Editor’s note: Post was republished with further thoughts and an expansion upon of commentary upon the impact of history and culture on a people.
“Appalachia’s idea of a moderate drinker was the mountain man who limited himself to a single quart [of whiskey] at a sitting, explaining that more ‘might fly to my head’. Other beverages were regarded with contempt.”
Bold title huh? To some extent the answer is, yes. Governments ARE us. Blame can be thrown out for some issues, but it can’t alleviate our responsibility completely in how our nations, provinces, regions, etc form and operate.
Despite Mongolian domination and destruction for 300+ years, China is not a shithole while parts of Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, etc. are.
Well a people’s culture are actually VERY significant as are the traditions, heritage, language, and attitudes that shape them, their history, and set foundations for their future. Let’s get down to brass tax.
Governor Pat Brown of California said, “Goldwater’s acceptance speech had the stench of fascism. All we needed to hear was Heil Hitler.” Mayor Jack Shelley of San Francisco claimed that Goldwater strategists got all their ideas from Mein Kampf
Imagine going out with your family for walk to the park in urban New York or Chicago. Getting ready to leave and wanting to keep the sun out of your eyes, you quickly grab a #MAGA off the shelf thinking nothing of it. Maybe you put on a dirty NRA shirt or something resembling a pro-Trump slogan.
You are on a brisk stroll there enjoying the fresh air. WHAM! Sudden pain and dizziness fills your head from someone ambushing you from behind with a punch. Maybe they attack your wife and girlfriend as well because guilt by association. Perhaps they continue beating you after you’ve fallen on the ground and make threats about what will happen to you and your kids if you dare set foot on their street again.
No, this has happened quite yet, but we are on a path toward normalizing the random beatdowns of people wearing the wrong clothes, hats, slogans, logos, and saying the wrong opinions in supposedly safe public places. First and foremost, this seems to be now normal routine at “protest” and “rally” locations in the last few years across the country and specifically in Blue strongholds.
Regardless of what mortals you follow, adore, admire, and pay homage you will at some point disagree with them. Whether it’s most of the time or almost never, no one will ever hold exactly all the viewpoints that you have come to cherish.
A tweet from Milo Yiannapolous prompted the above line of thought in which he voices disagreement with libertarians on the NSA spying incident – color my libertarian tendencies irked.
Obviously, he is mistaken, as his his later tweet about Snowden being a traitor and not a hero. I’m also above reproach in my conclusion.
Today, the internet echo-chamber or “communities” as we call them is often bereft of any actual substance in discussion when it comes to disagreement over just about anything. Dissenters are labeled “concern trolls” or just “trolls” in general. In fact the word, “troll” has lost it’s meaning because of the abuse of the term.
Throw in “safe-spaces” and this takes on a whole new layer of people who immediately dismiss anything that comes from an opposing side. If you make the mistake of identifying with a label that is considered “bad” or triggering, everything you say is immediately dismissed – regardless of the validity of what you say.
We need to start judging statements, comments, and opinions based on what they actually are – the merit and validity of them – instead of who said them. Whether they come from a radical liberal feminist or a neo-con warhawk, it shouldn’t matter; we need to reject guilt by association.
Well, I don’t agree. Okay, I couldn’t resist. Take a look at this specific observation:
“Which one of us agrees on everything with any other single person? No one! Certainly, many of us share similar passions and congregate according to common interests, it’s only human to interact with those who you resonate easily with. But if you dig deeper, or you spend enough time together, it isn’t long before one discovers there are indeed some, if not many points of disagreements with those we are in relationship with.”
As she points out, no one will ever agree on everything, but with today’s identity politics and culture its often either all or nothing. If someone doesn’t share enough “similar” passions, interests, and convictions, chances are that most people won’t give anything they say the time of day. This is more likely if they know about your “opinions” and affiliations before they evaluate what you’ve actually said.
“If we are honest with ourselves, adding the phrase is a form of social insurance. We want to protect ourselves from the risk of being associated with certain things this person represents. “
It certainly is a form of social insurance, but why?
People seem conditioned to pre-judge and make assumptions based on labels and what they “represent”, so what choice is there but to adjust? Unfortunately, this is the reality of where we are at. It rather sucks that these qualifiers are needed, but can anyone point to topics of conversation where they aren’t?
The risk of being associated with someone who is deemed a racist, bigot, homophobe, ect or any other culturally deemed demagogues can be cause for your employment to be revoked. Consider Razib Khan who was initially hired by the New York Times, but then let go because of his “association” with right-wing publications who were deemed to be mired in racism. So much for diversity of opinion right?
