racial tension or resentment among the staff at all!

And you wonder why conservatives accuse you of always asking for handouts.

62. Refuse to speak on an all-white panel. Regardless of the topic.

That’s racist as fuck. Talent and knowledge are not dependent on or mitigated by skin tone. To say otherwise is to essentially treat minorities and white people as interchangeable entities worth nothing on their individual merit and achievements, only deriving value from their unchangeable and mutual demographic attributes. It doesn’t matter how qualified two white people are–they’re both white and are therefore interchangeable. It doesn’t matter how qualified two black people are–they are both black and therefore interchangeable. We only need them for their skin tone. #Problematic.

Moving on.

63. If there are only a couple of people of color in your seminar, don’t weirdly stare at them when the lecturer poses questions about race and expect them to answer everything.

This would probably happen way less often if people like you stopped making every conversation that mentions race awkward as fuck to the point where there’s nothing to do but defer to the non-white person as the only human in the room whose opinion is safe.

64. If you’re in charge of making curricula, make sure there is work by people of color, especially women of color, on the reading list. And not just in the weeks dedicated to race.

Tokenize your curricula, guys! Remember: all women of color are interchangeable, just make sure you have enough of them at any given time! How many white people are making curricula anyway? Who is this for besides guilt-ridden members of leftists academia at this point? That’s a really hyper-specific sub-group in no way encompassing all white people.

65. Commission people of color to make work about race.

I’ll commission whatever the fuck I want, and so can white people.

66. Commission people of color to make work that has nothing to do with race.

Nah, you ruined it with that first point. It’s made overwhelmingly obvious that you only care about 65.

67. Don’t say things like “there are two sides to every story!” or play devil’s advocate when it comes to conversations about race.

Say it with me, folks.

This is why Trump won!
We don’t need to hear what anyone else thinks! They’re just bad. Acknowledging that different perspectives exists? Shut up!

68. In those situations, just listen.

Can a non-white person play devil’s advocate? Will you listen to the life stories and opinions of people you’re not morally obligated to care about then?

69. It’s never useful to say stuff like, “But what about the white working class!!!” Have you thought about non-white working class people’s needs?

I hope you don’t call yourself a communist or a democratic socialist or whatever, because that’s some bullshit. FUCK poor people if their race makes them someone I don’t feel like caring about!

And you wonder why poor white people don’t like liberals? How about the fact that you literally just said you don’t care about their very real, tangible problems because another group you’ve deemed more worthy of empathy and compassion is also poor sometimes?

You can fuck right the fuck off with that.

70. Don’t? Vote? For? Racist? Politicians? Can’t believe I need to say this one but it seems like possibly, maybe, some of y’all did not get this memo.

Tell that to the majority black populace of Atlanta or Newark who vote in black politicians who routinely and overtly fuck them over, but that’s apparently okay because “representation.”

71. Research your candidates. Who has progressive policies that won’t needlessly criminalize people of color? Vote for them.

Yeah, I know Jill Stein was a science denying anti-vaxer who thought homeopathic remedies should be used to treat polio. But at least she wanted to legalized weed! Give her your vote!

72. Remember that Black women are not here to save you from yourselves. You’ve gotta put in the work, too.

What?

73. Be cognizant of how your whiteness could be weaponized against Black people. i.e. white women, don’t play into stereotypes about Black men being inherently threatening to you. It gets Black men killed. See: Emmett Till.

This causes some Oppression Olympics issues. Women are apparently perfectly justified in being paranoid about men and the inherent danger of them and their toxic masculinity, and rape culture, and whatnot. But a situation that this author would probably lift up as the true lived experience of women if it was just non-specific women being afraid of non-specific men is now bad because it’s a white woman being afraid of black men.

74. Use your white privilege to be on the frontline between people of color and the police at protests. You’re at much less risk than us.

So . . . If Keith takes a truncheon to the face and fractures his skull, what did his white privilege do for him, again? Also, way to ask people to be human shields for you, that’s not borderline-sociopathic or anything.

75. Record police encounters you see involving Black people.

And when you record that the overwhelming majority of them go fine, don’t tell anyone, because that would ruin the narrative we’ve got going on.

76. Share alerts when ICE is planning a raid.

Do white people get texts from ICE with their weekly memo or something? How are white people supposed to know this?

77. Stand up to Islamophobia wherever you see it.

Hey, Hassim should be able to behead all the atheists and roof-throw all the gays that he sees fit! If you think him doing those things is bad, you’re being raaaaacist.

78. If you have ever thought a phrase like “Black lives matter” is too assertive, consider why you’re so uncomfortable with Black people standing up for our humanity.

It’s not too assertive. It’s not assertive enough. Go here for my reasoning. I’m not explaining that shit again.

