Everyone’s looking for a tribe to run with. Sometimes, people find it when they embrace a certain way of seeing the world—religion and politics being two of these.
Turning on the Tee Vee is always fraught with the potential that it could ruin one’s day. I was reminded of this again on Sunday.
After standing in the rain for 5 ½ hour, umpiring two AAU tournament games, I got home late on Saturday, cold, hungry, and exhausted. If you were out in the elements on Saturday, you’ll remember it was unseasonably cold, with precipitation alternating between light drizzle and downpours.
With yet another game on the books for Sunday afternoon, I was looking for a weather forecast, while also wanting to see if the local news puppets bothered to cover the Moxie Festival parade from Saturday, I flicked on the television after pouring my first coffee of the morning.
Oddly, I was treated to a series of social justice warrior gatherings in the first 10 minutes of the newscast. Maine, like the rest of the country, seems to be in the midst of some kind of collective meltdown.
The second story, about a group of white people, mainly women, caught my attention. They had gathered on Saturday in Belfast, Maine, and held a Black Lives Matter rally, or so I was told by the newscaster, reading from his teleprompter. Have there been a rash of racially-motivated shootings in Maine that I missed?
This is how the story was introduced to viewers:
After a week of racially charged violence in the country…emotions are still running high. And groups around Maine are continuing to take a stand.
Around 50 people protesting in Belfast Saturday. Holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter.”
Was this some “Saturday Night Live” skit, or something? No, this was really a group in Maine taking on an issue that affects Mainers (I guess).
Someone named Lindsay Piper, the event’s organizer, said she was using her “white-based privilege” to speak out against racial violence.
Apparently she’s a mother, and wanted to lead by example—certainly a noble sentiment. She is quoted as saying, “I want my daughters to know about their white privilege and I want them to be a part of the solution in ending white supremacy and if I’m not taking daily action steps to do that then how do I expect them to learn how to do that.”
I’m old enough to have some historical perspective, and I was curious as to where the concept of “white privilege” came from and how it came to be front and center in 2016. As in, my white skin somehow affords me advantages that some other, darker pigmentation lacks—simply by being white. I don’t remember being indoctrinated (taught?) about this in school back in the 1970s and 1980s.
According to The New Yorker, the phrase originated with a woman named, Peggy McIntosh, someone who the article identifies as a women’s-studies scholar at Wellesley. She wrote a paper in 1988 called “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.” Feel free to read the entire story about McIntosh. It’s a solid article, done in a manner typical of publications like The New Yorker. Ding, Ding, Ding!!
Thanks to the aforementioned article, I also ended up directed to an opinion piece written by a freshman at Princeton (at the time) named Tal Fortgang. He takes a slightly less doctrinaire position than Ms. McIntosh on the subject of privilege. You’ll see that he’s outside the “blame it on Whitey” camp, also.
Everyone has an opinion on all manner of subjects. Our opinions are often fueled by emotion and they also allow us to feel “proud” that we have certain beliefs that others don’t have. It helps us to feel superior to others.
While people like Piper think that cops are indiscriminately killing black people, Heather MacDonald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has been offering up some countervailing information that calls into question many of the claims have been made by groups like Black Lives Matter. The Wall Street Journal actually republished an OpEd that she originally wrote and ran in February. Her data is worth considering if you care to look at facts, rather than simply getting churned by emotion. I also learned that she’s just come out with a new book this month called, The War on Cops.
I recognize that I’m swimming in shark-infested waters today with this blog post. There are certain narratives that we’re probably wise to avoid and just go along with the madding crowd. Or, we can choose to read and research a bit more broadly than politically-motivated groups and their operatives want us to.
My motivation for doing so comes in large part from a significant period in my own life when I was so sure that I was on the primrose path that I ignored all the signs and signals (facts, basically) that I was actually immersed in a false ideology. That was thirty years ago and the consequences of that time still resonate and affect me each and every day. And just so you know, false teaching is very seductive. I’ve been lured and tempted to dismiss facts and evidence nearly every day, since.