Testing Power & Privilege

There were some developments over the weekend in the NYT racism story. Noted African-American right-winger Candice O. posted exactly the same language that was used against "white people," except she swapped in "Jewish." Now according to the prevailing neo-Marxist "only the powerful can have racism" theory an African-American woman should be able to say whatever she wants without it being racist, as her group memberships mean that she is not privileged nor powerful. But she was suspended immediately, due to what Twitter in embarrassment later proclaimed was an 'error.'

Meanwhile, someone drew an interesting comparison between the cases of this writer and Papa John. Again, according to the prevailing theory, Papa John should have been too privileged to be held accountable: he was white, male, and extremely rich. Yet he was purged ruthlessly by his own company for mentioning a racial slur; she was promoted in spite of (or, a friend of mine mentioned privately, because of) hers. Who really has privilege here?

Iowahawk has a suggestion for evaluating these cases.


Texan99 said...

I'm tired of arguing over whether racism means "make pre-judgments about an individual on the basis of his ethnicity" or "using a powerful social position to denigrate someone from a less powerful ethnic group." Both are bad. If it's really necessary, we can figure out disambiguating names for the two bad practices. ABC for one, XYZ for the other. Then people can stop wasting my time saying "XYZ is super OK, because it doesn't involve ABC," and go back to the position everyone used to acknowledge was a pretty good one, which is that XYZ is bad for one reason and ABC for another, with a certain amount of overlap in the behavior and the source of the evil.

It's particularly confusing and irritating, because racism used to be deplored at least as much because it was a stupid habit of mind that prevented people from seeing each other accurately, as because it tended to result in unfair treatment by powerful people against weaker ones. Then reverse racism was discovered to be a thing, followed by a rapid redefinition to eliminate the "prejudgment without data" part, and to focus entirely on the social justice whining part--all without the tiniest shred of honesty in the re-writing of history of language or thought.

Tom said...

The Critical Theorists and their useful idiots are counting on the confusion caused by redefining terms to gain power. Plus, it allows them to equivocate when they need to defend their ideas.