79. Listen when Black people say, “I’m not comfortable in this situation.” You’ve seen Get Out, haven’t you?

Yes, I have seen the fictional thriller movie about white people stealing your body to use as a puppet to be young and hip. You realize that movie was an intentional exaggeration playing on paranoia, right? The juxtaposition of that film and real life is that in real life, most white people don’t have any malicious intent in their uncomfortable awkwardness, but the film is playing up the paranoia that they do. This is literally just another point telling people not to be cringe. I get it!

80. If you haven’t seen Get Out, watch Get Out. Understand that the everyday horror is real.

Yes, the everyday horror of hanging around awkward liberal white people trying to prove how not racist they are by being overly hip and indulging in positive stereotyping that may or may not be accurate. The horror. I feel bad for Jordan Peele. His relatively impressive directorial debut is going to be used as a think piece for lazy sociology majors for the rest of his life instead of being appreciated as an actual film.

81. Question whether you have double standards when it comes to drugs. Do you think it’s cool when white weed entrepreneurs make tons of money but think that Black people who are found to have traces of marijuana in their systems deserve to be thrown in prison?

Sure. This seems more like a class thing than a race thing–looking at you rich liberal arts college kids who openly do coke in your dorm on the rich side of town with no repercussions, while your janitor’s son just got thrown in prison for smoking weed two neighborhoods over. But who am I kidding, we already know this author doesn’t give two shits about class divides.

82. Don’t have dreadlocks if you’re not Black, just don’t. Beyond being offensive, it’s just not suited to your hair type. Do literally anything else with your hair.

Hmmm, what should I talk about after I address the horrifying reality of the American prison industrial complex? I know! I’ll tell people what hairstyles they are or are not allowed to have based off of race. Those are of equal impact and importance. I in no way cheapened the relevance of unjust drug enforcement by likening it to people wearing hair I don’t like.

83. Don’t refer to things as your “spirit animal” if you’re not Native. There are other ways to express affinity with something.

Wait a minute . . . didn’t you just say that it’s racist to conflate races/ethnicites with religious beliefs? And here you are a few points down conflating animistic spiritual beliefs with Native Americans, which is some old timey shit that not even most Native Americans alive today subscribe to. Way to go. You did it. I’m proud of you. Inconsistency is your spirit animal.

84. Do not compare the exploitation of animals to racism. Ever. I’m deadly serious.

Oooo, sick vegan buuuuuuurn.

85. I can’t believe I even need to say this in 2018 but here we go: Don’t wear Blackface.

What about tasteful black face?

86. Don’t even think about saying the N word. Even if you’re alone. Even if you’re listening to rap. Even if you’re alone and listening to rap.

Fuck context and human linguistics and the ever-evolving usage of words. That hurts our feelz. How is telling white people what to do when they’re fucking alone something that makes your life less frustrating? Whew, I was having a bad day, but just knowing that Bob down the hall is having his private language policed makes me feel much better.

Edit: This is extremely worrying seeing as how a teenage girl in the UK wound up getting arrested, prosecuted, fined, and given a curfew for the horrible crime of . . . posting rap lyrics written by a black person to her social media page, as a tribute to a deceased friend of hers who loved that particular rap song. It was “grossly offensive” because she was white and the lyrics contained the word nigga. All this talk about how context doesn’t matter is actually fucking dangerous. It’s getting innocent people arrested and punished for no reason.

87. Similarly, don’t use the word “g*psy” or “p*ki” or “r*dskin” or any other racial slur. Even if you’re repeating what someone else said or reading from a text.

Context doesn’t matter! Hey, Kesiena, you just typed all those awful words. Go flagellate yourself for your crime.

88. That includes the word “colored.” “Person of color” and “colored” are not the same. Trust me.

They are. Trust me.

What woman of color are you going to listen to?! OH NO!!!1!!1!11

Seriously, you can’t write three points about how context means fuck all and then say, “Oh, but context matters here, so these essentially identical terms are different now.”

89. Understand that America has what it has because it stole land from indigenous people and stole people from Africa.

Sure. You can say that about literally every other country, just swap around a few racial categories. That’s how societal development worked back in the olden days. You don’t have to like it. That’s how it worked. Go play Civilization. Saudi Arabia was built on the backs of black slaves! That’s past tense. It’s built on the backs South East Asian slaves now. Progress!

90. Care about race on the 364 days that aren’t Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Once MLK Jr. Day comes back around, though, you can give it a one-day breather.

91. Also, don’t whitewash his legacy and use it to argue that Black people should just take what they’re given lying down.

Read: Don’t criticize violent rioting in the streets that mainly harms the very communities this author is trying to protect.

Or I can only assume. That’s usually what this reference means.

92.Think about how race is operating even when people of color aren’t around. Be cognizant of it wherever you are, whichever situation you’re in. People of color have to, so should you.

FEEL GUILTY. FEEL IT.

93. Remember that your queerness/womanhood/transness/class background/disability doesn’t exclude you from white privilege.

‘Dat Oppression Olympics is real.

