It was hard for me to hear these activists and accept their concerns. I had been fighting with them for nearly five years. I was tired and angry. But I started to wonder what those activists had been through.
I can't help but think that what is driving this 'embrace of race' narrative is a form of narcissism. Today, the individual reigns supreme and everyone is 'special'. The only thing that will cure this inward, self-consumed thinking is for people to forget about themselves for a moment and embrace other people and get involved in local government and organizations that used to and still provide 'community' - like churches & civic organizations. I have said to my kids on numerous occasions, "It's not always about YOU". To live a really satisfying life, this sentiment has to be embraced.
What so many don't understand about safe spaces is that there is an asking for equality, while also asking for special treatment, an asking for integration where it suits, and segregation where it allows victimhood to be celebrated. How am I to see you as an equal if you won't allow yourself to be seen that way?
I agree with Ye Zhang Pogue's underlying thesis emphasizing empathy and starting from the most charitable assessment of your interlocutor's position. While I believe that baseline should apply to all individual interactions, I'm not sure that self-proclaimed advocates are entitled to the same level of deference.
One must not forget that the explosion in advocacy groups, all vying for donations and grants, is a multi-million, if not multi-billion dollar industry. For professional advocates and their organizations, their raison d'etre is to grow, raise more money, and implement their agenda, regardless of its merit. By way of example, The Human Rights Campaign was ostensibly created for the purpose of making gay marriage legal. Once it succeeded, did it declare victory, close up shop and leave its $60+ million annual budget to be redistributed to other organizations with worthy causes? No, it pivoted to trans issues so that it could keep the money flowing and growing its ranks. Survival and growth is as much an institutional imperative as it is a human imperative.
With that in mind, I found the reference to to the Atlanta spa shooting particularly relevant because as more evidence came out about that shooting, it became clear that the motivation had little or nothing to do with the victims being Asian but the demons the shooter was dealing with regarding his sexual urges, which is why he targeted massage parlors. The fact that a disproportionate number of massage parlors are owned and staffed by Asians was the reason most of the victims were Asian, but not the motive behind the shooting. Nonetheless, the rise in Asian hate crime narrative was perpetuated and never corrected because it was necessary for the advocacy groups to justify their existence, their budgets and their desires for growth. I admit my view may be fairly interpreted as cynical but as the old line goes, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't trying to kill you."
Here's a simple rule I live by : do not stereotype others based upon their "group" (race, ethnicity, gender, etc). Period. And if you choose to stereotype other groups are you willing for your group to also be stereotyped? We are individuals and we should evaluate others based upon what they say , what they do, what they value.
When I was nine we moved to the north of England. People said, literally, “do you live in an igloo? “. They felt because of American movies that my brothers and I should be able to fight really well and so the biggest and scariest would approach us and punch us to see how we fight. In the middle of class, the teacher sprinkled derogatory opinions about random Canadian themed topics i hadnt considered, including aspects of my behaviour. How at school lunch i did not reverse my fork was one. That Canadian cars were big and wasteful as if in some way this was a personal fault of mine. But I was nothing if not eager to fit in. Yorkshire people are blunt, you couldn’t be a sissy because all would be lost, political suicide, but eventually I made friends. In self-defence one of my brothers adopted a Yorkshire accent. All this to say, consider what you think is racism is humanity’s reaction to outsiders since we came out of the trees - a mistrust of outsiders? We’ve raised a generation that can’t manage adversity, craves validation, see offence everywhere and are not resilient. How could they begin to fit in with this mindset? Free advice: Be yourself, don’t be so quick to be offended, do the work To fit in and you will and if you don’t move on.
Sorry, but my faith calls me to see all humans as being of equal value, and my values call me to judge others by their choices. Those who make the CHOICE to be overtly racist, and openly advocate for that sort of resentfulness being imposed on innocent children, are bad people. They are woke, not awake. Many rapist have had crummy lives, often without consensual relationships, but they are still responsible for their choice to harm an innocent person. Every single person in this world has faced trauma, disappointment, sadness, and hurt. It’s not an excuse to destroy society.
