You knew it would happen. It always happens.
The moment our society seems to be on the cusp of listening to each other, of getting somewhere, of giving each other the benefit of the doubt, of making progress towards that "more perfect union" the old, dead, white guys wrote about…in that moment someone always comes up, hijacks it all, and defecates in our dinner plate.
Scrolling through the news recently I saw this question posted by Michael Harriot, senior writer at The Root:
I think I can answer that.
In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder there was a renewed sense that something needed to be done about economic disparities and social incongruences between blacks and the rest of society.
The riots were awful and counterproductive, of course. But people of good faith understood they were the work of unserious people who should and will have no role in moving the country forward. Juveniles will break things in petulance; adults will talk. Specifically, they'll talk about how other minorities don't face the same devastating conditions or realities that blacks do. And we seemed ready to; an open and frank conversation about first causes seemed like a possibility. People seemed ready to talk.
I'm not talking about reparations, affirmative action, and deepening the welfare state. Those efforts have always been about political power and voter manipulation, not structural, meaningful progress.
But just when things seem to be opening up, guards seem to be easing down, what do we get?
- We get classical music being attacked as racist.
- We get magazine articles demanding black employees receive "power naps" as reparations for the sleep deprivation experienced by slaves in the 1800s.
- We get "Mute White People" buttons from Instagram.
- We get the U.S. Conference of Mayors supporting the absurd $6.2 quadrillion reparations plan that would cost every taxpayer in America $18.96 million each.
- We get guidelines from the Smithsonian on how to talk about race that call "objectivity, rational thinking, and hard work" as white values.
There are serious voices and thoughtful people in America. The problem is always that when we need them most, they get plowed over by the clown car of grifters, exploiters, swindlers, and hacks speeding to the scene.
Maybe next time.