94. Make your feminism useful to all women rather than calling yourself an ‘intersectional feminist’. Show, don’t tell.

Well, steam-spouting intersectional feminists are annoying, so . . . sure?

95. Don’t assume, full stop, that you can understand what it’s like to experience racism. You can’t. That’s the whole point.

What if they’ve actively experienced racism before? Do they still just not get it?

96. Understand that nothing in your life has been untouched by your whiteness. Everything you have would have been harder to come by if you had not been born white.

Your backbreaking, low-paying, no-union factory job that’s already eaten two of your fingers and blackened your lungs? Easy to get ’cause you’re white. That staggeringly low for the first world literacy rate? Easy to get ’cause you’re white. That skin cancer? Waaaay easier to get ’cause you’re white.

97. Be grateful for the lesson when you’re called out on racism, getting defensive won’t help.

Back in my day, we had one color tablet! And it was WHITE. And we were THANKFUL. 

Can you tell I’m tired of this list, yet?

Can the white person be defensive when they’re called out for being racist even when they weren’t being racist? Oh yeah, I forgot, the people doing the calling out are never even slightly wrong or mistaken. POC are always right, white people are always in the wrong. We know. We get it.

98. Move past your white guilt. Guilt is an unproductive emotion. Don’t sit there mired in woe, just be better.

Honey, I don’t think any white person reading the list of 100 Things They Need To Do To Stop Their Existence From Being A Nuisance to Not-White People is going to get past their white guilt anytime soon.

99. Recognize that fighting racism isn’t about you, it’s not about your feelings; it’s about liberating people of color from a world that tries to crush us at every turn.

Affirm my victim complex! Do nothing to question it! The world is like a game of Unfair Mario for all non-white people, all the time, and no white person has ever had the deck stacked against them at any point. Don’t ask for any nuance or further clarification. That’s racist.

100. And remember: Being an ally is a verb, not a noun. You can’t just magically be an ally to people of color because you say you’re one, it’s something that you must continually work on.

It’s like Christianity. You’re never not tainted by horrible, horrible Original Sin, but sucking Jesus’ dick at most given opportunities is a good way to make up for it. Don’t worry, you’ll get paid back when you die.

Laughing at a “Race Realist” Lecture

How about something a bit different?

I just stumbled across this lecture, which seems to be fairly well-liked among the alt-right and/or white supremacist scene. It’s about “race realism” and how Africans’ dearth in mental ability is supposedly reflected in their native languages. And holy shit, is it a gold mine of pseudo-intellectual garbage. To sum up the argumentation: “I studied the apparent lack of one abstract concept in one Africa-originating language, so now I’m going to talk about how black people as a global, generalized racial group have no ability to congnicize any abstract concepts whatsoever and are therefore intellectually lacking.” If you think that’s a little bit more than a hop, skip, and a jump away from a logical conclusion, congratulations, you’re smarter than 90% of the people who commented on this video. If you want to feel simultaneously entertained and enraged by idiots too stupid to realize they’re not smarter than you, then grab your popcorn and start reading.

This is going to be a really nerdy post by the way, with lots of philosophy of language and psycholinguistics mumbo-jumbo thrown in. I think that kind of thing is interesting, which is why I decided to address this lecture; but I majored in language cognition and neurology, so the esoteric subjects I think are entertaining may not be overly interesting to anyone else. Warning you now.

Also, this lecture is an hour long. I literally could not get past his opening statements before having pages full of notes on everything wrong he was saying. I stopped after five fucking minutes, because that was enough fuel for five blog posts, let along just one. So if you want me to respond to the next 50 minutes of this lecture, let me know. Otherwise, I’m only going to address literally the first five minutes of this travesty of academic work.


He starts out with a nice little anecdote about how students he met in Nigeria informed him that they weren’t able to say something like “half-way up the tree,” instead only being able to say “up” without further qualifers, with there being no sense of gradation. He then goes on to speak about how oral languages (ones with no writing system) are by necessity finite in size and “basically static.” From there, he states that since the size of these oral languages is limited, then the concepts in that language are also limited. Most egregiously, he then says that “the language and thinking of these people is going to be impoverished in comparison to a language like English.”

Okay . . . what?

What is this guy’s PhD in, chiropractic medicine? The fucking thesis statement–the backbone of his entire argument in this lecture–is just flat out wrong. It’s not just a little inaccurate. It’s not a difference of opinion. It is just wholly incorrect. Either this guy is actively and intentionally lying to his audience who he knows won’t question what he’s saying to any great degree, or he is so stuck in the mental frame work of “race realism” that he somehow managed to overlook one of the foundational rules of human linguistics even when he was trying to be accurate. I actually dug out my notebook from my Intro Psychology of Language course, and the first bullet point on the first page goes against his thesis. This is not rare knowledge available only to the most specialized linguistics researchers in elite academia. Here’s a link about the basics of human language for you guys. The Key Points section is all you need.

