Directly following the election of Donald Trump, many white liberals attempted to placate their friends of color. They said things like, “We’ve survived other presidents; we’ll survive this one” or “We have checks and balances.”
An interviewer asked Susan Sarandon, a passionate supporter of Bernie Sanders, whether or not she would feel any contrition or regret were Trump elected president over Hillary Clinton. Her response?
“No matter who gets in, they don’t address these things…so for me it doesn’t matter.”
Does it matter yet, Susan?
Spicer at the Emmys
I won’t waste a lot of time here, as I’ve already written a piece on what I considered to be a bad move by Stephen Colbert to invite Spicer to the Emmys. When Spicer worked for, humanized, defended, normalized, and flagrantly lied for the President of the United States and shows no contrition for doing it, why would he be rewarded prestige and laughter at one of Hollywood’s most elite nights?
I’ve been called out for “faux outrage” at Spicer’s appearance and told, “There are more important things going on” just as I’ve been told that when focusing on racial justice in the NFL or the suspension of Jemele Hill on ESPN.
Ben Affleck has been the center of controversy surrounding the recent exposé of Hollywood insider Harvey Weinstein, exposing Weinstein’s brutal and harassing behavior towards women over three decades.
Affleck issued an acknowledgement of the situation Weinstein finds himself in, given that he’s worked closely with him before.
Actress Rose McGowan, another name rising in the wake of the Weinstein debacle, calls Affleck’s comments denouncing sexual harassment disingenuous, claiming that the actor knew.
Rose McGowan did not accept Ben Affleck’s statement about Harvey Weinstein. https://t.co/DcfxvxJ3JH
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 11, 2017
Stuck between two idealisms
Before the election, I wrote a piece about the tough spot that minorities found themselves in, stuck between conservatives who wished the world dragged into the past, and liberals who lied about living in a future that has not arrived yet.
Many white liberals espouse to be on the side of racial justice and standing for the dispossessed, but when faced with choices…
- Susan said, even knowing the terror Trump could inflict on communities of color she claims to care for, that it made no difference to her who won the election.
- Stephen invited Spicer to the Emmy stage, who he criticized daily for lying to the American public, without a hint of apology.
- And Ben Affleck may have tacitly covered for a serial sexual abuser.
These aren’t liberal principles, are they?
The problem is that for many white liberals, politics is a zero stakes game. It includes voicing your support for movements and people of color, but not for listening to what they say, or changing because of it.
These forms of white liberalism might cheer Black Lives Matter in public, and then mutter to themselves in private about BLM hurting their own cause. They might involve standing against sexual assault in rhetoric, but standing with systems of white supremacy in action. They might involve calling for more “diversity,” without wanting to lose your seat on the board to accomplish it.
This white liberalism, under the guise of “fairness” or “balance” might include ferociously defending the free speech rights of neo-Nazis, but using your indoor voice to defend protesting NFL players.
This is what happens when you have players in the game with zero stakes, people who will be perfectly fine if the change requested doesn’t happen. People who will “survive.”
But “we” won’t survive anything, and we never have.