Shockingly, the fact that he isn’t even white was enough to save him from the wrath of social justice warriors who usually excuse certain people from terrible actions, deeds, and statements based purely on their genetics. Another mighty journalism giant bows before Gawker and SJWs. Apparently, all you need to do is label someone a racist enough to make them suffer the effects of today’s modern heresy.
For instance, Cindy describes herself as “social justice-y” on the side bar of her site. GASP!
Someone, pull the alarm. Danger is near.
My spidey sense is tingling.
Now a large amount of people will probably dismiss anything she has to say because of the affiliation with social justice. Don’t make that mistake; don’t fall prey to guilt by association. I may fall to this ever constant trap subconsciously, but then force myself to read what is actually state. Some exceptions are made for Tumblr…
I strongly disagree with almost everything modern day social justice folks advocate – what normal sane person wouldn’t – but I won’t necessarily dismiss something because of who is advocating it.
“We can dialogue with people as people, other human beings with different personalities, life experiences, and ideas. We can celebrate common ground without erecting walls or drawing boundary lines. We can connect without disclaimers, embracing the whole of our conversation partner along with her ideas. Let’s base our conversations with one another from a place of shared humanity instead of basing it on fear by association. “
Is this really possible? Can we connect without disclaimers? I don’t think we can.
Tales From The Online Crypt
I recently encountered and “argued” with some conservatives on TheRightScoop about the subject of police abuse. Obviously, they deny this is a real problem. In order to even get them to look at anything I have to say, I had to utter the following disclaimer, “I’m not a democrat…”
This is of course true, but if I didn’t point this out, said conservatives would assume I’m some sort of liberal because I disagree with one of their viewpoints.
Behold, the current state of online discourse.
If you disagree with someone on an issue you are immediately considered to be a follower of the opposing “side”. If you disagree with some of the trash on the Huffington Post, you are a right-wing bigot, ect, ect, ect. If you take issue with something on Breitbart you are left-wing marxist, socialist, ect, ect, ect. Qualifiers are absolutely necessary.
“The power of association, of tribes, of communities, is so strong that we take extra measures to ensure boundaries are clearly marked, compelling us to insert disclaimers even in casual conversation. We are so fearful of being grouped with the “wrong” crowd as perceived by the person we are speaking with.
I do not think this is a healthy way to dialogue. I think it is a sign of disrespect to curate someone’s ideas, extracting it from their whole selves with all of their complexities and personhood.”
She is right; it’s not a healthy way to dialogue. Yes, we must consider the context of a person – if that makes sense – which is necessary to fully understand their ideas and why they have them. However, in today’s charged, “guilt by association” culture, you absolutely have to introduce qualifiers into the conversation or anything you say will be dismissed based on you supposedly are.
One popular “Debate” tactic is Godwin’s law. To sum that up, it means that you equate a certain argument, idea, or even person to Hitler. This of course invalidates anything they have to say. Or does it?
This time-held tactic is “guilt by association/wrong by association” and is employed by disingenuous teenagers, tumblrites, and many adults who want to shout down others based on who they are, rather then what they’ve said on extremely important blogs and websites where their comments clearly make a difference.
Don’t be one of “those” people.
People who engage in daily displays on their Facebook feeds in guilt by association tactics usually have something in common; they are angry, upset, and jaded.
Their life is a never ending stream of un-fulfilled selfies, self-loathing, and vicious attacks on anyone who looks like they wallowed in depression for weeks upon end. All of these bitter people online have one goal in mind; if they can’t be happy – neither can you.
Go outside of your bubble and live.
It’s been said that you can’t argue with certain people, and that is true. Argument however shouldn’t be the goal of every interaction. You don’t need to “win”. All you need to do is engage, discuss, and see if any new seeds are planted in either your mind or your “opponent.” In order to any of that, you must reject guilt by association.
Perhaps, you may just develop a relationship with someone where you don’t need qualifiers, but you must take the initiative to do just that.
I encourage all to go out and have face-to-face conversations with people you know you disagree with. You will be surprised at what happens when both of you or others involved have a conversation that isn’t based on “convincing” anyone of a particular point, but is focused on the exchange of ideas and worldviews.
This is how you grow and become a more rounded individual.
It is one of the first steps in today’s vicious culture in becoming a renaissance man.
Nothing can destroy your career, cost you Facebook friends, and present many other life-enduring difficulties such as people believing that you are racist or have done something racist. Being declared as a racist is almost like being labeled a heretic in the 14th century, except you might not be burned at the stake… yet.