Oral language is not “finite and static.” The thing that differentiates human language from the communication of other creatures–the thing that makes humans cogntively unique–is our infinitely productive language and ability to communicate abstract concepts. For everyone too lazy to click that link:

 

  • Human language is generative, which means that it can communicate an infinite number of ideas from a finite number of parts.

  • Human language is recursive, which means that it can build upon itself without limits.

  • Human language uses displacement, which means that it can refer to things that are not directly present.

 

There is not a known human language in existence or out of existence (that includes strictly oral languages) that has not been infinitely productive. That includes African languages.

What do I mean by that? That simply means that the capacity to create novel words is always present within the structure of a language. As long as a word can be spoken with the phonemes of that language, it can be recognized as a potential term and integrated into the wider vocabulary. And that’s just in regards to totally new base words; you can also infinitely generate novel terms by taking base morphemes (individual units of meaning) and sticking them together in new ways to create words that are understandable even if they’ve never been heard or spoken before. For instance, what do you think exculpatory means? You may not have heard that word before, but you’d probably be able to guess what it means because you can put together morphemes! Ex-, culp-, -ate , and –ory. Ex means not, culp as in culpable, and -atory describing a consistent, descriptive state.

Any language that has morphemes is infinitely productive. All human languages have morphemes, by the way. That’s also ignoring things like tense, gender, and other various grammatical forms that also enable the formation of novel words through set grammatical rules and conjugations that can be universally applied and understood. So, to put it briefly, the notion that a language is “static and finite” in size because its vocabulary is smaller is just not accurate. This professor goes on a tangent about how small the native Africans’ dictionary was compared to his pocket dictionary of English as though that was somehow an indication of their language being “impoverished.”

This is especially inaccurate when you consider that a good number of African languages are tonal and grammar-heavy, unlike English. With all languages you see this trade-off: A language with a lower vocabulary has a ridiculously more complex grammatical and conjugation system to derive meaning. A language with a large vocabulary has quote/unquote impoverished grammar and syntax by comparison, because it derives most of its meaning through words, not grammar. English is a very vocabulary-heavy language, so there’s less meaning derived from grammar. There is a tribal language in Africa–I forget the name, sue me–where a sentence is usually just a single actual word, but a very complex meaning is taken almost completely from grammatical conjugations onto that single word: who they’re talking to, what their relationship to that person is, is there more than one person present, what topic it is they are talking about, how urgent the topic is, where on the timeline the topic happened, how they feel about the topic, how they think others should feel about the topic, etc. In that language, all of those linguistic subtleties are achieved through grammar, not words. They don’t have words for those concepts because the language doesn’t require them. The dictionary for some random African language being small compared to a vocabulary-heavy language like English says nothing about how expressive that language is.

The worst thing about this argument is that it could easily be applied to any language, including English. “Look, this language has less X than other languages, therefore it’s impoverished!” His first anecdote about how lacking African languages are is all about how one of them was too vague with its location descriptions. You could do the same thing with English. Easily. For example, English prepositions are very difficult for most non-native learners of the language because English prepositions are incredibly vague and under-informative. The sentence “It’s under the table,” is really shitty. Is it stuck underneath the tabletop? Is it on the floor underneath the table? Is it visible underneath the table or obscured? What side of the table is it under? Is it all the way underneath the table or only part way? Is it closer to you or me? There are languages that let you know those things with a single preposition or particle. I guess English is impoverished now.

Hell, Japanese is considered to have one of the most intricate writing systems ever established. You know why it has that intricate writing system, though? Because it is phonologically impoverished. That’s fancy talk for “far too many of their words sound/are phonetically spelled the same way.” わたし, for example, can refer to multiple different words. It’s the kanji, 私 vs.  渡し just to name a few, that lets you know what the actual intended meaning is. Seeing as how this professor is a stereotypical alt-righter and a race realist, I highly doubt he’s willing to call the Japanese dumb; but using his same logic, I could call the Japanese language “static and finite” because it doesn’t have enough phonemes to make unique words and has to rely on a separate writing system to offer differentiation. Compared to strictly oral languages that rely solely on audibly distinguishable sound, Japanese is pretty much retarded.


Now that I’ve made it clear why calling any human language “static and finite” is incredibly off-base and unsupported by actual linguistics, let’s move on to his point about abstract thinking. This professor is paying major lip-service toward the Whorfian view of langauage, aka linguistic relativity.

The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

For those of you who really like Orwell, he discusses this very frequently in 1984. The entire concept of Newspeak is one based around strong linguistic relativity: if you get rid of the word for something, people will have no concept of it. This is a very interesting hypothesis, and very fun to talk about, but it’s just not overly accurate. It’s at least not completely and utterly wrong like the “African languages are static” talking point, but progress in the field of psycholinguistics since the initial Whorfian hypothesis shows it to be lacking. All you have to do is look at babies and non-speaking infants and realize that they have conceptual understanding of the world and its contents before having access to language. So his statement about “the size of these oral languages being limited leads to concepts of that language being limited” is also not true.

