Fundamental Differences – Racism

My objective with this blog is to put myself inside the head of a person on the right and a person on the left to determine if a particular viewpoint is reasonable. Sometimes, I find that completely opposite positions on a subject are both reasonable.

Take abortion. If you put yourself in the head of someone who believes that life truly begins at conception, then aborting fetuses is akin to murdering babies. At the same time, if you truly believe that a fetus is just a collection of cells, then focusing on the ill effects of banning abortions makes a ton of sense.

Both sides take a reasonable position based on their viewpoint, and there is no provable fact that can establish whether one side is correct or not. (That being said, I wish a lot of partisans on both side were more reasonable when dealing with people who hold the opposite viewpoint. Calling a person a baby killer accomplishes nothing. A Christian woman who opposes abortion isn’t being a misogynist.)

Sometimes though, when I look at an issue from both sides, I just can’t get to a point where I see equal reasonableness. Take racism.

Most on the right pretty much operate on the principle that it isn’t okay to judge someone based solely on skin color. (Note that this is a pretty interesting statement. I definitely couldn’t have used “most” several decades ago.) Unfortunately, the left does not appear to operate on a similar principle as outlined in this post: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/119667759/posts/564

Here’s how the blogger defines racism:

It means,  that everyone (but especially us white people) are socialized to be racist in many small ways. When I say that I’m racist here’s what it means: I get treated better in society compared to a nonwhite person of equal accomplishment because I am white.

To a person on the right, the way you fight racism is to stand against anyone you see who is judging a person based solely on skin color. To a person on the left, though, this is how you fight racism:

Your first reaction to being called out as racist (especially by people who experience it every day) shouldn’t be “—- you, no I’m not!” it should be “Did I just do or say something racist?”

(Note: I edited out the curse word that the post’s author used.)

Before anything else, let me compliment the author. I feel that, if we truly want to understand each other, it’s important to dig down to our fundamental differences, and the post’s author has illuminated one of them in a well-written and cogent manner.

That being said, here are the problems, in no particular order, that I had with the opinions being expressed by the post:

Individual Responsibility

As a person who leans right, I believe that, as an adult, no one can take responsibility for me. You cannot offend me; I can only choose to be offended. If my kids and I don’t eat, I should have worked harder or smarter to put bread on the table; it’s not your responsibility to take care of me.

The author of the post twists things so that I am responsible for how someone else feels. Take an exchange were two white strangers meet on a train:

“Where y’all from?” White Stranger #1 says.

“California.”

WS1 grins. “Where ’bouts? I’ve been to San Francisco. It was lovely. Those Victorian houses!”

Now let’s look at such an exchange again but make one of the strangers a Person of Color (POC):

“Where y’all from?” White Stranger #1 says.

The POC snarls. “That is so offensive! I’m from the United States, just like you!”

“Huh?”

Literally, asking a POC where they’re from is considered a microaggression, so where White Stranger #1 thinks to open a conversation with a typical statement, offense is created.

In the mind of the left, the fault for this offense lies completely with the WS1, meaning that the POC has no responsibility for the situation.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t buy that as reasonable. The POC has a choice to be reasonable or to take immediate offense at anything that can even possibly be considered a slight. Anytime you’re given a choice, you inherently, at the very least, share responsibility for the path the future takes.

No Special Consideration

The author’s post indicates a belief that the world owes “fairness” to oppressed people fairness. My belief is that the world does not owe me, or anyone else, anything. Not a living. Not food. Not happiness. Nothing.

Michael Jordan is arguably the best basketball player of all time. It’s not fair that he should be able to so easily beat me at  basketball. He should be made to play hobbled in order to be fair to me.

My child is smarter than a lot of other kids. That’s not fair to them. We should cause some kind of brain damage somehow so that she doesn’t have that advantage.

The truth is that everyone is a combination of strengths and weaknesses. What makes America great is that we all have the opportunity to capitalize on our strengths and work hard to overcome our weaknesses in order to achieve greatness.

Can a black man become President?

No, that’s impossible due to institutional racism, right?

Hey … wait a second …

The Definition Makes the Word “Racist” Meaningless

What’s the word used to describe someone like my White Stranger #1 above?

Racist.

What’s the word used to describe a KKK member who lynches a black person?

Racist.

By calling everyone a racist, the left has minimized the impact of the word. I’m a racist. You’re a racist. Everyone is a racist, including people of color.

If everyone is a racist, no one is. By the definition the post’s author gives, if you call me a racist, my response is, “So?”

Rape Laws Are Sexist

First, let me apologize for the clickbait title. Generally, I hate clickbait titles, but there’s one exception – if a title is completely over the top outrageous, I tend to find it amusing rather than annoying. I’m hoping that my title falls into the amusing category. If not, I apologize to the ten people or so who will actually ever read one of my blog posts 🙂

As longtime readers of my blog know (or would know if, you know, I had any longtime readers), I’m all about interacting with other bloggers and trying to determine if their views are reasonable or not. Truthfully, I’ve encountered a lot of very reasonable (and nice!) bloggers on all sides of the political spectrum.

Sometimes, however, I run across views that really strike me as looney tunes.

Take, for example, this quote:

Trump proposes racist policies. That means policies which disproportionately affect one race over others. Someone who supports racist policies can safely be called racist.

Okay, let’ examine the reasoning here:

First of all, the blogger shows a valid attempt at logic.

Postulate 1: A racist policy is any policy which disproportionately affects one race over others.

Postulate 2: Someone who supports racist polices can safely be called racist.

Postulate 3: Trump supports policies that disproportionately affect one race over others.

Therefore, one can safely conclude that Trump is a racist. Ninja’d!

Okay, but hold up a second. That conclusion is only logical if each postulate is actually true.

I’ll give the blogger Postulates 2 and 3 for the sake of this discussion. Let’s take closer look at that first one, though.

My Postulate 1: If a racist policy is any policy which disproportionately affects one race over others, it stands to reason that a sexist policy is any policy which disproportionately affects one gender over another. Seems to me that this is kind of hard to argue against.

My Postulate 2: More men are charged, convicted, and punished for rape than women are. Hard to argue based on any reasonable examination of facts.

Therefore, since rape laws disproportionately affect men over women, rape laws are sexist.

Conclusion:

One can define “racist” and “sexist” any way one wants, but if one want the words to have any kind of meaning in the real world, the definition put forth by the blogger that I encountered isn’t very reasonable.