FAIR has been unimpressive as of late. From printing nonsense about just “accepting” activists - who go around trying to destroy strangers and kids, to printing fluff pieces asserting, with ZERO actual evidence, there are situations that child sterilization and genital mutilation actually “helps” the child 🙄, it appears it took little time for this institution to get captured.
This is a bad take, and a sad and counter-mission puff piece for FAIR to publish. Sure, if I were born to crackheads I’d probably be a crackhead, but just because I could have bee come a crackhead doesn’t make the crackhead/non-crackhead “perspective” morally equivalent. One option is clearly to be desired above the other. One is healthy for a society to adopt and the other is damaging for an individual and dangerous for a society when it becomes widespread.
The problem with the woke race mob is that they are wrong and immoral and they insist that others join in their wrongness and immorality at the literal threat of violence. There’s nothing to “both sides” here, no equivalence between anti-human ideas and pro-human ideas other than a false equivalence that prioritizes non-confrontation over truth.
It is not my intention to disparage Ms. Pogue's feelings. I agree with her desire that "maybe we could sit down and have a conversation and try to understand each other." The problem is that these activists, and their prolific allies in the media, academia, Hollywood, and now Corporate America, don't want to sit down and have a discussion. In fact, as I'm sure Ms. Pogue has has noticed, these Marxist inspired radicals are doing everything they can to demonize and silence those with opinions that differ from their leftist playbooks. In the past we had places called colleges where young people felt comfortable robustly debating contentious issues. There were actually professors back then who encouraged such divergent opinions in their classrooms. That does not exist anymore Ms. Pogue. Any student who now expresses any thoughts that stray from the leftist cult narrative leaves themselves vulnerable to cancelation in the form of lower grades, vicious slander, assaults, social isolation and loss of friends. Ms. Pogue, your first instinct that these groups were "villainous" was correct but now you appear to be equivocating. Was staying with your initial instincts too dangerous? Were you made to feel vulnerable to villainous attacks from these monstrously hateful and divisive people? You see Ms. Pogue, I'm a 67 year old former lifetime left of center Democrat who dedicated my life to helping those less fortunate. I taught students with learning and behavior problems for 13 years and then worked the next 30 as an urban public defender. I voted for Obama twice only to see him set back race relations decades during his second term with messages of deceit. While we should have been celebrating the immense progress in the area of racism, that Obama's two presidencies represented, the villainous left, with help from Obama and his many allies, ushered in numerous false narratives and lies; lies against law enforcement and against America; lies that have spiraled us into tribal factions and a very real civil war. The first lie, and a deadly one at that, was the lie that the police shoot blacks at a higher rate than whites because police are imbued with homicidal bias. Read Heather McDonald's book: The War On Cops, to understand that while police do shoot blacks at a rate higher than their population size (13% of population and 23% of all police shootings), when measured against higher black crime rates, the police actually shoot whites at a higher rate. (See also a study by black Harvard Economics professor Roland Fryer). Another lie against whites is that white supremacists are the greatest threats to blacks and other minorities than any other threats. Look at how the D. Party spun the Atlanta Spa shooting. Anti Asian attacks from whites are a huge problem in America they proclaimed. They saw the incident as an opportunity to turn Asians into another minority "victim" group. However, the crazed white spa shooter was not motivated by anti Asian hatred and no hate crime was even charged. The Democrats knew that then but went forward with the lie. This obviously makes the shooting no less horrifying but the Democrats tried to use this incident to forward another false narrative against whites. Look at all of the hate crime in NYC and you'll clearly see that the group that poses the greatest threat to the safety of Asian Americans isn't white. The other big lie is that America is a "systemically racist" country. America is the least racist multicultural country in the world which is why black and brown people are requesting, in droves, to be allowed to come here. The Democrat Party has become the Party of deceit and are trying desperately to bully everyone into silence. You should not back off your initial instincts Ms. Pogue. Don't let them intimidate you and bully you into a state of neutrality. They are villainous, and while we should welcome every opportunity to debate them, we must also remain steadfast in our efforts to keep them from silencing us through threats and violence. God Bless You and God Bless America.