The general consensus is that human beings don’t need specific words to refer to concepts (abstract or otherwise) in order to have an idea of those concepts, but having a specific word makes mental compartmentalization easier. That’s not saying that language has no effect on our mental concepts: the Pirahã, for example, are a very isolated Amazonian tribe whose language doesn’t have a numerical system, and it’s essentially been impossible to teach them how to count past the subitizing range (1-3). This professor would probably take that as an example of the Pirahã being a punch of stupid brown people who can’t do math haha, but that tribe lacks a numerical system because they think of “number” in more abstract terms (“not enough,” “enough,” “more than enough”). In other words, they think in more abstract conceptual terms than hu-white people, so you definitely cannot say that they lack the ability to think in abstractions, as is being argued about “impoverished” languages.

How concepts work is still contested. There are multiple camps in philosophy and linguistics. But they all agree that a specific vocab. word isn’t necessary for concept-building. They just disagree on everything after that. Personally, I like Wittgenstein and his idea that we understand and tweek our mental concepts by putting them on a constantly calibrating scale of comparison. That doesn’t require words at all, it just requires you to recognize how similar or different things are.

To bring it back to 1984, someone living without freedom doesn’t need the word “freedom” to get the concept because they can mentally understand that something exists on the opposite end of the scale from where they are now. A good example of this is the supremely disappointing (but good for this one reference) movie The Invention of Lying, where the main character is trying to explain that he lied without having a word for “truth” or “lie,” so he just settles with, “I said something that wasn’t.” The concept is there without the words. The idea that having a small vocabulary means that a language utterly castrates your cognitive ability to form and rectify concepts is not true. Just like most everything else this “doctor” said in this entire lecture is not true.

Nerdy rant: Over.

 

One Black Woman’s Genuine, Desperate Plea to the Progressive Left

Dear Progressives, Democratic Socialists, Anti-Racist College Campus Activists, Left-Leaning Media Commentators, and Any Other Relevant Parties:

Introductions are in order. Hi, I’m a blogger. I’m old enough to remember floppy disks, and orange Nickelodeon VHS tapes, and that class I had to take about this new-fangled thing called the “world wide web.” I’m young enough for “terrorist” to have been a vocabulary word I knew before I learned basic multiplication tables. That one scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden laments the lack of wars and higher purposes, the societal ennui psychologically castrating an entire generation, does not apply to people my age. People my age have had our fair share of perpetual war, and our cup is running over with causes and higher purposes for us to devote ourselves to. I get it.

The Bush Era was awful–proxy wars, and incompetently handled natural disasters, and spying on civilians, and GitMo, and militarized police forces, and education plans that plummeted our international rankings. Then we had the great Hope, Obama, a man of so much cultural heft that most left-leaning people opt to forget that his unsustainable executive orders about affordable health care and dreamers (TM) were supplemented by further war mongering and American-killing drone strikes, by criminalization of military and corporate whistleblowers, and the further empowerment of the NSA. Trump may not be worse than those yet, but he’s certainly not any better. Politics haven’t worked out too great, not for a very long time.

That’s not even mentioning the right-wing evangelical moralizing that characterized the late 80s and continued into the early 2000s. Books and music and films and television had to be censored and altered to protect our morals–and, later on, our American values. Speaking out against The War was deplorably anti-American, and sympathizing with the ragheads made you worse than a terrorist. The gays were sinful and mentally ill. Abortion was an act against God and all good morals. Video games caused violence. And the police were allowed to violate your rights as a citizen as long as it meant stopping you from doing vague drugs, the more innocuous the better. We’re still dealing with many of those things to this day. I get it.

I get it.

What we’re seeing here, though, in 2017, is a pendulum swing. And it’s one that’s going to kick us directly in our collective ass if it isn’t acknowledged. It’s a cliche, a tried-and-true stereotype of How the World Works that can be depended upon and expected and planned for. But it never is. Since the dawn of time, people have been prone to acting as though their behavior has no effect on the rest of the world–and if it has an effect, it’s only of the positive variety, the kind of effect that goes down in the history books as a good thing. We’re only ever on the right side of history. People never want to sit down and admit what hindsight makes obvious: Social movements and norms feed into each other. They don’t arise in a vacuum, effected only by the already-present ideals of those already within it.

Do you think the war-hating, free-loving hippies would exist if it weren’t for the societal pushback against the war-mongering, stuck-up traditionalism of the 1950s? Do you think the evangelical outrage of the 90s would exist without the secular hedonism of the 80s? Do you think the 2010’s obsession with social justice would exist without the late 90’s and early 2000’s obsession with curbing personal liberties in the name of God and Country? And do you think the uptick in racial populism now would exist without that earlier obsession with social justice?

