For many white liberals, politics is a game with zero stakes

“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.”

#Liberals #Democrats #Racism #Protests #NFL

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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.

Why, Stephen?

Ben Affleck

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.

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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.

 

Why, Ben?

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.

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It’s easy to be apolitical

“The feeling behind it is that politics is simply window dressing, not real, and nothing more than an avenue for angry people to shout at each other ad infinitum. But it’s a lot more than that.”

Every so often, when politics reaches its fever pitch, people check out. I checked out for a minute there after the 2016 presidential election. In light of the recent NFL protests, the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was quoted as saying this:

“There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics.”

Apolitical stances like this one are easy to take. Politics serves as a punching bag because everyone thinks their government is basically evil, that it takes no expertise to be a president, and that people should stop worrying about things that “don’t affect their lives.” I’ve heard it all.

The feeling behind it is that politics is simply window dressing, not real, and nothing more than an avenue for angry people to shout at each other ad infinitum. But it’s a lot more than that. 

Cracked’s Cody explains how we treat America like a TV show that has no real effect:

What politics actually is

Politics is the struggle about how to organize society, and there is no person that doesn’t feel something about that. If you see a disabled person struggling to get the medical care they need and you believe they should have more access to that, that is a political stance. You’re engaging in politics by making a value judgment that the current form of healthcare for disabled people is inadequate.

Furthermore, when people refer to themselves as apolitical, or otherwise express antipathy towards issues of national importance (and according to Pew Research, that constitutes about 1-in-10 Americans), it means that they either do not care or they don’t believe anything can be done about it.

Neither of those answers is satisfactory.

To those that believe nothing can be done, I would remind them that William Wilberforce spent his whole life abolishing the slave trade in most of the British empire. This is an example that conveys at once the possibility of change, the difficulty of it, and that politics have genuine consequences.

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William Wilberforce
Whether or not people can vote is serious. Whether or not they have fair legal representation is important. Whether or not they are property is not a game.

For whatever current political issue you can think of – abortion, DACA, immigration, police brutality, gerrymandering, voter suppression, gun violence, healthcare, campaign finance – we are making significant choices about how we believe society should be organized, how resources should be divided, how funds should be apportioned.

Often politics can obscure these true issues underneath, but it doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to be talking about them.

Politics rarely creates division, but often, reveals it.

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Presidents are not people

If you ever wonder why people are caring about something that “doesn’t affect them,” this post is for you.

Recently, I came across a comment on a friend’s Facebook page that went something like this:

“I know….everybody hates him, and I’m just here focusing on my goals. “

They were talking about Donald Trump. This kind of apathy comes in many versions, from people who “tired of politics” to people who thought that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were “just as bad.”

I’m not in the business of convincing people to care about things they don’t. So I won’t. I’ll just use this post to answer the question of why people care who is president.

 

The anatomy of a vote

Who you choose to vote for is an intensely personal thing, and by personal, I don’t mean private. Some people certainly choose to keep it that way; others slap Bernie 2020 bumper stickers on their Subaru Outbacks.

A vote is personal in the sense that it is specific to you. After all, two people can arrive at the same vote for different reasons. A healthcare vote may be stalled by two members of opposing parties, one not supporting the legislation because they think it cruel, and another because it doesn’t go far enough. Same vote, wildly different people.

Not only that, but factored into the way you vote and the candidates you find favorable are your education, your upbringing, your race, your religion, your location, and a million different things.

This begs the question: If people know how much of someone goes into a vote, why do they pretend it doesn’t matter?

Voter Apathy

Voter apathy is expressed in many ways, from people who believe that a cabal of powerful oligarchs run the country and therefore it doesn’t matter what you do; to those who don’t understand how a vote could end a friendship, and find that immature.

Logically, if so many different parts of your make-up are required to make a decision about who to vote for, then your vote does indeed say something about who you are. Maybe not everything. But something? Without a doubt.

If people know how much of someone goes into a vote, why do they pretend it doesn’t matter?

