bookmark_borderRacism in action

Renee Graham’s latest Boston Globe column, entitled “You can read the white rage in their MAGA hats,” might just be the most ridiculous thing I have ever read.

In it, she criticizes as racist a group of “white teenage boys” for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats to the National Museum of African American History & Culture. “Clearly, this was meant as a provocation,” she huffs, immediately prior to admitting that the group “did nothing disruptive” other than simply existing and moving through the museum. Graham characterizes this horribly inappropriate behavior as “trolling” and “denigrat[ing] African-American history.” She describes how African-American museum visitors shook their heads at the group, rolled their eyes, and gave them “side-eye.”

“African-Americans survived the Middle Passage, centuries of enslavement, families torn apart, systemic sexual abuse, lynchings, racist Supreme Court decisions, police violence, and Jim Crow,” she pontificates. “Every effort to dim our light has only made it burn hotter and brighter. We’re still here, unbowed…. We won’t be intimidated by people in MAGA hats – or the noxious president they represent.”

I, for one, am in awe of Graham’s courage. A grown woman was brave enough not to be intimidated by teens – gasp! – holding political views that are different from hers! What incredible grit and strength it must have taken to survive something so horrific.

In all seriousness, Graham’s opinion about the Trump-supporting teens is inaccurate, bigoted, and hypocritical:

Inaccurate because she characterizes the teens’ wearing of MAGA hats as racist when there is absolutely no evidence that this is true. There are plenty of reasons to support Trump, most of which have nothing to do with race.

Bigoted because she assumes the teens must be racist because of their race and political orientation and criticizes them merely for existing in a public place. Graham treats it as an act of aggression for people to wear a particular hat while minding their own business, while in reality Graham and the museum-goers who gave dirty looks were aggressing against an innocent group of people.

And hypocritical because Graham purports to advocate against racism and discrimination while herself being more racist than most of the people she criticizes. It’s past time for Graham to stop using blatantly racist terms such as “white rage” and to start thinking about being tolerant, for once, of people who are different than her.

bookmark_borderStarbucks protests are much ado about nothing

In today’s society, there are so many things to be outraged about, from the medical system to taxes to technology’s erosion of privacy rights. It’s puzzling to me that out of all the outrageous things happening in the world, so many people are outraged about the fact that two people, who happen to be black, were arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave a Starbucks.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the two men were at Starbucks, where they were planning to meet someone. They asked to use the restroom and were told no, as store policy is not to allow people to use the restroom unless they buy something. A little later, an employee went to their table and asked if they would like to order something. They said no. Because they didn’t buy anything, they were asked to leave. They refused. They were asked to leave two more times and continued to refuse, and eventually a manager called the cops.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has called this incident “reprehensible” and people have been boycotting and protesting the coffee chain, saying things like “Shame on you Starbucks.”

In my opinion, this reaction is completely excessive. Perhaps calling the cops was a bit of an overreaction, but it’s entirely reasonable to kick someone out of a café or restaurant if they aren’t buying anything. Perhaps the cops wouldn’t have been called if the two men were white; perhaps they would have been. There’s no way to know. The Starbucks protests are an example of the tendency to assume, that if anything bad happens to someone black, it must have happened because they are black.

An opinion piece by the Boston Globe’s Renee Graham exemplifies this attitude. “To be black is to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time because, in America, there is never a right place for black people,” she wrote. “Everything black people do is weighted by irrational white fear. It’s mentally exhausting to always be on guard, even during mundane moments.” About an incident where a person, who happened to be black, was tragically shot by a suspicious homeowner after knocking on the door to ask for directions, she wrote, “Even with my lousy sense of direction, I wouldn’t run the risk of ending up in jail or dead because somebody criminalized my blackness.”

This is completely nonsensical and has no basis in reality. All of America is the right place for black people, as well as people of any race. No one “criminalizes blackness.” There is no reason for people of any race to feel that they need to be constantly on guard to avoid ending up dead or in jail. Police brutality can happen to people of any race. So can tragic misunderstandings. It’s no fun to be mentally exhausted, but Graham is mentally exhausting herself for no reason.

“Nothing will ever change until a majority of white people in this nation stop perceiving black existence as sinister and suspicious,” Graham continues. “Talking about racism may hurt white people’s feelings, but their unchecked racism continues to endanger our black lives.”

But a majority of white people has never perceived black existence as sinister or suspicious. Graham is seeing racism where it does not exist, and she is insultingly dismissing differing opinions as “hurt feelings.” Not to mention the fact that by writing of “irrational white fear” and white people’s “unchecked racism,” Graham is actually being racist. Something is wrong with our society when anything that even remotely resembles racism against blacks – such as being kicked out of Starbucks – is considered “reprehensible,” while blatant racism against whites is considered perfectly fine.

bookmark_borderGun rights supporters are not prostitutes

In today’s Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen wrote what is possibly the most offensive column that has ever been written, by any author, in any newspaper or publication.

“If only we really could throw a red challenge flag in the Congress to demand that the paid prostitutes for the NRA would be forced to sit and watch a ceaseless loop of video, replaying every school shooting since Columbine,” he writes. “Maybe a long, extended viewing of this madness, like a video waterboarding, would persuade the frauds in Congress to do their duty.”

He accuses members of Congress of “taking NRA money like gimlet-eyed hookers” and calls people who support the Second Amendment “morally bankrupt,” “utterly corrupt,” and “as nuts as Nikolas Cruz.”

It is infuriating to read and hear again and again, in newspapers, online, and on TV, these repeated personal attacks on people who support gun rights. Some people believe that the answer to mass shootings is to pass laws restricting individual rights in order to make our society safer; some (including myself) believe that individual rights come first. Regardless of what you believe, there is absolutely no reason to call people who hold different opinions “prostitutes” or “hookers” or to suggest that they be subjected to torture. This type of language is beyond offensive and unacceptable.

