Monday, October 30, 2017

White Fragility Is Keeping Racism Alive (?)

Unlike Leftists, I am always interested in hearing points of view different from my own.  So I read Leftist emissions with interest.  One such is below.  They want to inject "brown" authors into "white" literature. Like all Leftist  writing that I know, it leaves out half the story.  In its characteristically Leftist obsession with race, it does not concede that the issue might not be about race at all

Lovers of classical literature (I am one) see large differences between different types of writing.  They find (for instance) the stories of Chaucer to be of much higher quality in various ways than writing on the back of a cereal packet.  And in a world where there is so much to read, it pays to know where to look to find quality writing.  And that is where classical literature comes in.  Classical literature is simply that literature that has stood the test of time -- literature that many people over many years have read with pleasure and recommended to others.  It is literature that comes with some guarantee of quality.

And that is valuable.  It helps to ensure that your reading gives you pleasure.  So any attempt to inject into the canon of classical literature writing that has not stood the test of time is to mislead.  It can lead you into wasting your time on stuff that is not worth reading.

So that is what is at issue: An objection to introducing racism into a selection of literature that is normally concerned only with the quality of the writing.  The authors below seem unwilling to allow that some people might not be concerned with race and therefore object to having it introduced where it is not relevant.  Leftist racial obsessions simply pollute something to which race is irrelevant.  There is more to life than the colour of someone's skin and that needs to be acknowledged by all parties.  So a course of study designed to introduce students to great literature would simply be degraded by basing the selection of literature on race rather than on the quality of the writing.  It would make a useful course less useful.

So it is not "white fragility" that fuels objections to racist proposals.  It is a desire for quality and an objection to its dilution.

Let me however concede that there may be some sense in what is proposed below.  Someone might say:  "But there are good non-white authors and changing the curriculum might introduce you to something you would enjoy reading"

That is surely true but the key word is "might".  One asks for more than a maybe when one sets out to find literature with some guarantee of quality. If one suspected that some racially defined author or group of authors may be worth reading, by all means read them but don't try to mislead others into thinking they are classical literature.

But the fundamental objection below is simply unhappiness that the modern world is largely the creation of Northern European people and their descendants worldwide.  People who are not of that ilk may understandably regret that.  They may wish that their own forebears had been prominent in the creative changes that have given us modern civilization.

But is a lie the solution to that?  Do we change history by insisting on rewriting it?  Many people do just that but I doubt that such actions really console anybody in the long run.  The way Leftists rage against hearing what conservatives have to say surely tells us that they know that their fake history is fragile and easily taken away from them. 

Many people, conservatives particularly, don't judge things by racial criteria and surely that is to be encouraged, not attacked.  Minority people can and should learn to do the same.  Thinking that you can defeat racism by being racist is surely brain dead.  Racism can only be defeated by encouraging  people to judge others on their own individual merits, not on the colour of their skin. 

And that is not blue sky.  The ethnic group in America that has the highest average income is Indians, who are notably brown.  Skin colour does not have to matter.  Do Indians have "brown privilege" or do they just work and study hard?

Recently, a group of Cambridge students petitioned the world-renowned university to "decolonize" the English syllabus by adding black and minority ethnic (BME) writers to the reading list. Once the media caught wind of the letter, written and signed by students, they began a frenzy of outrage at white authors being replaced on the reading list.

The British newspaper, the Telegraph, placed a black student, Lola Olufemi, on the front cover with the headline "Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors." The paper has been criticized by a senior lecturer at Cambridge University for "what looks like incitement to race war," and rightfully so. The placement of one student alongside such a misleading title made it seem like this was the work of a black woman on a crusade to rid the world of white men. The article totally ignored the fact that the majority of students who'd signed the petition were in fact white. The author pandered to a growing sentiment more and more white men are beginning to hold -  that white culture is being erased. As a result, Lola Olufemi was subjected to a tirade of hate from trolls on social media who saw themselves as being under attack by blackness.

