Identity Politics in 2020
The New Jim Crow: Tag, You’re It!
I love to do Improv. I have taken numerous Improv classes in the US and EU and, now, online. I find joy (and relief from the ugly times upon us) in playing with other people to create a spontaneous moment of shared and spontaneous fantasy in a spirit of playful joy.
Improv people talk about “making a safe space” where physical, emotional and verbal playfulness is neither violent nor hurtful. Until today.
I received a confirmation for a “drop in” class (open to all comers, play as you like) which is a blatantly racist, exclusionary and probably illegal notification which reads, in full, minus the Zoom link:
Thanks for your registration! This is a weekly drop in class for people of all levels (never done it before to advanced) so whenever you’re available, you can drop in! Just be sure you register for the class each week. Friendly reminder that this class is for Black people, Indigenous people and People of Color only. We are offering this class to help build diversity in the improv community which is overwhelmingly white. Improvisers are storytellers and who is telling the stories matters.
I am not welcome because I do not present myself (or because others do not perceive me as) this or that or the other. True, I could PASS for any of them by asserting that I am one or another of those designations, but why should anyone have to be black or white or, for that matter, green, to do Improv, sit at a lunch counter, attend a school, marry a loved one, live in a neighborhood of their choosing or be equally treated before the law or by an admissions committee of Improv Commissars?
Black Lives Matter. But movements that proclaim that they matter MORE than other lives are, in my opinion, dangerous, wrong-headed and, as social justice movements, invalid.
Social justice is never ultimately achieved by social injustice just as peace is never ultimately achieved by violence.
War is achieved by war. Violence is achieved by violence. Death is achieved by death. And racism, justified as social justice, is racism. What it spawns is more of same.
I am no stranger to social justice movements, nor am I any stranger to controversy inside and outside of those movements.
I was kicked out of my first social justice organization 62 years ago, when I was only 14. for questioning, in a public lecture/indoctrination session, the idea that the State of Israel had the right to relegate Palestinians to second class citizenship because, as the lecturer said, “not fully human” and I took vigorous exception to this blatant bigotry.
But, really, isn’t that where we are again, 6+ decades later where it has once again become de regure to exclude people because of racist qualifications (or disqualifications)?
It does not matter how wronged your parents or (great)x parents were. If YOU are wronged, band together with others to fix the structural problem and confront the particular event, Becoming a reciprocal racist fixes nothing. Ashville NC just voted to pay reparations to blacks for the long, hideous history of slavery. This is not even noble insanity. It is just barefaced, half-baked madness.
Jim Crow FOR some group is identical to Jim Crow AGAINST another group and the cycle repeats endlessly.
Look, I am Jewish. How much would Ashville NC or Yassar Arafat. Angela Merkel or the President of Russia like to pay me for thousands of years of vile oppression? How much do you, personally, owe the survivors of Pol Pot in dollars and cents?
This is a logic of irrationality with hair bows applied of actuarial precision. It is social lipstick on the lips of a pig that should have been slaughtered long ago. Racism begets racism if glorified, justified and reified. It should be vilified, not dignified, no matter whose lips it falls from.
Yes, groups suffer under unfair and unequal conditions. We are duty bound to fix those problems to guarantee that everyone is, in fact, equal before the law and does have equal opportunity. But equal for some, not others, opportunity for some, not others, is not the fix. It is the problem and must be addressed systemically and particularly as such.
Oh, by the way, I will be investigating whether the Improv announcement I received violates FTC and other regulatory and statutory requirements. If so, I will make a formal complaint. If not, I will rely on good sense of the Improv group to see the vile impact of their probably well-intended acts.
What are you, personally, doing today to insure social and racial justice in your neighborhood, organizations, families, states and countries? How are you, personally, using social media to promote equality and fair play, along with the rule of law (racism is against the law in the US in a wide variety of venues and situations)? Can you do more? What more?
Make a resolve to do more and then, WAIT FOR IT….. DO IT!
If there were no Social Media, it would be necessary to invent a tool as potent and impactful as this one. Use it.
Yours in health and freedom,
5 thoughts on “The Opposite of Jim Crow is Jim Crow”
Everyone should read this! Racism=Racism=Racism.
Cisco fires 237 apparently Caucasian employees for making comments that were not deemed politically correct. When will Cisco move its HQ to Beijing? https://www.zerohedge.com/political/cisco-fires-employees-question-black-lives-matter-during-company-wide-racism-discussion
I read the “limited scope” article you shared.
Wow Seriously? So you think that the 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech supersedes being a kind, thoughtful, equity seeking citizen to all peoples regardless of their color, ethnicity, or race?
I am so sorry but in the moral jury of the universe, in the great kingdom of heaven of Jesus, in the temple of Moses, in the depths of all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and in the sanctuary of Buddha -being kind to all beings, all colors, races, and ethnicities will always be at the top of the pyramid no matter how much you want to kid yourself.
Using the “poor me, I’m white” strategy and then claiming it’s all in the name of free speech at the cost of others’ safety, sanity, housing, security, retirement savings, bank loans, offspring and LIFE itself has no redemption in the great jury hall of your own self judgement.
You can run but you cannot hide. Your conscience is watching you.
I do not use the ‘”poor me, I’m white” strategy’ and, frankly, cannot imagine where you come up with that interpretation of what I wrote.
And I, too, believe in being kind and just and gentle and taking care of everyone’s feeling. I do NOT believe, however, in segmented entitlement: we are ALL entitled to that care and love. All of us, regardless of the rather minor characteristic of skin color.
We are all part of the same family so all lives matter. No one should be discriminated against, or for.
As I said in my piece, the opposite of Jim Crowe is Jim Crowe and it is bad coming or going, no matter who is on the receiving end.
There are so many things that trouble me about your comment that I hardly know where to start.
I am human. That is my primary qualification and identification. I was not aware, though, that I was a non-white person and would love to know how that happened since in addition to being a female (previously thought I was a white one, but you tell me that I am not), humanitarian, lecturer, author, parent, physician, wife, sister and daughter (so we are pretty much on the same steps there), I am a great deal more than a F(?W)HLAPPWSD just as you are much more than a WFHTPWSD.
The organizers of the BLM movement, unlike you, have clearly said, over and over, that ONLY Black Lives Matter. Many who fight for equality, as I do and I assume as you do, too, do not say that. But those who do say so loudly and clearly, and in a very racist way.
That is, to my mind, Jim Crowe, and Jim Crowe is a deep social evil which impoverishes all of us, whether we are on one end of that toxic see saw or the other.
I do not agree that I have disregard, blatant or otherwise for POC and Native and Indigenous people’s histories and experiences. Inequality a social and moral evil and must be rooted out. For every one.
We all matter and the evils of oppression and social and economic injustice are just that, evils.
Why is a broader perspective seen as a mitigation of the narrower perspective? The one fits into the context of the other and both must be acknowledged. And NONE of this has to do with the number of melanocytes in anyone’s skin.
Yours in health and freedom,