This is why people care who’s president. One) We need something to jabber on about. Two (and far more charitable) is that the values that we hold are important to us. Regardless of what the apathetic will tell you, there are a different set of consequences for each choice – not all are equal.

Presidents are not people

In many aspects, the president is not a person. The president is a significant cultural stand-in for the values of a country at any given time. What kind of leader is chosen by the people of a country (given that they are chosen through fair means) is a statement, both writ large and personal, of what we think is important, and what our values are.

Inasmuch as they are literal, breathing people, they are also, and always have been, symbols, avatars through which to express our brightest hopes and deepest fears, and nearly every time, they are a reflection of who we are as people.

People are usually either stupid, mean, or both. It is only a happy accident when our leaders are any different. – a friend

Effect

The last refuge of the apathetic is to claim that they shouldn’t care about this so much because it doesn’t affect them.

  1. It does affect you.

    The next time someone says that it doesn’t affect them, ask them if having clean drinking water from the tap affects people. If a person is unfairly brutalized by police, does that have an effect on them? Is it simply an incidental detail to you who is in control of your child’s education?

    You are not bigger than the world.

    The reason people care is that these are intense fights over how we organize society, how we decide who gets what resources and when, how we separate the deserving from the undeserving.

  2. It’s probably affecting someone else.

    Even if you are lucky enough to somehow be above the fray and nothing ever affects you at all, when you suggest others are somehow foolish for caring, you’re saying that the only important thing is what affects you. If that’s your value judgement, go ahead, but I don’t think most people want it to be.

People seem to aptly understand an issue so simple when it’s their child, when it’s their home, when it’s their city.

Well…I care because it’s my country. And that’s enough for me.

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Hillary Clinton’s Crucifixion Is Proof That A Woman’s Debt Is Never Paid

“No one stops Mike Huckabee from bloviating like a blobfish on any network news show that will have him. The honor of being asked to keep your mouth shut is the pittance of powerful women everywhere.”

Hillary Clinton needs to do something. If you’ve been following news coverage, that much is clear. Nobody’s clear on what that something is, though.

Maybe she needs to spend less time in her ivory tower, and mingle with the common folk she’s so dissociated from. But she also needs to not pander. She needs to apologize for the Crime Bill. I think her apology is cynical opportunism. And where was she after the election?? Bernie Sanders was busy defending our freedoms at DAPL, and Hillary just disappeared! I don’t think that has anything to do with one being in politics and one not.

After a recent spate of talks, headlines are buzzing around the name Hillary Clinton, as the left and the right have a perfect receptacle for their misguided vitriol at…the general state of things. And though the far left and far right both agree that absolutely everything that she does is wrong, neither seem to have very clear ideas about what she could be doing differently.

And before you consider this post nakedly partisan garbage that you can safely write off, I would urge you to reconsider. If someone says something like, “Hillary needs to do something” and someone asks, “What?”, it’s a reasonable question.

And if you can’t come up with a reasonable answer, then it might be straight up misogyny.

I would like to remind everyone that no one insists that Newt Gingrich never speak again, even though he has run a failed presidential campaign. No one stops Mike Huckabee from bloviating like a blobfish on any network news show that will have him. The honor of being asked to keep your mouth shut is the pittance of powerful women everywhere.

And no one is telling liberal Messiah and resident grandpa Bernie Sanders that he should “step aside” or “let new blood in because he’s had his chance,” even though he’s 74, has been in Congress for decades, and never made it past the primary in his bid for president. In fact, the Democratic “establishment” is taking him on tours around the country, ostensibly to profusely apologize to the white working class.

If you have a legitimate critique for Clinton, bring them on, but saying that simply because she failed to clinch the presidency that she doesn’t get to speak to the issues is straight up sexist.

Besides, she’s not in politics, which means that you’re spending all of your energy hating someone who already has “stepped aside.” Not to mention that I’m not sure how people think the mere existence of Hillary Clinton as a living, breathing person, stops “new blood” from running for office.

And if you just have a vague feeling that she should be doing something different, but can’t articulate what or how, feel free to step aside.

Thanks for reading this blog, and continue to check back for more!