We as liberals cannot keep pretending like white nationalism has nothing to do with us. And we can’t keep pretending that it’s only connected to us insofar as it being the evil underbelly of society’s reaction to us doing such great things, to us being on the right side of history. Societal pushback doesn’t happen unless the people before you take things too far. It’s like that one overused symbolic story about the frog who automatically jumps from a pan of boiling water, but who will die of obliviousness if the water is heated to a boil slowly, increment by increment.

The hippies didn’t arrive en mass until the Red Scare led to Americans being openly and brazenly persecuted. The right-wing evangelicals didn’t gain power until the hedonism of the 80s led to multiple health and safety epidemics. And the right-wing populists didn’t gain mainstream traction until “social justice” overstayed its welcome. That’s not to say that these ideas and inclinations didn’t exist before, but their societal popularity was dependent upon being a 1:1 negative image of what came before, upon being a contrast in every way to the current status quo of the old guard overextending its influence and violating the values it claimed to support. The McCarthyists who cared so much about protecting America’s freedoms curbed America’s freedoms in the name of that protection, so they had to go. The stereotypical 80s businessmen living the quintessential American Dream that was supposed to reward “American values” gave no shits about those values, so they had to go. The activists and proponents of social justice who care so much about fighting racism and sexism and classism have slowly morphed into a group that encourages racism and sexism and classism. So they have to go.

I know what you’re thinking. “What?! We don’t encourage any of those things. We fight against them! Anyone who says we encourage those things is just personally invested in maintaining societal inequality where they have most of the power and afraid of the True Equality we’re trying to bring to the country.” But hear me out, please. I’m actually begging you. Please. PLEASE, consider the idea that your detractors may have something resembling a shadow of a glimmer of a mirage of a point to make. You talk all the time about how we need to listen and believe and take people’s professed lived experience seriously. So do that. Do it for everyone, not just for the people who you’ve already deemed worthy of the time and attention. That selective, very conditional empathy is the thing that’s backed progressives into a corner in the first place. So take a step back for a moment and really look at what progressives have been saying and how they’ve been treating people recently. I’ll give a few examples:

The BBC, a publicly funded organization in the UK (that part is important), actively excludes white people and white people specifically from their hiring processes, even for jobs that have nothing to do with physical appearance or being on camera. This is a public institution, one those white people help pay for but apparently aren’t allowed to take part it. Another example: feminist activists in Canada got the country’s only abused men’s shelter shut down under the pretense that it was misogynistic and detracted from the seriousness of violence against women, curtailing any attempts its founder–a victim of domestic abuse himself–did to try to reinstate it. This is in a country where men make up just a little under half of domestic violence victims, where many domestic violence shelters actively wouldn’t admit men. Another example: activists in America railed against statements made against affirmative action in college acceptance, calling it racist and a result of “white fragility.” White males are one of the least educated groups in America, above only non-native English speakers. Their high school retention rate is extremely low, their college retention rate is plummeting along with college application rates in general, and white males have one of the highest rates for genuine illiteracy in the country. And yet anyone who thinks it’s no longer fair to treat white males as the gold standard for education quality in America is just being racist or “fragile,” according to progressives.

These are just a handful of examples, off the top of my head, of progressives not practicing what they preach. They are examples of progressives proclaiming to care about victims and proclaiming to care about inequality . . . unless the victims are part of a group we’ve already determined to be not worth caring about. These aren’t esoteric niche issues, either. Non-discrimination policies in the job market, domestic abuse, and education are not something you can sweep under the rug as some small, irrelevant thing. And yet you have people openly laughing at the hilarious notion that white people can be treated poorly or that men have problems. It’s just “white fragility.” It’s just inborn privilege making them uncomfortable with positive change. Are you starting to see why there’s pushback against you? Are you starting to see why people don’t think you have their best interests at heart?

I’m biracial. I have the privilege of being very aware of how normalized this has become, this conditional empathy and justified disdain for entire groups of people. I have to be aware of it–that’s half of my family that you are constantly disparaging. I’ve sat in rooms where, whenever white people are mentioned, I’m expected because of my skin tone to wrinkle my nose at the very concept. And, yes, disparaging is an appropriate term for it, whether you want to admit that or not. You should, because it would go a long way to help mitigate the problem of white nationalism that’s on the rise, but I understand how that would be difficult.

In the end of the day, you want to help people. You want to be kind and understanding and welcoming, and you want to fight for the underdog against the powers stacked up against him. You want people to be safe and happy. You want to love people who are different, not push them away. But all the good intentions in the world do not make up for the fact that you have assigned a very clear label to a very certain group of people: the label of them. The them who just doesn’t get it; who is always on top, stomping on the little guy; the them who couldn’t possibly have any problems or ever possibly be mistreated; the them that’s only looking out for itself; the them who is always in the wrong; the them who can never do enough or say enough or act enough in our favor; the them who is never enough. The them who we are morally obligated to see in a negative light unless we want to be accused of being on the wrong side of history. Along with them.

