The Injustice of Social Justice
This NPR article just takes the cake.
Apparently people are no longer allowed to discover new things to them without it being a Social Justice Issue.
This has been a long time coming, as far as it being a subject on which I’ve wanted to comment…
I am honestly puzzled by the large group that considers itself the social justice movement— there is a large amount of thought and language policing, there is a disconcerting amount of accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’… to the point that, to some people, eating food outside of your nationality (if you happen to be white, that is) is ‘cultural appropriation.’ And then you have ridiculous levels of thought-policing: I have seen people screaming at a white woman for having dreadlocks, claiming that it is appropriative for anyone but black individuals to wear them— except that the Celts and the Picts wore their hairs in braids and dreads, for example. I have seen Social Justice Warriors aim their ire at some women for wearing flower crowns because it is appropriating Hawaiian culture— regardless of the fact that flower crowns also have been used in just about every culture that did not live in a desert or a wasteland, from Japan to England.
If I wish to wear a kimono or a Nehru jacket, it is because I have some appreciation or love for those particular vestments, not because I consider myself to have a unique claim to it as part of one culture or another. That’s now how things work in the modern world– WalMart does not have aisles of clothing that read “Japanese Only”, “Hawaiian Only”, “Ecuadorean Only”— because that would be racist, right? But that’s not how it works in Social Justice Land. In SJL, there’s an aisle marked “Whites Only” with very specific prescription.
Viewed from the Three Languages of Politics, the Social Justice movement are framers of every single social topic into the ‘Oppressor-Oppressed’ axis. This is taken to a level of re-definition of terminology that is simply mind-boggling.
For example, in the 1970 publication “Developing New Perspectives on Race” by Pat Bidol, the equation of “Racism = Power + Prejudice” appeared. Judith H. Katz in “White Awareness: Handbook for Anti-Racism Training” continues the attempt to re-frame the term ‘racism’ so that it is essentially redefined as follows, summarized by Mary Anne Mohanraj:
“Racism is a system of institutional, systemic oppression, and in order to be racist, you need both the prejudice and the power to affect people. By that definition, PoC (people of color) can’t be racist, because they don’t have any reinforcement from that institutionalized power.” The conclusion is that only white people can be racist.
So now effectively in academic circles, and by extension the minds of very well-intentioned but hopelessly impressionable and often clueless students, racism is something of which only a white person is capable.
In fact, the entire tilt of Social Justice movement seems to be to reverse the ‘oppression’ gauge—- directly in the direction of white people (because that is how you fight racism, right?)
Note the language, too: Now I am not Hispanic or Latin anymore, I am a Person of Color (PoC), as if I were part of a matched set for a United Colors of Benetton poster and my entire identity, existence and importance rested solely on the fact that my skin is darker than others or of a different hue (but it’s not racist when you’re reducing someone to the color of their skin if it is part of a movement to place the blame on white people, I guess?) This language also very deviously cleaves the universe into two sides: People of Color, and White People (I guess they must be transparent? is white not a color anymore?) It splits the universe into white and non-white, which does nothing to erase race as an element in the evaluation of a person.
White people who, apparently, can NEVER wear, like, eat or sing things that are not exclusively part of their ethnic heritage, and who can be mistreated for the color of their skin without any real issue because, after all, only white people can be ‘racist’.
Just wait until I tell all of my opera singer colleagues that they are racist because they sing opera. That will require a few bottles of wine to go over.
Please tell me I am not alone in being agog at this level of… well, sheer insanity.