ICYMI: What started here became a Courant column

by Photos8.com
by Photos8.com

I wrote this for Sunday’s Mother Courant, about protesters and social media and Caucasians.

Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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  1. We agree in principal, for the most part, on the lack of empathy and connectedness in much of the White community whenever nonWhite communities attempt to draw attention to social injustice issues that not only have remain unresolved for far too long, but seem to be getting worse.

    Where we disagree is in the exploitation of identity politics, (“White people can be so tender.”), in trying to promote the type of social solidarity…social cohesion…requisite to creating the empathy and connectedness necessary to realizing progress on these issues. (Look at the comments to the Courant article. A perfect example of the division identity politics creates.)

    Michael Marmot:

    The aim is to bring the most socially excluded into the mainstream of society, to emphasize their rights and entitlements, not to see the state as a charitable institution handing out help to a grateful poor. Proportionate universalism is an attempt to marry the obvious need to work hardest on behalf of those in greatest need while preserving the universalist nature of social interventions. Services for the poor are poor services. We should want everyone to gain the benefits of universal policies while putting in effort proportionate to need. A key principle is social cohesion.
    Key to living in society is empathy and connectedness – genuine feeling for our fellow members of society. The separate, compartmented lives of people at the top, middle and bottom damage this vital ingredient of society.
    <via Don McCanne

    If history can teach us anything, it’s that White folk are never going to respond to calls for substantive, structural, social change by continually pointing out how fucked up we are. We will only concede, in a majoritarian sense, to the necessity of such change when our benefit is clearly delineated. Even with that, it’s going to be a slog. Two hundred and fifty years of racism isn’t just going to vanish.

    Also…I like Mike.

    1. I’m not a fan of generalizations, any way they come. I think generalizations based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation/identity, age, religion are divisive.

      While I embrace the frustration and anger expressed in the title, I cannot embrace the situations presented related to Rev Best’s actions as a school board member and Janée Woods’ actions at the Forum event. They simply do not fit with implication of the title. That is not to say that true haters don’t show up. They do. However, I believe, it’s important to differentiate when a tactic of diversion is being used and when it is not. It’s important to differentiate allies from obstructionists and haters. It’s important for everyone to listen. Otherwise, targeting allies does become an issue and another diversion.

      For example, in the case of Janée Woods it was mentioned: “When a member of Moral Monday, Janée Woods, stands and speaks into a bullhorn at a Connecticut Forum about race, the conversation again critiques how the message was delivered, and not the message itself.”

      The reason Janée Woods disrupted was that she/Moral Monday wanted to be on the stage. She may have something to say, lots of people have something to say on the topic of race, but everyone cannot be on the stage. The people on the stage were there to talk about it. The core topic that she and many others wanted to be discussed, was in the process of being discussed, predominantly by people of color. There was no avoidance of the issue or shutting out diversity. Though her mission is valid, it’s reasonable to have the opinion that her actions in that instance were out of line with what was going on. Of course people will talk about it. It was a disruption. However, a lot of people were and are talking about the content of the discussion at the Forum, too. That opinion should not be misrepresented as wanting to keep people of color out of the discussion. It just isn’t true. There is a difference between disrupting an important discussion like this that is in progress and protesting because people won’t have this type of discussion in the first place.

      1. Nobody is immune to the pitfalls of identity politics. Or the bourgeois reformism…tokenism…that is wrought from identity politics. It’s been the only game allowed in town for the last 50 years or so.

        That has to change.

        1. I wish it would. If we want to be seen for all of who we are, we have to see others in that way, too. We are one snow blanket, made of beautiful, unique snowflakes. (Maybe that was corny but I am thinking about snow for snowshoeing.)

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