Stop it, liberals

I’m really disappointed with liberals this week. Actually, I’ve been disappointed with liberals for awhile, but everything came to a head for me this week. In case you missed it, Bill Maher said “nigger” on his show and the internet exploded.

Here’s what he said:

Ben Sasse: “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”

Bill Maher: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger.”

Cue the demands that HBO fire him.

DeRay McKesson, BLM activist, tweeted: “But really, @BillMaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable.”

Chance the Rapper tweeted: “Please HBO Do Not Air Another Episode Of Real Time With Bill Maher.”

This is exactly what’s wrong with liberalism at this moment in history. This is exactly why the other side doesn’t take us seriously, and why we lose independent voters. The left has abandoned issues of substance for identity politics. Ironically, this is a point Maher has made over and over again on his show.

The republican party is taking away your healthcare, fucking up the climate, destroying our education system, and Trump is under investigation. Meanwhile, liberals are trying to get one of their own fired for making a tasteless joke.

The joke itself is stupid. But it doesn’t make Maher himself a racist. Maher uses his show to give a platform to movements like BLM. Maher himself would be the first one to support legislation that helps minorities. Maher is outspoken in his support for the many things that the very people calling for his firing also support.

The right doesn’t let identity politics stop their agenda. The President of the United States admitted to sexually assaulting women. He blatantly made fun of a handicapped journalist. Of course what he said was wrong, but now he’s president and he gets to set the agenda for this country because conservative voters don’t give a shit about that stuff.

Meanwhile, in liberal land, things like single-payer healthcare, protecting the environment, voting rights–all of that is drowned out by incensed Twitter activists who steer the conversation away from issues toward microaggressions and trigger warnings.

Stop it.

If we had to fire every media personality who’s ever said or done something stupid, we’d have to fire pretty much everyone on TV and radio. It’s mind-boggling to me that liberals can let a joke take priority over every other issue on the docket.

“But the joke was racist!”

Fine, yes. But Maher arguably isn’t. Maher supports people like Killer Mike and Cornell West and Nina Turner and has had them on his show many times. He supports every piece of legislation that would help black people, like decriminalizing marijuana use (which disproportionately affects black men) and ending private prisons. This is the same guy who donated a million dollars to Obama’s re-election. You know, because he’s such a huge racist.

Because while liberals argue about whether the jokes that comedians tell are appropriate and which talking head should be fired, there are things detrimental to minorities happening right now: Gerrymandering. Voter ID laws. Rolling back the Voting Rights Act.

This is reaching such absurd levels that I’m hesitant to even all myself a liberal anymore, because liberalism has changed. It seems like the core principles of liberalism have been replaced by PC warriors patrolling every joke and phrase that politicians and pundits use.

Stop talking about racist jokes and start talking about racist legislation. Stop focusing on shit pundits say and start focusing on shit politicians say.

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The Pollyanna party

 

I was surfing the internet the other day and came across this article about a group of conservative students in Texas who had a bake sale designed to highlight how bad affirmative action is. Indeed, I hear things all the time about affirmative action is really just reverse racism. People should be hired or admitted to place based on merit, not the color of their skin or their gender. Indeed, here’s how the students described their bake sale:

“YCT is a truly colorblind organization,” the Facebook event reads, “and believes that all government institutions are constitutionally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race in all circumstances, including affirmative action.”

Well, that’s certainly nice in principle. I do happen to agree that people should be judged based on their individual accomplishments and merit, not on the color of their skin. However, unlike these students and other conservatives who make similar arguments, I also live in the real world.

Racism still exists, kids. Sorry to burst your bubble.

I’d like to live in a world where there wasn’t discrimination, but the fact of the matter is that we still live in a country where people will throw away our your application or resume just because of your last name, your address, or the color of you skin. So is affirmative action a perfect system? No. But is it better than the alternative? In my opinion, yes.

And this instance is a prime example of why I just can’t ever get behind conservatism, particularly the libertarian flavor: I live in the real world where people aren’t perfect. Conservatives seem to believe that we can trust businesses to always do what’s best and that individuals will always take care of each other. While that’s certainly a warm blanket of happy feelings, that isn’t the world we live in. As much as I’d like it to be true, you can’t trust businesses and individuals to act altruistically all the time. Will the majority of people always act in a manner that benefits others? Maybe. It probably depends on what we’re talking about specifically. In the case of racism, it’s pretty evident that there are still a good number of people out there who hold minorities and other races in disregard.

