Things change, definitions change, and sometimes, it’s hard to keep up.
Case in point: Not long ago, we were told “gender” is the same as “sex.”
Then, it was said gender is absolutely nothing but a social construct.
Later, news came ’round that gender’s merely a case of personal identity.
Further along, we were informed gender is 100% congenital:
If a woman has a penis, her penis is a biologically female penis.
— Text ITSWALELA TO 61474 (@IndyaMoore) February 17, 2019
On Saturday — hours before MSNBC and others declared Joe Biden as America’s 46th president — another language update arrived courtesy of anti-racism author Ibram X. Kendi.
Ibram confirmed the nefarious nature of select terms, including “crackbaby” and “handout.”
Also: “personal responsibility.”
Particularly timely was the laid-out lewdness of legal voting.
Ibram taught the Twitterverse:
“The term ‘legal vote’ is as fictionally fraught and functionally racist as the terms ‘illegal alien’ and ‘race neutral’ and ‘welfare queen’ and ‘handouts’ and ‘super predator’ and ‘crackbaby’ and ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘post racial.’”
I commend him for the alliteration of “fictionally,” “fraught,” and “functionally.”
Otherwise, according to the author, if non-white ticket-punching was a pie, it might be cooked with fraud filling:
“The misinformation of widespread voter fraud — or ‘illegal voting’ — in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Phoenix where Black and Brown voters predominate is baked into the term ‘legal vote.’ No matter what GOP propaganda says, there’s nothing wrong with those voters and votes.”
The misinformation of widespread voter fraud—or “illegal voting”—in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Phoenix where Black and Brown voters predominate is baked into the term “legal vote.” No matter what GOP propaganda says, there’s nothing wrong with those voters and votes.
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) November 7, 2020
So how is one to distinguish between legality and illegality without becoming somebody who judges people according to their race, AKA a racist?
The answer seems unclear.
The Daily Wire attempted a breakdown:
Kendi, who is not an attorney, didn’t appear to offer any way to discern between a vote made in accordance with local and state laws (i.e., a legal vote) and a vote made not in accordance with them. But the anti-racism guru did add, however, that what “makes a term racist is rarely the term’s literal meaning, and almost always the historical and political context in which the term is being used.”
“There are so many more terms like this. What did I leave out?”
There are so many more terms like this. What did I leave out?
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) November 7, 2020
As for “anti-racism,” it might be the most nuanced noun of all.
Earlier this year, CNN crafted a crash course:
Being anti-racist means more than ridding yourself of racist attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. It means you’re also actively fighting that reprehensible trinity as it manifests in your life on a daily basis.
Donating to activist organizations and protesting injustices are definitely good starts to becoming an ally. But that’s not enough. Actively rebutting prejudices in your own circles is key to lasting change, as those ideas and beliefs — unless challenged — are what our children absorb and are woven into the fabric of our culture.
Some white people know that to become anti-racist, they must start to listen and brush up on the history of racism in their countries.
Some people are describing obviously racist behavior as the the tip of the iceberg — calling people racist names or threatening people on the basis of race. Then there’s the part of the iceberg that’s not easily visible to people if they’re not looking. This includes a range of subtle but insidious attitudes, behaviors and policies.
Microaggressions can be intentional, unintentional or even well-meaning, but they communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial assumptions to the receiver. And they have an insidious effect on a black person’s psyche and continuing racist assumptions.
Three such microaggressions:
- “Don’t blame me. I never owned slaves.”
- “All lives matter.”
- “I’m colorblind; I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, green or purple.”
The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.
Back to Ibram’s tweet, responses were mixed:
If the whole system is “structured racism” why even complain about it? Why even tweet this? Why even vote?
— Vote NO for President (@eickmier) November 7, 2020
Thank you for so succinctly distilling the revulsion I’ve had towards this tactic the past two days. You’re entirely correct.
— Billy Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (@AminosBilly) November 7, 2020
Even if they’re dead?
— jeff andrick (@jpagolfman) November 7, 2020
I agree and want to change that term.
— Noelle Morris (@firstnoellem) November 7, 2020
I thought it was an accident the prior four times, but here you go again- stating the same exact nonsense as is it is true. pic.twitter.com/QxUKGKtgJ0
— Wayward Fisherman 👣 (@no_1_special__) November 7, 2020
It’s a complicated world; try and keep up.
And for Pete’s sake, try not to be racist.
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