Brandon Ferdig wants to discuss what he thinks is one of more dangerous, race-based articles you’ll read all year.
Most people acknowledge that a level and amount of grouping of people is acceptable when measuring trends in society. We hear about the “Latino vote” the “Catholic vote” and so forth and respect that though there will be exceptions to these trends, the trends are still there.
But usually when discussing a negative trend of a group, or criticizing a block of voters, writers try to be respectful and careful—or at least they should—by saying that they aren’t equating certain critical behaviors to group membership. We learned this years ago. It’s racism or classism 101 to see the folly in assuming all members of a group will act a certain way because of their appearance, sex, etc. Our breaking free of this should be a badge worn proudly in our quest to make the world a better place.
Then, from Slate, we read this: “White men are supporting Mitt Romney to the exclusion of logic or common sense, in defiance of normal Americans. Without this narrow, tribal appeal, Romney’s candidacy would simply not be viable. Most kinds of Americans see no reason to vote for him.”
A bad commentary—which this is because of it’s narrow-mindedness indicated in the last line—is one thing. But to cast all of a group under a bus is quite another. It’s dangerous. Scocca continues:
“White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being…Whiteness, to white people, is the American default.”
“It’s a strange, inverted world, the white-people’s bubble, full of phantoms and rumors.”
“Romney is speaking fluent White.”
Can you imagine reading “Blackness” or speaking “Black”? It would be called out immediately if it made a popular site like Slate. So here I am in my attempt to discipline the child because if we let him continue, he’ll be encouraged to do so. This is not okay—no matter what group is being talked about. We’re supposed to be past this.
It should be stomped out because it stokes racist fires under the acceptable veil of attacking an acceptable target. And in doing so, the comments beneath the article are glaring in their race-language hearkening back to pre-civil rights:
Men, and in particular, the white ones, will do anything to keep their power…
Angry middle-aged white men are dying off and they’re not being replaced by middle-aged white men.
I don’t want a regular white man for president again for a long time.
Then there’s this ironic post:
Wow I love this. Don’t let yourself or your kids get brainwashed by the media. This election is all about race and it makes me so sad. I am losing faith in this planet i mean how could so many still be stuck on skin color??
The comments are made with no consideration of how stereotypical they are.
What makes this piece saddening is that it is published on a reputable site, evermore encouraging people that it’s okay to think this way. If I’m an alien looking down on Earth, I’m scratching my head as to why and how this piece was written this way.
All I can say is, “Wake up.” Racism and the overall tendency to let fear stereotype groups of people doesn’t end when you improve your relations with historically disadvantaged groups. It extends to all, and when it is “Progressive” authors and websites that purport to advance this message and behavior, it speaks ever-loudly to the “isms” we’ll continue to accept even with values that supposedly call for their end.
Stay conscious of this tendency to let fear become an outlet to other areas that finds a welcoming. Stay on top of it, and don’t let the sway of anyone or anyplace skew your heart to harmful places. Slate is the latest victim.
Don’t let it be you.
p.s. And because it probably makes a difference to some: no, I’m not voting for Romney.
Photo by BU Interactive News / flickr