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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Biden "Accepts" Offer to Debate, With Special Conditions to Protect Biden; Trump, for Some Lunatic Reason, Accepts His Terms
May 15, 2024

Wednesday Morning Rant


Speaking Lies for Power

Yesterday, one of the Morons (I forget who specifically, and beg your forgiveness) posted a link to Not The Bee where they called out a particularly insane headline - and even more insane article - from The Nation. The headline is indeed a doozy:

Racism Can Kill Black People Even When a Black Finger Pulls the Trigger
The surprising thing isn't the headline, but the article itself. Upon reading the headline, I assumed I knew what this would be and, as rarely happens with my initial assumption about a modern leftist argument, I was wrong.

I assumed that the article was going to make a variant of the "internalized hatred" argument that was developed by the feminists, who have for years accused non-feminist (or, even worse, anti-feminist) women of suffering from "internalized misogyny." They were brainwashed by the patriarchy and, though dangerous and in need of correction, are in a sense double victims. This argument has been portable and is semi-regularly applied to racial matters, with "internalized white supremacy" or "psychological colonization" and the like.

But that is not what the article says. The article is a story about a woman who was shot at a parade in New Orleans more than a decade ago, and the rationalization of violence as white society's fault. Once you slog through the meandering prose, the actual argument finally starts showing up:

To Cotton, Black lives mattered even if a Black person had done something reprehensible, like shooting into a peaceful crowd, because, she later told me, "racism can kill Black people even when a Black finger pulls the trigger." The gunman seen firing into the crowd in the Mother's Day video "clearly made horrible choices that have ruined his life," she continued. "But he didn't do that in a vacuum. This city and this country created that vacuum."
Far from the "internalized white supremacy" argument I was expecting, this article makes the "original sin" argument. The country is guilty from birth, and so are all white people within it:
Implanted long before the birth of the nation, the twin evils of racism and slavery exposed the contradiction between America's lofty ideals -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" -- and the undeniable reality that white people built the country by enslaving and brutalizing millions of African Americans and slaughtering and stealing the land of countless Native Americans.
Ah, yes. But of course. This argument is even more tired. So the country is plagued with original sin, but what of the truly guilty? "The country" is a bit amorphous, isn't it? Such an argument needs a specific target. Well, the article provides one:
... until America, especially white America, honestly faces what race and slavery have done, and still do, to the country, America will not be free of its original sin. Like an infected, untended wound, the dilemma will keep bubbling to the surface, manifesting in everything from a Mother's Day shooting in New Orleans, to the continuing murders of Black people by police and vigilantes, to the presidential election -- and now, in 2024, possible reelection -- of a white supremacist whose fellow neo-Confederates openly endorse waging a second civil war to "make America great again."
We got a three-fer! It's America's fault most generally, it's white people's fault more specifically and it's Donald Trump's fault most specifically. Ignore that the event in the article happened early in the second Obama Administration. Never mind that it that it was a drug-related gang shootout. The blame belongs to Trump and his "neo-Confederates" now.

The article itself is fairly incoherent and meandering, with bits and pieces all over the place. It's hard to separate the preamble and background information from the crux of the article because everything is scattered around throughout. The writer probably thinks he's being "literary" or somesuch, but he merely produced a mess of words. I suppose that is to be expected given the depth and quality of the argument.

Gang-bangers who perforate a parade during a drug dispute don't do it because of racism. No external force put their fingers on the triggers. Rationalizing away as victims of circumstance the reckless and depraved gangsters who shot up a parade not only solves nothing, it encourages more of the same.

Telling the perpetrator "it isn't your fault, The Man made you do it" and telling the victim "it wasn't his fault, it was The Man's fault" is a three-fold evil. The perpetrators get a pass, the innocent victims get no justice, the uninvolved stranger gets the blame and nothing gets better.

Yet this is what self-described "principled" and "progressive" magazines that "value facts and transparency" and "speak truth to power to build a more just society" promote.

digg this
posted by Joe Mannix at 11:00 AM

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