You know what really grinds my gears? Racist assholes. You know what grinds my gears even more? Racist-asshole apologists and deniers. I swear to you, these days, it’s worse to call someone a racist than to actually do something racist. But I digress.
So, the other day, it was revealed that some chick at Harvard Law made a few interesting comments about the comparative intellectual capacities of blacks and whites.
I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair.
Read the rest of her Eugenics manifesto here, but you probably wanna avoid the comments there. It’s like Stor_front* with a better vocabulary.
(*Excised an M. I’ll be damned if I boost their traffic in any way)
So yeah, she’s a racist douchenipple – no surprise there. What irritates me is the reaction her misbehavior has received. As is always the case when someone exhibits racism in deed, thought, or speech, we now have an army of people bending over backwards to excuse her actions as somehow not racist. She’s stupid, but not racist. She’s operating on flawed science, but not racist. Or they ask: is it also racist to say that, ON AVERAGE, African-Americans are taller than Asians?
I see what you did there – very good. I mean, is it racist to say that blacks are taller than East-Asians? How about to say they’re… darker? And so the idiotic straw-man is built, ready for battle. After all, if we think it’s racist to even hint at any difference at all between the races, then aren’t we disputing the very existence of races altogether? I could go into the whole shpiel about how “race is a social construct,” but I expect I don’t have to spoonfeed anyone at this point.
This is one of the two problematic reactions to discussions of race in this country. You call out someone’s behavior as racist and you’re too sensitive. Or you “see race everywhere.” Or, in a brilliant form of “he who smelt it dealt it” logic, you’re the real racist for even bringing up race. I could go on, but The Unapologetic Mexican does it so much better.
The main take-home from all this is simple: unless you’re burning crosses on my lawn, while wearing a white sheet and singing “Ship Those Niggers Back” in three-part harmony with David Duke and Zombie D.W. Griffith, your actions can’t be legitimately described as racist. Once I encounter someone given to such rationalizations, I walk the fuck away. I’m old, and I try to be a little more discriminating in how I direct my energies.
What does tickle me is when people who make these statements get depicted as victims. No, I’m not talking about GOP/Red-State anointing of idiots like Rusty DePass as folk heroes and victims of “vicious smear tactics” by that fearsome Liberal Media. I’m talking about folks with perfectly up-to-date progressive/liberal/Blue-State credentials. As far as some people are concerned, sites like Gawker are ruining this poor little girl’s life by reporting on comments she made no bones about believing in. At a dinner table. Surrounded by her peers. And then later, in an email to get them to understand just how wrong they were for not holding the same beliefs. But yeah, we’re destroying her life (include standard lynching subversion here).
See, even with all that, I’m still jaded enough to remain unsurprised, and thus not really that pissed—it’s what I’ve come to expect whenever shit like this goes down. But what really gets me is the well-intentioned outrage whenever someone says or does some repugnant shit like this. Words like “evil,” “disgusting,” and yes, “repugnant” start getting tossed around like salads in an NYC gym steamroom. I wish our racial discourse could evolve to the point where these people don’t automatically become evil wastes of skin, second only to HitlerStalin. Not only does the fear of such condemnation deter people from actually admitting to some of their more unsavory thoughts (thus stopping constructive dialogue before it starts), but it projects on the perpetrators a kind of cartoonish super-villainy that makes it impossible to confront the true complexity of holding racist views.
Here’s the deal: I’m sure this Stephanie Grace chick is a nice enough person, as much as I want to smack her upside the head. I’m also sure D.W. Griffith was perfectly sweet to his friends and family. Painting these people as evil, hate-consumed ogres is the easy way out – so you never have to deal with your own racist Uncle Arthur, or your own thoughts when those black kids board the train. If the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing us he didn’t exist, the Racist Fairy’s greatest accomplishment has to be convincing us that he does.
When made up as either David Duke or Kitty Genovese, the true importance of exposing her bias gets lost. She’s a Harvard Law 3L student with a clerkship waiting for her with a Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She’s literally got all the damn keys to the kingdom, save one or (possibly) two – she’s white, wealthy, (perhaps) heterosexual, well-connected, and presumed to be well-educated. She’s on the road to being entrusted with the destinies of thousands of people belonging to a race she believes is genetically (therefore irreversibly) inferior to hers. I don’t want to hear any outrage about how her life is being ruined by this exposure. If you hold these views, you shouldn’t be put in a position to ever decide who gets hired, gets a bank loan, or gets into a school program. I think it goes without saying, therefore, that she should never be let anywhere near the judicial system.
So with that, I ask that you do the following: the next time you hear someone say some fucked-up, racist shit, resist the urge to get all Matrix-backbend in your avoidance of the R-word. But also, try not to draw devil horns on – and dead kittens around him. Neither act serves any purpose in the long run, and if I can’t realistically hope for my kids to live in a world without racism, I would at least like them to live in a world capable of discussing it.