“Cultural appropriation” is just the newest frontier in the fight against racism – a struggle that looks like it will never be overcome, not even in the most luscious of utopias. It is also a cleverly designed tactic by certain folks to not only stop “racism”, but to make sure that it continues to endure and spread. You can shout cultural appropriation when a member of a different race, culture, ethnicity, ect does something similar to your own. Once they stop, you can then shout, “Non-inclusive environments and ingrained structural racism is preventing them from appreciating the unique aspects of our culture in society!” It’s a brilliant Catch-22 and a way to always have something “ethno-centric and racial-centric” to criticize. Page views over controversial headlines anyone?
Now, I’m half-white and I can play the “genocide” card, so luckily when I enter into specific left-wing conversations and “internet spaces”, nothing I do can be racist because there is no such thing as reverse racism, members of the oppressing class can’t be oppressed ect. Sweeping labels and generalizations really are a wondrous thing.
“I felt nothing but frustration and anger watching Swift’s quirky twerk and even more anger as I watched her crawl on her knees beneath a line of twerking bodies. The coy look on her face as she stared at the bodies above her made me sick. It wasn’t just problematic. It was racist.”
She ends this article with a stern warning about the effects of cultural appropriation.
“Cultural appropriation might be a current hot topic for bloggers and those who consider themselves to be allies of women of color, but for women of color like me, it’s another reminder of all the ways in which my identity is constantly being devalued, mocked, and trivialized by the media and its stars. “
Remember the white girl who donned some lengthy braids a few weeks back? She was eviscerated on social media, because apparently people of African descent own braids. Apparently, there are many styles, foods, ideas, ect owned by certain cultures and those of us not in those particular cultures are left in stark and utter confusion as to whether we can make their food, listen to their music, or become Hindus. At this point, we might as well throw Eminem to the dogs because “rap” is clearly owned by black folks.
There seems to be this fine line between “appropriating minority culture” and embracing someone’s cultural ideas, styles, ect. Can it happen in the reverse? Is all of history simply “cultural appropriation”? Tumblr of course tells us that cultural appropriation can only happen one way, specifically when concerned with “White supremacy, white privilege, entitlement, colonialism, ect.” There is a GIGANTIC elephant in the “cultural appropriation” room. It’s called multiculturalism – a deeply held value by many of those who also hold onto the idea of “cultural appropriation
It is very disturbing that in one breath people can rage about about society not being “inclusive” and then in the next use phrases like cultural appropriation? The entire idea of cultural appropriation seems to be a direct contradiction in the embracing of the values of multiculturalism. Or we can embrace the segregation of cultures with concepts like, “cultural appropriation” and then rage as to why racism and cultural conflict is “still” on the never-ending rise.
Wherever this “line” is, I’m still not sure.
A sneaking suspicion arises in my mind. Those who claim “cultural appropriation” and offense from are desperate to find something to label, “racist”, so that people will pay attention to them. Rising to the number one slot in the “Oppression Olympics” is far more important than real racism, because in order for the country to supposedly conquer racism, there must always be perpetual outrage concerning the subject, even if no racism is witnessed in one’s daily life.
Simply put, if you can’t find racism in someone’s actions or words, find something new to insinuate as “racist”. I am however starting to not care about claims of cultural appropriation, whether someone else commits them or I do.
If you do want to call out and maintain a consistent platform that prohibits “Cultural Appropriation”, here are some great places to think about and start!
“1. Eating at Chinese restaurants by white Americans and other majority non-Chinese should be looked down upon, as it entails the physical ingestion of Chinese culture.
2. Anyone who suffers a serious but non-permanent physically debilitating injury shouldn’t be allowed the use of a wheelchair, as this is an ableist appropriation of differently abled culture.
3. Members of the privileged and oppressive white majority should never, under any circumstances, expose themselves to black entertainment or express an appreciation for it. Jay Z is for black men and women only and the producers of 12 Years a Slave should give back the film’s Best Picture Oscar in the name of making a direct statement against appropriation. The same goes for Latino entertainment. Production on Machete Kills in Space by Open Road Films should be halted immediately.
4. Under no circumstances should members of the privileged class give their children ethnic names without the express written consent of a majority of that culture or a dual ruling from the staff of Salon.com and that woman who runs Shakesville. Anglo Americans specifically should be required to research proposed names for their children to ensure that the meaning of each name has no ethnic connotation going back at least four generations. Also, no Biblical names unless one is Jewish or otherwise related by blood to the cultures of the Middle East and holy land.
5. Heterosexuals or members of the heteronormative patriarchy may not, during karaoke, perform the version of Willkommen made famous by Alan Cumming in the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret, as that would be an immeasurable appropriation of gay and bisexual culture. Likewise, no one outside of the LGBT, specifically the trans, community should be allowed to watch and enjoy RuPaul’s Drag Race.”