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The Real Abortion Conversation No One Is Having

Pro-life: It’s a person, and that’s all we need to know.

Pro-choice: It’s not a person, and that’s all we need to know.

The only problem is that neither of those are “all we need to know.”

Abortion is one of the most hotly contested political issues in modern politics, as evidenced by the time that this here post sparked an over 100 comment and sub-comment debate on my Facebook:

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Samantha Bee actually does a good job here of describing how it came to be so. The TL:DR version of it is that the religious right specifically chose the issue of abortion and amplified it on the national stage in order to exert political power. Small misconceptions were turned into large ones and over time that gap widened until you could see the Republican nominee for president saying women should receive some sort of punishment for abortions, and this:

I think it’s it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month [on the final day], you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. – Donald Trump

Clinton: Well, that is not what happens in these cases.

Yeah, of course it’s not. People who have actually performed the procedure that Donald Trump is describing with woeful imprecision have said that’s not what happens.

However, I don’t think that’s what this conversation is really about.

The Trolley Problem

Much of the debate surrounding abortion centers on whether or not the fetus is a person or not. Allow me to introduce The Trolley Problem, which you’ve definitely heard before. It goes something like this:

There is a train on a collision course with five people on the tracks. There is another route the train can take, one toward a track with one person. You are standing at a switchboard that allows you to change the train’s destination. You cannot save all six people. Which track do you choose?

The reason this thought experience causes so much turmoil is that it causes us to confront something that we take extreme precautions to avoid confronting: That we all make determinations on the value of human life.

The Trolley Problem gets even more complicated if you ask any questions whatsoever about the identity of the people on the tracks. Is the one person the president? Are the five geriatric patients with unfortunate prognoses? Is the one a child? Did the five just get accepted to Harvard? Are there fathers? Mothers? Did one of the five just get married?

Those…are not easy questions. And after you ask all of them, you probably still won’t know what to do.

The Real Abortion Conversation: Whose Life Matters More?

Support The Troops
Support The Troops

It’s no secret that people who are pro-life tend to lean conservative, and people who are pro-choice the opposite direction. However, keeping this debate at the level of whether or not the fetus is a human being helps both sides ignore the subtext of the issue, and I think that’s why they keep it that way.

For the pro-life crowd, it allows them to pretend that we don’t make these decisions about human life all the time. Because it seems unconscionable to make a determination on whose life weighs more, there’s something of a prohibition against admitting that we do that.

“Support the troops” is met with rallying cries of support from the same people, while not acknowledging that the reason we “support the troops” is that we have collectively deemed their sacrifice as worth the price of freedom. Many more than five people have died for our national security, but we made the decision that their deaths were worth the security we have.

That’s not comfortable, and it’s not as easy as you might think to make a definitive ethical case for why this person’s life matters more than the mother it could be endangering.

For the pro-choice crowd, it seems much too callous and shallow to acknowledge that you value one human’s life as being less than the other, but that’s exactly what we do all the time. It could be tricky and difficult to make a definitive ethical case for why you believe that a human being’s life is worth less than another’s, so it’s probably much more simple to say it’s not a human to begin with.

However, what’s more brutal, doing it or talking about it?

The much more digestible claim for both of these groups to make is:

Pro-life: It’s a person, and that’s all we need to know.

Pro-choice: It’s not a person, and that’s all we need to know.

The only problem is that neither of those are “all we need to know”, because both ignore the hard subtext of the conversation, which is that we choose all the time whose life matters more.

And while we languish in this contentious midway point, the real problems of abortion are happening. Women need them and can’t get them; abortions are legal as per Roe V. Wade, but women may have to go hundreds of miles to get one, and lawmakers want to defund Planned Parenthood, based on doctored videos designed to scare the public.

If both of these groups don’t step up to the plate and start the difficult, brutal work of defining what standards we use to determine who lives and who dies, the conversation will remain in a quagmire, with the real victims unclear and far away.

