Friday, June 27, 2014

Some Racist Bullshit

So there was this meme:

I originally saw this on Facebook via a white friend, whom I know to be anti-gun. However it was originally from NewsOne, the self-described "Black America's #1 news source." My initial reaction was that this is some racist-ass bullshit, and although there are multiple interpretations here, I think that stands up to scrutiny no matter how you slice it.

Let's start with the worse case: where the poster intends this as an argument against open carry. That's basically the most racist thing I've ever seen in my actual life. In the best case scenario of this worse case, the poster is actually hoping that pro-open carry people are anti-black racists and is encouraging them to act on that racism when deciding public policy. Holy fuck. In the lazy middle scenario, the poster is assuming open carry supporters hate or fear blacks, and they're hoping to confuse or guilt them into either changing their position or shutting up. Disgusting. But the worst-worst case is that the poster is actually the biggest fucking racist of all time, legitimately thinks that black people with guns are the scariest thing outside of bat-eating centipedes and geese, and blithely believes that everyone else is a racist fuckhead too. Ugh.

There's a slightly better case, though, in which the poster intends this as a commentary on lingering racism in our culture, with the open carry issue serving as merely a convenient foil. That still would mean the poster is racistly assuming the supporters of open carry fit a certain, uh, type. Let's not beat around the bush here: we all know open carry fans are WHITE and MALE and from the SOUTH. Except for oh wait, a third of U.S. households have guns with a fairly even distribution nationwide. Half the people I shoot with are non-white, and I move in some pretty pasty circles generally. But sure, let's be racist about this. Everyone else is.

If this meme is interpreted as being about racism, which was likely NewsOne's intent, I'm still left wondering: so what? Are there laws being passed or corporate policies being set that only whites can carry guns at Target? Nope, but ironically the first gun control laws were Jim Crow laws deliberately designed to make blacks helpless against the violence perpetrated by the KKK. But we all know Democrats would never do anything to harm blacks in America, right? Maybe they thought KKK stood for Kute Kuddly Kittens. Who would want to shoot itty bitty kitties? Awwww.

I guess at the end of it all, I agree that if you feel differently about a person with a gun purely on the basis of skin color (or sex), you definitely need to check yourself. But I can't help feeling like the creator of this meme was simply against open carry. He obviously believes that supporters of open carry will be uncomfortable with the image and it seems like that would persuade more people to be against open carry rather than not-racist. He's also letting people who feel uncomfortable with the image but who already oppose open carry off the hook, regardless of their bigotry (which is often racial, but even when not, it's still fucking bigotry; do I legislate what hobbies you can have? I thought we got over that with Lawrence v. Texas.)

Basically I come away from this feeling that the #1 black news source in America, with its "Justice for Trayvon" cover photo, actually wants me to be racist, and not just against "white-Hispanics." Which the economist in me thinks makes perfect sense. How else are they going to stay in business?

Openly yours,

S. Misanthrope

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Random Observation

I've occasionally observed O'ists making claims like "Dr. Martin Luther King wasn't so great. He was a Communist!" Setting aside the fact that it wasn't until the end of his life that he started sporting a Communist ideology, it's odd to me that this, of all things, is what O'ists choose to nit-pick with Dr. King. You guys do realize what he was a doctor of, right? Hint: it wasn't a Ph.D. in "having a rational worldview."

CNN's current special on "The 60s," which I am unfortunately subjected to at the gym, includes a number of clips of Dr. King. I was particularly struck by an impassioned speech he gave in which he criticized President Kennedy for not living up to the ideals that had gained him the votes of King and his supporters. Repeatedly, throughout the speech, King stated that he had "spoken with God," and that God had told him "not to stop fighting until he'd secured the freedom of his people." His entire case in this particular speech rested on his personal relationship with an invisible man in the sky.

Years ago, I read some of King's essays, and consequently I know that he had better ideas at his disposal than "God said so." But it's also true that God had the final say in his book. And let's face it, no matter how many people believe in this crap, it's so irrational it's almost insane. So here's the question:

Who the fuck cares?

Dr. King's heroic acts aren't lessened by his partially (a very small part) wrong-headed motivations. He demonstrated extreme commitment to values- objective values- and he deserves unequivocal praise for that. And so does Edward Snowden. Oh yeah, I went there.

Peace out bitchez,

S. Misanthrope