Hipster Hate, and Racism

In my opinion, the charge of “racism” is thrown about far too casually by many people, and this has been true for at least two or three decades now.  Those prone to this sort of thing zealously sniff around, hoping to find allegedly racist undertones and subtexts in the comments of others, all too often in an embarrassingly, even pathetically, obvious quest to demonstrate their own superior moral sensitivities and to publicly prostrate themselves before the idolatrous god of political correctness, which has an insatiable appetite for sacrificial offerings.  (See Matthew 23:5-7.)

Racism is a very serious sin, but the racial McCarthyism indulged in by some — sometimes sincerely, sometimes merely to score a cheap partisan or ideological advantage, and sometimes, I think, to secure social status or in-group acceptance — serves, among other things, to obscure genuine cases of racism, which deserve to stand out in lonely, unambiguous, and undisguised clarity so that they can be recognized and condemned by all decent people.

Here’s a little article highlighting a contemporary pop-cultural specimen of hypertrophied concern with race.

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  • GeorgeLocke

    was checking to see if you had written about the Mormon church’s history regarding race (you said you might, not that you would) and I found this. Of course there is self-righteousness in the world. Conservatives complain about PC liberals. Liberals complain about “family values” politicians who routinely turn up on Grindr etc.

    If you see any bad faith or posturing in the Lindy West article referred to in that NR article, I’d like to see you explain why you think so. Verbruggen concludes his piece with this: “If the Left expects Americans to take its crusade against modern racism seriously, it will have to find better examples of bias than the predominantly white cast of Girls and some harmless jokes from adorable pop stars.” He does not even acknowledge that white Americans have a long history of appropriating black culture in racist ways, the history that people like West or myself argue continues, nor does he deign to consider the overwhelming preponderance of whiteness in popular media, which makes an all-white cast problematic (not to say that every such instance is “racist”). But at least he doesn’t suggest that when liberals complain about this happening, here with Girls, they are doing so merely because they like to stamp their feet and point fingers.

    You may disagree with West, but your contention that her opinion is mere posturing is basically poisioning the well: “Anybody who says something that insane can’t be serious.” Yes we can. If you don’t want to engage with our ideas, could you at least refrain from slandering us?

    • DanielPeterson

      The post to which you’re responding was written more than a year ago, so I’m having a bit of a hard time thinking myself back into it. When you quote somebody as believing that “”Anybody who says something that insane can’t be serious,” you seem to be quoting ME. But I can’t see that you are. So, since the quotation itself is fabricated, I’m not sure exactly where I’m supposed to have “slandered” you.

      • GeorgeLocke

        Yes, the words, “Anybody who says something that insane can’t be serious,” are mine, intended to illustrate how you’ve poisoned the well. You haven’t engaged with the arguments except to say that the arguers are acting in bad faith, which dodges the issue by poisoning the well, and it is a character attack. If you don’t think criticism like Lindy West’s is worth taking seriously, that’s your prerogative, but bringing it up just so you can call her and others like her dishonest seems shady.

        • DanielPeterson

          Well, I’m traveling in England right now, and have little time for the internet, let alone for this exchange. Perhaps I’ll look more carefully at what you’re trying to say when I get back. But then again, perhaps not.


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