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This Election Cycle, Minorities Are Stuck Between Two Idealisms

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“When exactly was America great?” John Green has said it, President Obama has said it (to whatever degree he is allowed to say things) and even I have said it. This attacks the fundamental notion of Trump’s campaign: the idea that there exists in America, a kernel of the past unblemished by inequality or racism or sexism, and seeks to say that his nostalgia constitutes a clear and present danger for the many problems we face today that will be swept under the rug, yearning for a past that never actually existed.

This time around, though, he’s not the only one with a problem.

Right now, minorities are stuck in a chasm between two idealisms.

On the one hand, they’ve already become accustomed to the dog-whistling and even blatant alienation of the right, which has appeared to do everything it can to get less and less people to think, “I want to sign up for that.” The right has also done an excellent job of ascribing to an intensely specific version of the past that does not reflect the totality of it, and actively desires to transport us all back there, which they might not try to do if they fully understood that it’s not a place to which many minorities would like to return.

On the other hand are the liberals.

For liberals, the problem with conservatives, they say, is that they refuse to accept things as they are, blinded by the allure of the past. Their refusal to live in the present represents a stubbornness that liberals can’t wrap their minds around. What goes unnoticed is that liberals’ insistence on living in the future also poses a danger to minority communities.

Right now, minorities are stuck in a chasm between two idealisms.

Liberals often lambaste conservatives for this kind of hyper-nostalgia that comes from thinking that the 1950s were a time of greatness to which we need to return, but are often guilty of the same thing when mistaking the future that they idolize for the realities that are.

The conservatives are stuck in the past. The liberals are stuck in the future. The minorities are stuck in the present.

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This problem spans at least three movies.
Michelangelo Signorile recently made an appearance on the Daily show that highlights the dangers of liberalism. The danger is that, being liberal and progressive people can cause you to think that change has occurred even when it has not, simply because you wish it very much to be the case. Many liberals are unaware of how many laws are on the books regarding hiring and firing processes for LGBT people, or they are unaware that the fight for LGBT rights didn’t end with a Supreme Court decision.

Once again, being stuck in the future and practicing utopic thinking can lead to a severe lack of engagement on social issues that liberals care about. It’s the difference between thinking that Roe. V. Wade was the end of the battle and remaining engaged enough to fight every single conservative legislature and demagogue that makes abortion today technically legal, but impossible to get.

It’s the kind of lack of engagement that can lead to the disastrous midterm elections of 2010, where only 12% of youth and minorities voted, feeling that a victory had been won for them in 2008, while older, whiter voters rushed to the polls, “cranky about how ‘tall’ the president was.”, and instituted a political gridlock that made it vexingly difficult for President Obama to do anything at all.

And engagement is not the only area where the problems of liberal future-pressing are made manifest.

Let The Adults Drive

Often, in their push to create a more just society, liberals are guilty of devising a political revolution to which minorities are essential in supporting, but when it comes to structuring that revolution or being “in the room where it happens,” minorities consistently get the short end of the stick.

It’s the difference between thinking that Roe. V. Wade was the end of the battle and remaining engaged enough to fight every single conservative legislature and demagogue that makes abortion technically legal, but impossible to get.

Consider that blacks and Hispanics have already been told this election cycle that they are voting against their best interests by their strong support of Hillary Clinton. But in the gallons of articles about these issues, is there ever a sense of introspection at the infantilization necessary to tell people that they don’t know what is good for them?

– Is there ever any question of precisely why blacks do not feel that Bernie Sanders would be the best bet for them?

– Is there ever any questioning of Hillary’s decisive win in Puerto Rico, full as it is of people that are routinely disenfranchised from the political system and process?

– Is it always viewed as an insulting statistic to ask the question of why Sanders’s wins did not span a more diverse demographic range?

To me, this suggests a fundamental misconception among liberals: minorities like blacks, who vote reliably Democratic, are needed for support, not input. This again creates a dynamic of blacks sitting in the background while the adults make the decisions. For the conservatives, it’s “We don’t want you.” For the liberals it’s, “We want you…to get on board.” I understand that not breaking into that particular voting bloc was disappointing for Sanders supporters, but you’ve got to come up with an answer that’s less insulting than “They don’t know what’s good for them.”