In reality, the university had no intentions at all to replace any white authors with BME authors. The letter written by students was merely a suggestion for more diversity in reading and in no way did it advocate for the removal of authors based on the fact that they're white. Cambridge University released a statement addressing the subject in defense of the students.

Whilst it's great to see the university defending a black student against harassment, the harassment itself is very telling of the age we live in today. As we make more progress in the representation of BME people and fight against discrimination there has been a pushback from white people who feel unsettled by the very topic of race or don't want `political correctness' shoved down their throats. In this instance, we saw a group of young people saying they wanted to learn more about the global south through literature, and white people, for some reason, were offended by this. This is the white fragility that prevents people of color from speaking out to protect the feelings of white people.

White people often join discussions about race with no intentions to listen but instead wish to play the victim. They say things like `why does everything have to be about race?' or `if you keep dividing yourselves racism will never go away.' A culture of victim blaming has developed in which people of color are told they are asking for too much by simply asking to be included. White people feel attacked by this because, whether consciously or subconsciously, they see it as a threat to their dominance. They've been able to live so long without having to experience racism that anything which works to dismantle racism and bring equality is seen as anti-white.

The problem with this kind of attitude towards people of color is that it leaves us with two options: to accept our low status in society or to fight it with the consequence of being demonized in the media and brutalized for our efforts. White fragility is another way of upholding racism through self-victimisation. It is a more subtle form of racism that exists today as it can exist among those who see themselves as `not racist.' Not being a racist does nothing, it simply is a way to make yourself feel better about the racism of other white people. It's a way to distance yourself from your kin so you don't have to feel bad whilst still leaving room to complain about people talking about race because you're able to say `I'm not racist.'

For racism to be dismantled there must be an acknowledgment of privilege amongst white people. There must be an awareness that being anti-racism or pro-black isn't anti-white. There must be a realization that racism is a bad thing and people of color experience it which, therefore, makes them best qualified to talk about it and well justified in their asking for inclusivity. White people need to stop playing the victim and see that people of color want nothing more but to exist alongside them without fear of exploitation or brutalization, is that too much to ask?


George Washington's own church is removing a plaque in his honor because he owned slaves

It's an Episcopal church so has no respect for the Bible. Expecting respect for other people from them is therefore ambitious
A church once attended by President George Washington will take down a memorial honoring him, its leaders have decided.

The Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, announced this week that it will remove a stone plaque that reads 'In memory of George Washington' currently displayed on the left side of the altar in memory of the first president of the United States.

A plaque on the right side of the altar honoring confederate leader Robert E. Lee will also be removed, according to the Washington Times.

'The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome. Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques,' the church leaders said.

'Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of "all are welcome - no exceptions,"' they added.

The first president became a slave owner at the young age of 11, after his father died and left him 10 slaves along with the 280 acre family farm near Fredericksburg, according to the Mount Vernon website.

He went on to purchase more slaves, and at the time of his death, Mount Vernon's slave population consisted of 317 people - although the website claims less than half of them were owned by Washington, with the others having been owned by his wife's first husband, whose possessions went to her after he died without a will.

According to Rev. Noelle York-Simmons, the rector of the church, the decision was made by a unanimous vote of the vestry.

Although the Washingtons were generous with the church, the president's main worshiping place was Pohick Church, south of Mount Vernon

Lee, on his part, attended Christ Church since he was three, and the church was so important to his family that his daughter Mary Custis Lee left it $10,000 in her will, which was used to begin the church's endowment.

The plagues are scheduled to come down next summer, but where they'll go is still unclear. 


Book on the importance of motherhood hated by the Left

Motherhood used to be as American as apple pie. Nowadays it can be as antagonistic as American politics. Ask Erica Komisar.