I get it. It’s difficult to have a movement when you don’t have anything concrete to point to as The Problem. But you can only treat someone like them for so long before they take on the title willingly. So here we are now, and I’m not a fan of the way the discourse is heading. I’m not a fan of people wanting to “incentivize” me to leave the country I was born in because I have the wrong skin tone. I’m not a fan of segregation. I’m not a fan of well-meaning people making enemies where they would have naturally had friends by insisting that someone who is part of them is always The Problem, no matter what they say or do or believe. I’m not a fan of denying the existence or seriousness of real world hardships because the people facing them don’t look the right way.

This is me begging you. Please, look at what you are doing. This growing fire can be contained if you would stop feeding it. Let it burn itself into a few sputtering, barely-relevant embers, like any other flame that doesn’t have enough to fuel to grab onto. This isn’t me saying that you can’t be an activist or that you can’t fight against discrimination. But countering bad things with normalized resentment and knee-jerk disparagement of your own doesn’t help. To quote the actually successful soda advertisement that shamelessly panders to the left-leaners in its consumer base:

Just buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

Love,

B

 

 

 

 

Apple’s Chief of Diversity is #Woke (and gets Forced to #Apologize)

This will be a quick look at the comments made by Apple’s chief of diversity, Denise Young Smith. At a conference, she made the following statement:

“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

If we’re going to have a “diversity officer” for anything, this is the mentality I’d like for that person to have. It is a mentality that places emphasis on life experience and personal background over surface demographics. She doesn’t once say in that statement that she’s against hiring women or people of color, as her detractors have been claiming; she simply states what should be common sense by saying people with different experiences and perspectives are also different.
This is common sense. You can get a black woman, an ambiguously brown trans person, a gay white guy, and a black man in a room together and that would be demographically diverse, yes. But if they’re a bunch of upper middle class borderline yuppies who all have the same general sociopolitical belief system and opinions, then that’s not intellectually diverse at all. I will repeat this over and over again until I’m blue in the face: demographics don’t mean anything when it comes to representation. Do you think these same people hemming and hawing over “diversity” would be happy with a think tank made up of Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Milo Yiannopoulos, Anne Coulter, Condoleezza Rice, Shelby Steele, Ivanka Trump, and Dinesh D’Souza? That group is super diverse! It should be awesome! It should represent all the minorities! What? You don’t like it because all those women and LGBT and POC people are conservatives?
In the corporate sense that “diversity” is supposed to be something that brings in innovation and new ideas, it seems like bringing in people who actually have new ideas should be the most important element of “diversity.” This is not an idea that excludes non-white people or women. Those two groups can be intellectually diverse too. It seemed like she only used the “blond-haired, blued-eyed white guy” analogy as a means of calling attention to the current rhetoric of what groups are or are not inherently “diverse,” not as a means of saying she prefers Aryan guys above everyone else. It’s really indicative of the leftist mentality that just mentioning white guys in a non-disparaging light is grounds for an apology. It’s also pretty indicative of their mentality that they either think a.) minority groups can’t be intellectually diverse or b.) that it doesn’t matter if they are.
This makes even less sense when you consider that Apple hires on an international level, meaning that a room with a Swede, a German, an Argentine, a South African, an Australian, and American, and Iranian, a Ukrainian, a Kurd, a Russian, a Brazilian, and a Canadian apparently wouldn’t be a diverse group if all those people also happened to be pale dudes. Just, what?
For going totally off the reservation, she of course had to apologize for being “racially insensitive.” For some background, she has worked at Apple since 1997 as an upper-mangagement talent scout and HR leader and has only very recently taken up the mantle of “president of inclusion and diversity.” I would bet my next paycheck that she wasn’t overly excited about the promotion but got pigeon-holed into this relatively new position because she’s a black woman. She’s a black woman, by the way, which makes her comments and common sense all the sweeter; and which makes the fact that she was forced to apologize all the more indicative of a left-wing that’s slowly destroying itself Oroborus-style. Screw the black businesswoman whose had an important position of corporate power for 20 years, focused entirely on recruitment and human relations. She knows nothing about building an effective workforce!
It’s gotten to the point where “progressive” ideologues are no longer operating under the pretense of supporting minorities. Just the minorities who agree with them. On the one hand, I’m glad they’re being open about it, but on the other hand, it’s not a very good long-term game plan.
I actually don’t feel all that bad for Denise Young Smith. At least not right now. If she loses her job or gets her name dragged through the mud, she’ll have my sympathy. As of right now, though, she seems to know what she doing. If you use your handy, dandy Corporate Passive Aggression -> Normal English translator, her “apology” is essentially her calling the people who wanted her to apologize stupid, so it’s not like she’s back-pedaling on her statement. It’s actually rather funny.