Where does that really leave minorities?

Identity Politics and Economic Policies


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Another troubling aspect of the Sanders campaign is the outright rejection of the validity of identity politics. I’ve heard many liberals, including Senator Sanders himself, brusquely shove identity politics to the side, saying things to the effect of, “Well, when you fix the economic disadvantages, the racism goes away.” And that is simply not true. Economics are certainly a part of the black struggle, but it’s not as if blacks who aren’t poor don’t experience their fair share of racism. Has Barack Obama not experienced extreme racism, even as a laureate of Harvard, one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation? I’m listening.

The reason Barack Obama still experiences a startling amount of racism is that it is simply not a construct reserved solely for blacks shackled by the manacles of low socioeconomic status. The problems of racism and prejudice are not purely economic, and therefore cannot be mended tangentially. Rejecting identity politics out of hand is probably a good way to not speak to the concerns that many minority groups have, including Hispanics, blacks, and the LGBT community.

Economics are certainly a part of the black struggle, but it’s not as if blacks who aren’t poor don’t experience their fair share of racism.

Simply because they are not affected by economic setbacks, as Barack Obama is not, that simply does not magically solve the particular problems of unity, diversity, and racism, in the same way that 60% support for gay marriage doesn’t mean that 30% of those people don’t still feel uncomfortable with same sex PDA.

However, rather than connecting with the concerns, liberals have gone a different way, and decided, like Bernie Sanders, that the South’s votes don’t matter because “it’s the most conservative part of the country,” or that Planned Parenthood (who does great work in minority communities that desperately need it) and its endorsement of Hillary Clinton constitutes “the establishment.”

Rather than thinking there were legitimate reasons that minority voters didn’t want Sanders to be their president, liberals opted for the insulting fantasy that Hillary must’ve just rigged the election, because “Well, I know what’s good for black voters, and it’s Bernie, so she must’ve cheated or tricked them.”

To me, this suggests a fundamental misconception from liberals: minorities like blacks, who vote reliably Democratic, are needed for support, not input.

Another reason that Bernie’s campaign may have failed to strike a winning chord with the black community is that one of the chief identifiers of the communal black struggle/experience is endurance, not idealism. Mothers resolutely praying for the safety of their children, Negro spirituals that sing about the struggle, the grind, the endurance of cyclical, everyday violence, and the slow, step-by-step march towards freedom that every generation gives its energy to for the next – these features dominate the black story.

How then, do you pitch idealism to these people, and wonder why it doesn’t appeal to them as much as an approach that is billed as thoughtful, pragmatic, and consistent?

Trickle Down Revolution


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The last point I’d like to make is that liberals have much to say about the pure applesauce of trickle-down economics, but not a lot to say about the blind spots necessary to believe in trickle-down revolution. Any kind of theory that puts forth the idea that the specific problems of unity, racial division, and minority communities in this country can just be solved by another problem means that once again, minority interests get trampled by the white people who know what’s really best for them.

It’s just like the problems that communities (the LGBT community, the feminist community, and the atheistic community, for example) faced when they realized that there were persistent problems of race and diversity that were not addressed and did not simply go away with revolutionary change for the whole. So you still have the world’s most famous atheists being 4 white dudes, white feminism, gay white men still getting gobs more representation than anyone else also emblematic of the gay community, bisexual people treated as if they don’t even exist, and Caitlyn Jenner somehow being the “face of the trans community” despite being straight trash as a person.

Liberals have a lot to say about the pure applesauce of trickle-down economics, but not a lot to say about the blind spots necessary to believe in trickle-down revolution.

The minorities in these communities often did not find that revolution trickled all the way down to them, and therefore there was no reason for them to expect that Sanders’s revolution would trickle down to them, either, or that they should prefer his revolution to the slow, steady, and pragmatic grind that Clinton represents that is much more characteristic of the historical and present narrative of how these communities took a seat at the table for themselves in the first place.