Ms. Komisar, 53, is a Jewish psychoanalyst who lives and practices on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If that biographical thumbnail leads you to stereotype her as a political liberal, you’re right. But she tells me she has become “a bit of a pariah” on the left because of the book she published this year, "Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters".

Christian radio stations “interviewed me and loved me,” she says. She went on Fox & Friends, and “the host was like, your book is the best thing since the invention of the refrigerator.” But “I couldn’t get on NPR,” and “I was rejected wholesale — particularly in New York — by the liberal press.” She did appear on ABC’s Good Morning America, but seconds before the camera went live, she says, the interviewer told her: “I don’t believe in the premise of your book at all. I don’t like your book.”

The premise of Ms. Komisar’s book — backed by research in psychology, neuroscience and epigenetics — is that “mothers are biologically necessary for babies,” and not only for the obvious reasons of pregnancy and birth. “Babies are much more neurologically fragile than we’ve ever understood,” Ms. Komisar says. She cites the view of one neuroscientist, Nim Tottenham of Columbia University, “that babies are born without a central nervous system” and “mothers are the central nervous system to babies,” especially for the first nine months after birth.

What does that mean? “Every time a mother comforts a baby in distress, she’s actually regulating that baby’s emotions from the outside in. After three years, the baby internalises that ability to regulate their emotions, but not until then.”

For that reason, mothers “need to be there as much as possible, both physically and emotionally, for children in the first 1,000 days.”

The regulatory mechanism is oxytocin, a neurotransmitter popularly known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produces it in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk. The baby’s brain in turn develops oxytocin receptors, which allow for self-regulation at a later age.

Women produce more oxytocin than men do, which answers the obvious question of why fathers aren’t as well-suited as mothers for this sort of “sensitive, empathetic nurturing.” People “want to feel that men and women are fungible,” observes Ms. Komisar — but they aren’t, at least not when it comes to parental roles. Fathers produce a “different nurturing hormone” known as vasopressin, “what we call the protective, aggressive hormone.”

Whereas a mother of a crying baby will “lean into the pain and say, ‘Oh, honey!’ ” a father is more apt to tell the child: “C’mon, you’re OK. Brush yourself off; let’s go back to play.” Children, especially boys, need that paternal nurturing to learn to control their aggression and become self-sufficient. But during the first stages of childhood, motherly love is more vital.

Ms. Komisar’s interest in early childhood development grew out of her three decades’ experience treating families, first as a clinical social worker and later as an analyst. “What I was seeing was an increase in children being diagnosed with ADHD and an increase in aggression in children, particularly in little boys, and an increase in depression in little girls.” More youngsters were also being diagnosed with “social disorders” whose symptoms resembled those of autism — “having difficulty relating to other children, having difficulty with empathy.”

As Ms. Komisar “started to put the pieces together,” she found that “the absence of mothers in children’s lives on a daily basis was what I saw to be one of the triggers for these mental disorders.” She began to devour the scientific literature and found that it reinforced her intuition. Her interest became a preoccupation: “My husband would say I was a one-note Charlie,” she recalls. “I would come home and I would rant and I would say, ‘Oh my God, I’m seeing these things. I’ve got to write a book about it.’ ”

That was 12 years ago. She followed her own advice and held off working on the book because her own young children, two sons and a daughter, still needed her to be “emotionally and physically present.”

She uses that experience as a rejoinder to critics who accuse her of trying to limit women’s choices. “You can do everything in life,” she says, “but you can’t do it all at the same time.” Another example is Nita Lowey, a 15-term US representative from New York’s northern suburbs: “She started her career when she was in her 40s, and she said to me she wished she’d waited longer. She said her youngest was 9.”

