Ammo Grrrll finds that we have come FULL CIRCLE. She writes:
When I was a teenager living in northern Minnesota, every single person in our small town was white. The dramatic civil rights struggle was unfolding “down South” and virtually everyone I knew was sympathetic to it. Pictures of ugly bullies dragging black people away from lunch counters or young black students trying to go to school had a powerful effect, even on distant white teenagers who had never known a black person.
When we discussed the issue in class or in private, we were mindful of using the approved polite terminology. I only heard the disgusting N-word once from a classmate trying to tell a “joke.” The teacher closed the door and dressed him down. Even calling black people “colored” was, by then, considered low-class. We all knew that “Negro” was the proper term. It was the term The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King used and that was good enough for us.
Soon enough, Black Power came to the forefront through Malcolm X and others and the new approved term became “black.” “Colored” wasn’t just low-class now; it was prima facie evidence of the cold heart of a racist. Next, Afro-American had a brief flurry of political correctness; but soon, SOMEBODY decided abbreviating “Afro” was somehow demeaning and the whole, cumbersome “African-American” held sway. Until about 15 years ago, give or take, when another new term dominated the field.
And you will NEVER guess what term came full circle! Yeah, no, seriously: they resurrected COLORED! Oh, it was cleverly disguised by putting “people” in front of it instead of behind it, but it’s still “colored.” It was obvious that one of the reasons was to enlarge the Grievance Pool and pretend that all people fell into only one of two categories: dreadful, racist, privileged white people and every other color bunched together in a solid phalanx against whitey.
It required us to pretend that black people faced identical challenges as kids adopted from China, or Vietnamese boat people, or Navajos, or wealthy Mexicans whose families had owned businesses in El Paso, Los Angeles or Albuquerque for decades. Why, a suburb-raised, college-educated waitress named Alexandra whose skin is barely even beige hopped on the Of Color Bandwagon too. If Sandy SAYS she is “of color,” then, by God, she is!
And nobody fought back. Not in academia, where such folderol takes root, nor in corporations where stern memos went out, nor in “journalism” where the stylebooks have to be re-issued about every 15 minutes to keep up.
It also flowed in part from a well-intentioned notion in which we were encouraged to think of every subgroup as PEOPLE FIRST. The theory was that if you called someone a “blind person” that you were emphasizing their disability first rather than their personhood. Fair enough. They became “people with visual impairment.” Whereas once “retarded” was a great leap forward in terminology from more demeaning terms, now we had to say “people with cognitive impairment.”
One tiny problem with People of Color was that there was no parallel form to emphasize the PERSONHOOD of white people. Oh well, who cares? Are genetic racists even people? If they complain, we’ll just call them fragile. Previously, we had Negro and Caucasian. We had black and white. We even had African-American and European-American, or however much hyphenated silliness you could come up with. I, myself, am an Irish-German-Danish-Dutch-American cis-normal female Jew of late, late middle age.
Family lore on my paternal side even postulated an American Indian of some indeterminate tribe. For some reason, the favored tribe to pretend to be part of is usually Cherokee. Sadly, my alleged ancestor must have been from a tribe with prominent thighs rather than high cheekbones. I’m still hoping to catch on at the Harvard faculty for approximately half a million a year, give or take. To teach one class.
It is a terrible thought crime to think of someone unlike yourself as an “Other.” Despite the fact that everyone NOT you, is, in fact, an OTHER. Yet, white people are being culled from the human herd and Othered to a fare-thee-well. There are all of us Good People of Color on this side – and then there are YOU TERRIBLE GUYS, who are just white. And that’s when they’re not appending “supremacists” onto the white. It gets tedious. To their great credit, there are tens of thousands of righteous black people who refuse to sign on to this new racist paradigm – from Terry Crews to Candace Owens to Tony Dungy to Alveda King. Most of whom are devout Christians and not interested in hatin’ on anybody for fun and profit.
Moving on. Fifty-six years ago my now-husband, the famous novelist Max Cossack, applied for college admission to a prestigious private college in Chicago. He has a broad, flat nose and very curly “Jewish” hair. He was actually told to make sure that his mandatory attached photo was “not too dark” because there was evidently grotesque racial discrimination alive and well in the area. (A few years later when we were married and seeking an apartment in Chicago, he not only had to apply in person, but had to produce a picture of his wife! Nobody ever claimed that there had never been bigotry in Mayor Daley’s Democrat Chicago.)
In try-outs for orchestras, there had been concern that the people doing the choosing might have a problem with that same kind of overt or even unconscious bias. The clever solution was the idea of blind auditions. (Auditions with visual impairment?)
And, indeed, after that, something like a third more women won spots in the orchestra. But, alas, STILL the orchestra didn’t “look like America,” unlike, say, the NBA. You will think I am making this up but I’m not. Efforts are now underway to bring BACK the ability of the decision-makers to make prominent note of the color and gender of the applicants and fill orchestra sections with approved categories rather than with musical prodigies. Full circle. Sorry, Russian Jewish immigrant or Chinese guy who practiced for 14 hours a day on your violin. Wrong color. Wrong gender. Just wrong. Merit is racist and it’s just not your turn.
The bigots of BLM, along with Antifa – mostly unattractive white radicals who know what’s best for black people — constitute the paramilitary wing of the Democrat Party. They have an apparent new mantra: Just Say No to a color-blind society! Just Say No to MLK’s Dream where character trumps skin color. Turns out the new Democrat racists believe that the old Democrat racists were on the right track after all: Character is actually racist! Skin color uber alles. Again, we have come full circle. Hail the Brave New Racists! Same Party, same bilge. Reject them en masse in November.