So no, I don’t trust people to be colorblind. I don’t trust businesses to place environment or people over profit, or any other warm fuzzy thing conservatives think about people and free markets. Because history has shown that this isn’t the case time and time again. And it’ll probably continue to be that way for a very long time. So yes, we need regulation. Yes, we need oversight. And sadly, yes, we need laws that prohibit people, businesses, and institutions from acting on any inherent racism they might have.

In a way, conservatives kind of remind me of Pollyanna, always seeing the world and people through rose colored glasses. Which really made me think of a famous scene from the 80s/90s prime time soap opera, Knots Landing:

I agree with you, Michele Lee. Nice should be the norm. Unfortunately, though, it isn’t.

 

Be a verb, not an adjective

My brother had an exchange on Facebook the other day that made me think about racism and oppression in America. It all started when my brother posted this meme (the caption is the text he included with it):

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“Watch out for the PC police, they’re everywhere”

This elicited the following response from one of his friends:

“God forbid we live in a world where people recognize the disparities that exist between race, gender, and sexual identity, and attempt to foster dialogue that doesn’t intentionally or unintentionally solidify the social hierarchies that exist today…I’m just tired of the joke and the overall backlash around “PC police” and “social justice warriors”.”

Fuck this guy and people like him.

If you think making people more sensitive or aware of language does anything to tear down the very real and physical structures and systems that keep minorities oppressed and powerless, then you’re a fucking twat. I’m pretty sure that at this point in history literally everyone is aware that disparity and inequality exist, captain obvious. Can language hurt someone’s feelings? Sure. Can it remind people of their shitty situation within a system where they have no power? Absolutely. But will forcing people to change the language they use change that power dynamic?

No, it fucking won’t, so get off your damned high horse and actually do something.

It’s one thing to sit around and correct people’s language and lecture them about how it reflects or reinforces a system that oppresses minorities or those that are different. But at the end of the day, once these people stop patting themselves on the back for getting another word or joke banned, if they stopped kissing each other’s PC asses they’d see that that had ZERO EFFECT ON THE PROBLEM.

Because the problem isn’t language, and it isn’t off-color jokes.

50 years ago it was pretty common for white people to use the word “nigger” when referring to black people. Then that word became unacceptable. Fine. But preventing white people from calling black folks niggers didn’t somehow magically stop racism. It didn’t even slow it down. The words just changed.

Because racism isn’t just about what jokes people tell or what words they use. Those are symptoms. It’s more about their actions, and actions and words are not mutually exclusive. Can I be a feminist and laugh at jokes about women? I’d argue yes, because the fact that I laughed at a joke doesn’t mean that I take the joke to heart, and it doesn’t mean I don’t support equal opportunities for women. And that’s the point that’s completely lost on idiots like the guy who deigned to lecture my brother about his meme.

Quite frankly I don’t think it really matters if people occasionally tell an insensitive joke or use an offensive word because it’s how they treat the actual people that are oppressed that matters. It’s the things they do to affect change–voting, using their money to support organizations and businesses within a broken system– that matter. Did exposing the racism behind the term “nigger” help black people advance in society? Maybe. But you know what really helped? The fucking Civil Rights Act.

If someone votes people who are pro-equality into office and uses their dollars to support businesses that are pro-equality, that’s what matters. If someone raises their kids to believe that everyone is equal and everyone deserves a fair shake at life, that’s what matters. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell your children that they can’t laugh at a joke. Humor, culture, and human beings are nuanced, and the “war on language” that a lot of self-appointed heroes are waging doesn’t take that into consideration.

So my advice to everyone, especially those who think microaggressions or lack of trigger warnings are the problem, is to stop being an adjective; if the only thing you can do to stop oppression is to label people and language, then congratulations, you’re officially doing absolutely nothing to end oppression. Instead, I would encourage you to be a verb and actually get out there and change the goddamned system.