Ms. Lowey is a liberal Democrat, but she was born in 1937 and thus may have more traditional inclinations than women of the baby boom and later generations. Ms. Komisar tells of hosting a charity gathering for millennials at her apartment. One young woman “asked me what my book was about. I told her, and she got so angry. She almost had fire coming out of her eyes, she was so angry at my message. She said, ‘You are going to set women back 50 years.’ I said, ‘Gosh, I wouldn’t want to do that.’ ”

The needs of children get lost in all this — and Ms. Komisar hears repeatedly that the hostility to her message is born of guilt. When she was shopping for a literary agent, she tells me, “a number of the agents said, ‘No, we couldn’t touch that. That would make women feel guilty.’ ” Another time she was rejected for a speaking gig at a health conference. She quotes the head of the host institution as telling her: “You are going to make women feel badly. How dare you?”


Leftist race obsessions invade Halloween   

The Left has done a fine job of taking the fun out of just about everything by injecting movies, television, sports, holidays and so much more with its politically correct groupthink. Halloween appears to be the latest target of its manufactured rage.

Writing for a blog called “Raising Race Conscious Children (the title alone says it all),” Sachi Feris goes on at length about how she twisted herself in knots over whether her daughter should dress as Disney’s Moana for Halloween. Her issue was that she feared her white daughter would be engaging in “cultural appropriation” by dressing up as the Polynesian character. Then Feris wondered if her daughter should be dressing up as Elsa from “Frozen,” because that would be flaunting white privilege.

As a side note, you may be wondering what the heck “cultural appropriation” even means. Wikipedia defines this leftist concoction as follows: “Cultural appropriation is the adoption of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. … Cultural elements which may have deep meaning to the original culture may be reduced to ‘exotic’ fashion or toys by those from the dominant culture.”

Well then.

Feris’ article sparked both imitation and mockery across the Internet. Redbook wrote a piece later republished by Cosmopolitan that scolds parents about the dangers of racism inherent in letting your kids dress up as characters of another race for Halloween. Redbook’s editors pontificate, “This isn’t about putting a damper on your kid’s creativity; it’s about exercising sensitivity towards anyone who doesn’t get to choose how the world at large sizes them up. Whether or not your kids get that is up to you.”

This seems like a lot of stress over a holiday that is basically about letting kids dress up as comic characters and going door to door in their neighborhood begging for candy. But to the “microaggressed” Left, it’s just one more opportunity to try to exercise control over society.

For years, Disney was the target of race-baiters for not having enough diversity in its character catalogue. Now that the entertainment conglomerate is expanding its range of characters, the race-baiters are saying that white kids should not pretend to be those characters because it’s cultural appropriation. This is typical of leftists, though. They are constantly moving the goalposts because their philosophy feeds on and thus foments discord and hatred.

For any adult who stops and thinks rationally for two seconds, labeling parents as racially insensitive for letting their children dress up as a character from a different race for Halloween goes too far. It doesn’t show respect for different racial groups. In fact, it further segregates them. It doesn’t celebrate different cultures or show respect for them. It just keeps people divided in politically convenient little tribes.

Why shouldn’t a kid be allowed to dress up as Moana if she’s white? Does this also mean that black girls can’t dress up as Elsa? Does a boy have to be of Northern European heritage to be Thor? (Never mind that Thor’s now a woman in Marvel’s comics…) Where does it end?

On the humorous side, blogger Matt Walsh has 9 Tips To Avoid Being A Racist Bigot This Halloween. From avoiding costumes of characters outside your race to avoiding them within your race, from avoiding costumes made in historically oppressed regions to avoiding costumes you buy at the store, Walsh eventually gets to the “logical” conclusion of leftist insanity: “Avoid costumes.” But not only that, you have to “Avoid avoiding costumes.”

Feris, Redbook and their ilk insist that parents have conversations with their children about race. But what they are really asking parents to do is teach their kids that skin color is everything; that you must constantly be thinking about a person’s race. This is not the world we want to raise children to live in. The real lesson here is that the amount of melanin in someone’s skin is not a basis for judging their character or for making decisions about how you treat them. And let kids be kids. If they want to dress up as Moana or Elsa, let them do it. And have a Happy Halloween.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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