Enough with the all-too-common assumption that members of Congress who oppose new gun control laws are acting either out of cowardice, or because of donations from the NRA. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, it’s possible for another person to actually hold an opinion that is different from your own? As difficult as it is to believe, some members of Congress actually believe that their duty is to uphold individual rights, not to sacrifice them in the name of safety. As shocking as this may be, it is possible for a human being to engage in deliberate, rational, independent thought and arrive at a belief that is different from yours. The fact that someone has different moral beliefs than you does not make them insane, corrupt, or morally bankrupt (sticking to one’s beliefs in the face of insults and criticism is the exact opposite of morally bankrupt), and it certainly doesn’t make them a prostitute.

 

bookmark_borderHarvest Box idea does not equal “trashing the poor”

In the Boston Globe yesterday, columnist Yvonne Abraham made an unjustified and hypocritical attack on the idea of giving food stamp recipients a monthly box of food instead of EBT cards. The Trump administration came up with this proposal, called “America’s Harvest Box,” which would involve replacing at least part of recipients’ EBT benefits with food delivered to their door.

There are legitimate differences of opinion about whether this would save the government money, and there’s definitely an argument that this would inconvenience recipients by providing them with food that isn’t necessarily to their liking instead of allowing them to choose what they want from the grocery store.

However, Abraham is out of bounds when she claims that the Trump administration’s reason for introducing this proposal is not to actually enact it but to “set a useful tone, furthering the narrative that those on public assistance are morally dubious, lazy, and not to be trusted.” Disagreeing with a policy idea is fine, but Abraham is ascribing motivations to the Trump administration with absolutely no evidence. She calls supporters of the Harvest Box idea “policy sadists,” motivated by a “nasty stereotype.” She calls the idea “patronizing,” “ugly,” and “insulting.” She criticizes Republicans because they allegedly “balloon deficits by giving tax cuts to the rich even as they trashed the poor” and tells them to “lay off SNAP recipients.”

Personally, when it comes to my opinions about welfare programs, the main thing I care about is for the government to spend as little money as possible. This is also the motivation behind the Harvest Box. There’s nothing sadistic, nasty, patronizing, ugly, or insulting about wanting to save money. It has nothing to do with any stereotypes and nothing to do with how hardworking or trustworthy recipients are. It has nothing to do with trashing anyone. It’s simply about what financially makes the most sense.

To make things worse, when discussing corn and sugar subsidies, Abraham writes, “Only the poor are stigmatized for eating the dreck marketed relentlessly to all; not Trump, whose diet is appalling.” First of all, this statement is false: when Abraham, a columnist in a major newspaper, describes Trump’s eating habits as “appalling,” then Trump’s eating habits are indeed being stigmatized, at least by one newspaper columnist. Additionally, this is hypocritical. Abraham uses words such as “nasty” and “ugliness” to describe a policy idea that she disagrees with, yet by choosing to call another person’s eating habits “appalling,” she is the one being nasty and insulting.

How about voicing and arguing for your opinions without personally attacking those who disagree with you?

bookmark_borderNo, Roy Halladay did not “get what he deserved”

Talk radio host Michael Felger recently made some pretty insulting comments about the tragic death of retired pitcher Roy Halladay.

“It just sort of angers me. You care that little about your life? About the life of your family? Your little joyride is that important to you that you’re going to risk just dying? You’re a multimillionaire with a loving family, and to you, you have to go get that thing where you can dive-bomb from 100 feet to 5 above the water with your single-engine plane with your hand out the window… He got what he deserved.”

Halladay, an amateur pilot, died when he accidentally crashed his plane. I’m going to add my voice to the chorus of those criticizing Felger’s comments. I don’t understand why someone would be angered by another person’s choice of hobby. Flying a plane is a risky activity, and Halladay certainly knew that choosing such a hobby entailed some chance of injury or death… and he had every right to make that choice. The fact that he willingly took a risk doesn’t make his death deserved. It means that he had bad luck and was the victim of a tragic accident.

Felger seems to think that Halladay did something wrong by choosing a risky hobby, especially given the fact that he had a wife and children. I strongly disagree with this. Having a family does not negate a person’s right to choose how to spent his or her time or which hobbies to pursue. Halladay was not risking the life of his family; he was only risking his own. Of course, all of his family members must be grief-stricken at his death, but that does not give family members the right to dictate which activities someone can pursue, nor does it mean that he wronged his family members in any way. It was his body and his life, and he had every right to take the risk that he took.

bookmark_borderThe Las Vegas shooting was terrible, but that does not make it terrorism

Countless people on Twitter, Tumblr, and all over the internet have been calling Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock a terrorist. They have been criticizing the news media for not labeling Paddock a terrorist, claiming that the only reason he’s not called a terrorist is because he is white.

Continue reading “The Las Vegas shooting was terrible, but that does not make it terrorism”

bookmark_borderMy thoughts on Charlottesville & Boston, and why Trump is 100% right

When you have a crowd of 40,000 people protesting against a rally of a few dozen people, you cannot claim that the few dozen people are the oppressors.

The pictures above show the Free Speech Rally that took place on Boston Common on Saturday (right) and the crowd of people who decided to protest against it (left).

Pretty much everyone agrees that slavery and Jim Crow laws were bad, but our society has reached a point where things have gone too far in the opposite direction. The people who claim to be against hate, discrimination, and prejudice are actually more hateful, discriminatory, and prejudiced than the people they are protesting against. Continue reading “My thoughts on Charlottesville & Boston, and why Trump is 100% right”