Unity


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As we wrap up the primary process, it is apparent who minority voters have chosen as the candidate that would best serve their interests. They are attempting to deftly straddle the dangerous nostalgia of the right as well as the demoralizing naiveté and utopic thinking of the left. Because we have problems to solve today, and a step forward is a step forward.

Perhaps it is up to us to get behind them as we always insist we are, rather than their job to get behind the plan that we’ve devised, if we have any interest in listening to what they have to say, instead of simply getting them in line. We might find that, in doing so, we will gain a better understanding of the biases and prejudices that run rampant throughout our whole country, not simply one particular party, and discover the true power of unity, not the false pretenses of unity that create chasms such as these at crossroads such as this.

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From Tolerance to Celebration

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Every day, someone derides “Political Correctness” like they’re making an interesting, bold, or original point, and makes sure to make the point that anyone upset about what they’re saying is just too sensitive and simply trying to censor them.

None of this is new.

Enter Steven Crowder, mumbling something unintelligible for about 4 minutes, bemoaning the fact that “the left” is destroying America by making it socially unacceptable to call someone a “faggot”.

Real charming.

But further to the point of his video, he appears to think that the push for tolerance is actually a bad thing, disregarding the fact that the push for inclusion, diversity, and tolerance, while having some negative side effects, comes from many places.

And one of those places is Best Buy.

E-Learnings

When you work at Best Buy, you have to do something called “E-learnings”, informational videos and quizzes to brief you on new products and company policies, so you can deliver the best customer ser–dang it, I sound like an infomercial. But you get the point.

One of my e-learnings recently was about diversity and inclusion, and it laid out the company’s vision for how those are effectively executed. (Hint: It’s a lot different than the Crowder video.)

The e-learning did the usual diversity thing and went through not teasing your boss because they’re old and out of touch, not bristling when a gay co-worker mentions their boyfriend or girlfriend, and refraining from doing mocking impressions of your Muslim co-worker praying toward Mecca in the break room. (Like, seriously, you take five minutes out of your day to suck a cancer stick. Ease up.)

But it went further than that, and then showed a couple of infographics about people. How many billions of dollars a year did Hispanic people spend in Best Buy? What percentage of gay people shop there? What’s the buying power of black America? Deaf? Jewish? College student? Etc.

The point that the video made was that this push for tolerance isn’t simply PC gone wild, or people being nice for the sake of being nice. It’s that being nice is socially AND fiscally responsible, and that you could lose out on huge market demographics by ignoring the necessity of catering to, well, the people that actually come into your store.

From Tolerance to Celebration

Which is why the training video even went further than that, to explain why diversity and inclusion was so important, and why we shouldn’t just tolerate people, we should celebrate them. It gave some examples of using the differences among employees to unite them. which is kinda awesome.

If you live in a place densely populated with Hispanic people, it might be useful to keep  some employees around who speak Spanish. If many deaf people come to your store, maybe the store learns basic sign language. If a new employee has a walking disability, maybe let them work in mobile, where long activations give long periods of time to sit down.

And besides, nobody likes to be “tolerated.” No one wants to think that you only put the bare minimum into accepting that they exist and are a valid person.

Basically, this push for tolerance should actually be the push for celebration, and it’s the process of looking at someone different and instead of saying, “That won’t work” saying, “We have room for you. Let’s figure out how.” That’s an ideology shared by many of history’s greatest leaders, past and present.

What’s wrong with a world like that, Crowder? It’s the kind of world I want to live in.

One final example of this would be my relationship with my sister. She’s a Christian and a pretty firm one, too. But when I was coming to visit her in San Antonio, Texas, she said, “I know you don’t believe in the good Lord, but you betta’ pray yo plane don’t crash.”

And that’s funny. That’s ok. It made me chuckle. Because that’s what it looks like when people acknowledge and accept each other for their differences instead of either hating them for them, or trying desperately to change them.

The kind of world that I look forward to is the same kind that MLK looked forward to in the I Have a Dream speech. With the hope that one day “we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

That’s a kind of dream worth having.

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Photo Credit

Photo: https://goo.gl/APJVsY
License: https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x
Photographer: Mike Mozart