Why Colin Kaepernick Failed (Bonus: Trump Still Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment)

Hey, guys!

A Note: I think I may do these shorter political commentary posts more often. There hasn’t been anything that I’ve felt like making a full-on post about for some time. Even my post on Paul Joseph Watson was sitting in my drafts for a while. So perhaps these shorter ones will be a welcome change of pace and a chance for me to make more consistent content.


So this is going to be about Colin Kaepernick and why no one in their right mind should support his current efforts, liberal or not. But first:

Trump recently went on a Twitter tear clearly directed at Kaepernick, stating “anyone who disrespects our wonderful flag or our country should be fired, yadayadayada.” And that’s ridiculous for multiple reasons, even though I don’t support Kaepernick. Firstly, the NFL choosing who it does and doesn’t keep on is allowable in the constitutional sense, but Trump’s statement is another example of someone caring far more about the legal-speak of the First Amendment instead of the point and value it was trying to instill in the American citizenry. No, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional to fire Kaepernick because he’s being politically controversial, but “make this man lose his job because he disrespects something I personally think is important” is not something that jives with the principle of free speech, and my reader-base doesn’t need to be told why.

Also, the notion that we need to automatically respect our country is stupid, and the stupidity is only increased by the notion that “respecting the country” means . . . participating in arbitrary and symbolic acts of shallow patriotism that accomplish nothing. Specifically mentioning the flag is also questionable. The flag is a piece of fabric, not something inherently warranting of respect and reverence. It’s what the flag represents that is important: freedom. And that “freedom” includes the freedom to not give any fucks about symbols we’ve associated with luvin’ ‘Murka. So, in summary: Trump proves once again that he is a bully who does not lend much credence to one of the founding values of the country. Which is more unpatriotic than not standing up while a song plays, in my opinion.

Kaepernick’s not off the hook just because Trump’s reaction to him is ridiculous, though. Colin Kaepernick is legitimately one of the worst things to happen to mainstream liberal activism in a long time. This is not the man you want to be the celebrity face of your protests if you’re a progressive. I feel bad for them because Kaepernick is a prime example of someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Here are his initial statements, that he has expounded upon many times since:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder . . . This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Everything you need to know about why he’s been put through the wringer is in that quote: He’s a rags-to-riches story of a happily adopted bi-racial child achieving his dreams and becoming a multi-millionaire in an entertainment field that has thrived off of connecting itself to American patriotism. The true American Dream (TM). And that above statement makes him seem like he’s wholly disconnected from reality and totally ungrateful for the huge opportunity he has been afforded.

Yes, continue to whine about how people of color are a universally oppressed class, black guy who was handed more money than most people will see in their entire lives to play a sport on TV, an entertainment field largely populated by other black guys given even more money to do the same thing. There seems to be some inherent notion in many modern-day activists’ headspace that if you’re not making things unpleasant for yourself and others than you’re not activist-ing correctly.

And the saddest part of all is that he even sucks as a liberal martyr, because his downfall wasn’t his passionate liberal activism. His downfall was the fact that he’s bad at it. I don’t care that he decided to sit out the national anthem. I don’t care that he grew out his natural hair. I don’t care that he wears BLM shirts on the field or references their organization during the games. I don’t care that he’s chosen to talk about these things. No one else would either if he’d taken half a second to look up what goes into effective, inspiring political/social rhetoric. But no one has bothered to pull him aside to tell him to shut up for a second and learn how to get his ideas across in a way that’s digestible to the wider public. That’s the entire point of activism–to successfully impress an idea upon the public–and he fails.

Hey, Colin! Releasing multiple statements about how the country you live in sucks and will always suck isn’t that great a way to be inspiring. Empty cynicism doesn’t really get the masses all jazzed up. He could do literally all of the same things (go around talking about “blackness,” and wearing an afro, and promoting BLM, and not standing for the national anthem) and avoid almost all of the ill-will he’s garnered if he just learned how to frame his fucking complaints.

DO NOT SAY: “America sucks, and it’s never been good for anyone who wasn’t white ever, so I’m not going to show pride in it. I’m doing my duty as a celebrity to give voice to the idea that America is awful.”

DO SAY: “I of all people know about America’s potential to be a true land of opportunity.  Sadly, for many people, that isn’t being lived up to, and that disappoints me. I’m doing my duty as a celebrity to give a voice to those people and the injustices they face so that I can help America achieve its full potential.”

Boom. No one’s mad at you anymore, Colin. Well, that’s not the case. But all the people turned off by how you just seem to hate the country that made you a rich man would no longer be turned off. You frame yourself as a true patriot who wants to see his country achieve the highest prosperity, who wants everyone to have the freedom that America stands for and that you know it can accomplish. You frame yourself as a man with goals and a love for the values his country was founded upon, not just someone who wants to bitch and moan about how bad things are despite all evidence to the contrary.

Liberals, stop defending this guy. He makes you look bad. He really does.