March 22, 2008

In multiculturalist eyes, "understand" means "no criticism."....

William Katz:

When Urgent Agenda began - and that was only two and a half months ago - I promised to defend the English language. I've done too little in that regard, for which I offer apologies. However, let me now try a bit of redemption and discuss briefly the misuse of a word. The word is "understanding."

We're hearing that word every day. Barack Obama's campaign, we're told, is an attempt at "understanding" across racial lines. The intellectual elites tell us we must do more to foster international "understanding." The multicultural industry informs us that "understanding" other cultures is the key to going to Heaven.

But what do they actually mean when they say "understanding"?

What they often mean, without telling us, is "approval." The word "understanding" has been so abused and degraded that it often is a code word for appeasement. "Understanding" across ethnic lines is noble, but the word is often employed to shut down discussion. If we "understand," after all, we must not be "judgmental." Only those who don't "understand" are judgmental.

A true, honest multiculturalist will say that "we must understand other cultures, and they must understand us." But when have you ever heard the second part of that expression? In multiculturalist eyes, "understand" means "no criticism."

So be on guard when you hear the word. The definition of "understanding" may not be the one you would use. A message is often being sent. It is sometimes a dishonest message.

It's almost always a dishonest message. And it's extra-likely to be dishonest when the subject is race in America. The Civil Rights Movement was, like so many other revolutions and noble causes, two-faced. There were crowds of idealists moved by a noble cause, but the inner core was power-hungry leftists, who use movements and causes cynically.

And the Civil Rights Movement was always as much about destroying blacks as it was about freeing them. It is not surprising that we discover black leaders peddling racism and anti-Americanism. That was part of the "movement" from the very beginning.

If you teach someone—anyone—that they should have a sense of grievance and resentment and are trying to destroy them. You are destroying their character. You are killing their spirit. When Jeremiah Wright, and many other black leaders, tell their people that they are "owed," that they are "oppressed" and are entitled to feel resentment and sullenness, they are destroying souls.

Suppose I teach my children that the world is against them, that the world owes them a living, and that they are entitled to special favors to make up for all the blows that life offers to everyone......what would I be doing to them? Would I be helping them or hurting them? You know the answer. What if I taught them that they should not accept criticism?

The Civil Rights Movement (and many other movements) was always two-faced. And this can be seen from the beginning, in the implicit "bargain" offered whites (and blacks too), that we can be on the "right side," that we can be the good guys, as long as we don't criticize blacks.

This was, and is, a pernicious and destructive idea. We all need criticism. It is painful, but it is good for us. We need to get it, and to respond thoughtfully. (And that includes thoughtful rejection of criticism, if it is unwarranted.) The wise person says, "Hit me with your hardest shot. If my beliefs and actions are valid, then they will withstand the test. And if they are not, I should change." And we even need unfair criticism. It's good for us; teaches us to discriminate between valid and invalid.

But the subtext of the Civil Rights Movement was always that any criticism of black Americans was racist. That it was equivalent to those racist claims that "all blacks are shiftless and lazy." That was an evil idea. The leaders of the movement should have been requesting fair criticism.

Black (and other minority) Americans were hurt by this, but they were in fact just collateral damage. The real goal was to protect leftists from criticism, especially leaders.. To protect them from having to defend various quasi-socialist policies on the merits. They have been hiding behind this ever since. The subtext is always "Don't you dare criticize me, because I'm helping [fill in the grievance-group]. If you scrutinize me you are a [fill in the blank: racist/sexist/homophobe, etc.].

The prohibition on criticism of "oppressed" groups creates a penumbra that shields leftists in general. That's why two ludicrously under-qualified candidates are vying for the Democrat nomination right now. Neither of them would even be in the running if they were white males. But each offers the possibility of giving blanket protection to their supporters. Any criticism will be called sexism or racism. No defeat will have to be acknowledged on its merits; it was just evil white/male America destroying the good minority group, as usual. (The same thing would work for Al Gore, but the grievance-group would be Polar Bears.)

Guys like Obama are in the habit, when things get sticky, of trotting out the line about how America needs to have a "conversation about race." This is always a lie; what's envisioned is a monologue, where whites are supposed to shut up and be told how horrid they are, and how minorities need more loot to make up for racism. But If Obama is the nominee, then I can imagine a more honest conversation happening!

The odds are against it, to be sure. Americans have been subjected to decades of relentless propaganda to teach them that this is taboo. McCain won't do it; it would not be smart politics, and he's too moderate. But, the folly called "Campaign Finance Reform" has, thanks to Mr McCain, taken much of election campaigning out of the hands of parties and candidates!

In 2004, the obvious fact that John Kerry's "war hero" status was a sham was taboo to mention, by press, parties and candidates. But the Swift Boat Veterans were not part of that apparatus. (Dems like to claim that they were a plot by Rove, but if they had been they would have been much better-funded!) The Swifties didn't care that they were going to be slammed for daring to break a taboo.

We could see some new variants on the Swifties this year. None of the elites really want to turn over rocks and shine harsh lights on the Jeremiah Wrights. But there are lots of ordinary Americans who might scratch their heads and think, "America has fixed at least 95% of what was wrong before the Civil Rights era, and yet the bellyaching never stops. Something is fishy here. In fact, I think this is a pile of BS."

Same thing about feminism, if Hillary wins the nomination. There's more than a few Americans who would like to turn that rock over and see the ugly bugs squirm in the sunshine. Probably won't happen, but the potential is there. Politics tends to unleash forces like nothing else. The elites are compromised, and won't go against the taboos, but elites matter less in the Information Age. They have less control of the agenda. Information routes around them.

Posted by John Weidner at March 22, 2008 8:21 AM
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