Some articles spread both heat and light. Some spread heat and a little light. Some spread only heat and create fire. Carly Oishi’s article from yesterday strikes me as the second one. Certainly she made some fine points regarding telling minorities how they should feel about their own experiences. It’s well worn ground here on TC and that is largely because it does bear repeating but I want to address two aspects of the article that illustrate some serious haziness of thought.
The first of those is the thesis which reads “What it really boils down to is, I need White people to stop saying this isn’t about race. Sorry, but you are not allowed to tell minorities when something is or isn’t racist.” The second is towards the bottom where the restating of the thesis usually goes and which most didn’t seem to either read or notice. It reads, “We are not created equal.” It was also the tagline on the main page so I’m surprised not many people said anything about it. Let’s jump in.
What it really boils down to is, I need white people to stop saying this isn’t about race. Sorry, but you are not allowed to tell minorities when something is or isn’t racist.
Fine, I have a feeling that this article mostly had its genesis in internet comments but I can’t be sure. Having said that, what are the ramifications of this statement for the speaker? It’s safe to say that Carly wasn’t in Sanford during the Zimmerman trial, wasn’t there during the event, probably wasn’t ever there at all. She probably never will be. She may have never even been to Florida. I have no idea. The point is that all the information she’s gained on this topic is from the media. What is the media? The media is White people. Follow along.
CNN: Owned by the Turner Broadcasting Network (TBN) and originally founded by White Georgian Ted Turner. TBN is a subsidiary of Time Warner. All the executive officers running TBN are White.
MSNBC: Owned by Comcast. MSNBC is now NBCNews and is no longer affiliated with Microsoft. But when it was founded guess who was in charge of Microsoft. Yup, Bill Gates, White. As for the NBCNews Executive staff? Let’s take a look.
- Deborah Turness, President, NBC News
- Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC
- Vivian Schiller, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, NBC News
- Bill Wolff, Vice President, Primetime Programming, MSNBC
- Mike Rubin, Vice President, Long Form Programming, MSNBC
- Richard Wolffe, Vice President and Executive Editor, MSNBC.com
With the exception of Mike Rubin, who I’m pretty sure is Jewish, they’re all White.
Fox News: Founded by Rupert Murdoch but now owned by 21st Century Fox. The CEO is Roger Ailes, he’s White. Some of the Fox News Executives were more difficult to locate pictures for but I’d bet the farm they’re all White with the exception of Paul Rittenberg.
Every view expressed on cable news about this case was framed by White people. Both sides of the argument were determined by White people. White people decided to cover this story and this trial. So when you say “white people…are not allowed to tell minorities when something is or isn’t racist” I have to say that it’s way too late. Everything Carly expressed about this case, everything she knows, everything she understands about the relevant debates, all from the news, all from White people. Now I’m not going to say what the means in regards to whether or not White people have a right to X but I am going to say that Carly has absolutely taken the Blue Pill on this issue. Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Certainly makes life simpler.
We are not created equal.
This, of course, is the opposite of what was written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Self evident. That means they’re obvious. Unalienable means, essentially, immutable. These rights exist whether they are respected or not. Jefferson was a slave owner as everyone knows but even a sinner may speak the truth and this first sentence of the Preamble is the truth. But lets continue because the rest of the Preamble is just as interesting.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
To sum up, mankind is possessed of inalienable rights which make all of mankind equal. Being equal, mankind may determine for itself the best way to achieve a government which best protects these rights. Additionally, this is article of faith and I don’t mean that in an expressly religious sense. There is no way to prove that people are created equal. It’s not testable. You either see why this belief in inherent equality is important or you don’t. Jefferson knew this as well. What many people don’t know is that Jefferson considered the idea that the Constitution should be rewritten every X amount of years, that future generations should be required to re-visit and reacquire this creed for themselves. He feared that the ideas would grow stale and be taken for granted, that this article of faith would lose meaning. In that, I believe, he was somewhat correct because now we have Carly saying that “we are not created equal” and lots of TC comments agreeing with her. What does that mean? Well, I’m pretty sure Carly means that society doesn’t treat people equally. However, since that’s not what “we are not created equal” means, let’s see what the ramifications of this “unequal from the point of birth” ethos are.
If we are not created equal then that means that some people are inherently unequal, that they are less or more. It means I have a right and, in some twisted ideologies, a duty to assert my superiority over other groups should I see myself as “more.” It means I can decide that others are “less” than I am. It also means that no one can argue against that assertion because it explodes the shared ideology that the US has ascribed to in word if not deed since the Revolution. It means that slavery may have been just fine. It means I can’t say Hitler was wrong. It means Mao and Stalin may have been great guys and it means that I can’t judge the cruelties visited upon the Chinese by WWII era Japanese soldiers. It means that questions of equality no longer have meaning at all. It is nihilism and it is death for any sort of striving to achieve that equality in reality which we as a nation profess to ascribe to as an ideal.
We can all say a lot of things when we’re mad but we have to re-examine them. We have to be sure we know what we’re saying because it can get out of control. Declaring that some are inherently unequal is madness and I don’t think Carly could have possibly thought this through before she wrote it. Either these rights are inherent, this equality is inherent, or there is barbarism which none can reasonably protest.