First let me point out that I have been married to the most wonderful Asian woman and partner for 48 years. I spend my time between the Asian community and my what is called the racist world of being white. We both grew up poor and understand how hard life can be. We have both suffered discrimination and some hostility based on race, ethnic background and even religion. She is Buddist and I am Christian. However we both attend each other's services.
What we have learned is to take care of ourselves and our family. Screw what others think, feel or like. They pay no bills or mean anything to our family. So we could care less. She is naturalized citizen and has stood next to high level Dignitaries and Generals. Traveled into and out of the country at least 60 times and never a problem.
We are helping recently found family who makes welfare seem like luxury. No electricity or running water. They hunt frogs and fish to supplement their rice. Put yourself there and then look where you are. We will fix that and we should all try to help someone versus changing what will always be. People historically dislike based on some issue. Religion, skin color, and even tribal association.
I know Asian people face issues and so do others of color. I really believe our issues are we will not accept some folks are ignorant, unwilling, and unable to accept others. Even the ethnic community has this between themselves. I have listened to the conversations and the looks I get when I try to point out that they are all Asian. Nope, they come from that country and can not be trusted. I just walk away.
I say let's concentrate on getting kids educated, health care and opportunity for decent jobs versus worrying about our feelings.
There are so many people worldwide who in an instant would trade places just to be in a country of opportunity and ability to upgrade their lives.
Remember, those who look at your skin color first before knowing you are probably not worth your time and effort.
I have no more desire to spend my limited time with people whose "message was all about how kids of color should build solidarity among themselves, and that “families of color” will naturally come together by viewing their oppression “through the lens of white privilege,” and by acknowledging that this oppression is caused by “the systemic racism upon which our society was built.”
...than I do with white supremacists, actual racists, fools, mean greedy people, and losers, of all shades. I don't have to care, and the more poc /woke libs make such absurd claims, the less I want to help, and the more I wonder why I gave such issues 30 yrs of my life. I could just buy a corvette.
Thanks for writing this, it isn't discussed enough. It's just as easy for people to demonize the 'woke' ideology, as it is for them to demonize everyone else.
I'd like to add that I think using intellectual empathy (as opposed to emotional empathy) is a better framework to bridge this social divide. It's far too easy to let our emotions get the better of us, and a more thoughtful compassioned approach would do wonders for reducing the destructive polarization that is gripping our country.
Terrific piece. We can’t honestly advocate for a worldview based on shared humanity by pitting ourselves against our fellow man. However, *ideas* must do battle, which is one of the main points of the culture war. People are allowed to be ideologically inclined to reject common humanity, but they must not be allowed to gain societal ascendancy. That’s why this damn culture war must be fought. The task, then, is to convince a critical mass of people to shift the conflict away from attacking one another and into the realm of debating the merits of ideas. Better listening and the principle of charity are a great start, even if primarily one-sided at first.
Ye Zhang, I really appreciate your perspective and the generous tone you sound in your article. If we advocate pro-human approach as an alternative to essentialism (as Bion puts it), we have to practice and model that stance towards those with whom we strongly disagree.
Kumbaya, baby! You've bought the scam hook, line, and sinker.
Does data, rational thought, reality have NO place in your being? Only your subjective reactions to events, ideas, and other people - "your" truths? Think of what your conjecture that you could easily have been "on the other side" if only your life experience had been similar to those of your political adversaries. Really? What does that say about you? Nothing good or of lasting value.
Thank you for sharing your journey. I think its important to love one another as fellow human beings and to understand where they are coming from.. I really liked the experience you shared about the officer.. I'm white so i would have experienced it different.. However, if the officer was a black women my first thought might have been that she hated white people.. The problem with the race activist is that they perpetrate the racism that they claim to hate.. I grew up in the south during the civil rights movement.. I had neighbors who would be considered racist by todays standards.. But they didn't see themselves that way... They felt justified based on their experience and saw them selves as good, righteous people. I see no difference between them and the race activists now... No one wants to think of themselves as a bad person.. Its much easier to look outward and see the bad in others. I hope I get an opportunity to read more of your work in the future.
Stop called them woke? Why? They chose that word to describe themselves! The idea was that the rest of us are asleep (unaware).