Where Are All the Black Non-Liberals?

It appears, they’re all somewhere on YouTube. If you’re a click hole fiend like me, your recommendations list has been populated with some interesting suggestions. Aba & Preach? Yes! Classically Abby? Not so much…

The times we’re living in has me consuming more socially and politically charged content, diverse opinions all along the spectrum, but my discoveries made one thing very apparent: if you are looking for conservative or moderate black representation on network TV, it’s slim pickings. Yes, there’s Juan Williams and Harris Faulkner, but that’s cable and even then, there’s only two. There’s something conspiratorial about the lack of right-leaning (or even middle of the road) black voices on major networks.

We know they exist, and perhaps, their presence would be especially helpful in debunking the myth that Black people are largely Democrats and liberal. It would be interesting to hear conversation about issues affecting minority communities from a minority who isn’t bleeding blue. The topics worthy of discussion are complicated and multi-faceted and would only benefit from varied perspectives.

But maybe there’s a reason why that’s not desirable on network TV…

The Perils of Micro-activism

I used to love reading about microaggressions, comments or slights that happen in the course of everyday life that sting because of assumptions made about the targeted person’s identification within a specific group. It’s the ‘you’re not really black’ comment said to the grammatical correct Black women, the ‘is English your first language?‘ asked of the the third generation American or the ‘I thought all Asians were good at math’ comment to a high schooler struggling in Trigonometry. I’ve had a faux pas (or more) in my lifetime: telling a colleague of mine that I would not match her Korean features with her Polish last name or exclaiming (in genuine awe), ‘that white girl can really dance!’

I would read about others’ experiences with daily ignorance to commiserate. It’s comforting to know that others stories are similar to mine and sometimes, I would even get ideas on what to say and how to react. I believed that while these moments were unpleasant, even painful, they were the cost that we paid for living in an integrated society. It seems in 2020, what was once viewed as ignorance and prejudice has been elevated from micro to macro-level racism, a word so overused and overplayed, it barely has meaning.

And that’s a good thing for those who wish to dilute it’s definition in order to cast a wider net to ensnare people. Take Samantha Ware’s now infamous unrelated response to Lea Michele’s tweet about George Floyd. The national conversation at this moment was about the death of another unarmed black man at the hands of police and the desperate need for reform. And what has she got to add? ‘Traumatic microaggressions?’ You have to be bold to stand on the back of a national dialogue about police brutality and make it about someone threatening to ‘s*** in a wig.’

Recently, I posted the video of the Michigan couple charged with felonious assault for an incident in a Chipotle parking lot. The alleged bump between the white woman shown and a teenager was enough to convince the unidentified individuals in the video that the woman was racist. The bar is now that low. And it doesn’t even have to be evident, just assumed.

The rise of the media attention on ‘{Enter location} {Enter generic white sounding name}’ also coincides with the rise of micro-activism and its raison d’être: microaggressions. Why bother solving problems that can help a people when you can just get rid of a person? It takes less time and nowadays, yields results in days, sometimes less. These kind of ‘victories’ only whet the appetite of people so far removed from the satisfaction of justice and change, that they’ll accept the far inferior substitutes of personal attack and degradation as a social justice win.

Ways to Hurt the Cause, #1

Truth by Omission

Felicity Huffman’s 14-day sentence for mail fraud and honest services mail fraud resurfaced the story of Tanya McDowell. (Honest services mail fraud, as laid out in the United States v. Gray, states that an employee has an obligation to their employer to provide honest services, and actions which impede upon this, like a bribe, is a type of fraud, thanks Wikipedia!) 

Back in 2011, McDowell was charged with first degree larceny for enrolling her son in a school in an area she did not live. She was sentenced to five years in prison and five years probation and, if the memes are to be believed, this is unfair in light of Huffman’s seemingly lenient sentence for bribing an exam proctor.

Inequity in education is an important issue that needs to be addressed, but what hurts this cause is the exclusion of the fact that McDowell was also charged with selling narcotics to undercover officers and that both the drug case and the larceny case sentences were combined per the plea bargain. Her attorney even stated that he attempted to split the cases up but, ‘…prosecutors and the judge would not split the cases up. He said she was facing much more than 15 years in jail if he took all the cases to trial.‘ So the five year sentence was not strictly for the school case. Based on the article, it’s easy enough to decipher, but even the usually reliable Snopes got it wrong, changing the rating on it’s own article about McDowell’s sentence from ‘mixture of truth’ to ‘true’.

In Huffman’s case, to level the scales, her daughter should be removed from the school, but in McDowell’s case, what’s the solution? The answer is worthy of discussion and shouldn’t be muddied with false martyrs and misappropriated news stories.



Married At First Sight: The Missing Link

Had no clue what I was going to write about tonight, but I decided to stick with the marriage theme this time extending into reality TV. Married At First Sight is a social experiment, but not really, after all arranged marriages have been around for centuries. The real appeal of the show is almost akin to watching Fear Factor; the attraction is the shock and awe of seeing real people doing something you would never do. The premise: three couples are matched by four experts; they marry sight unseen, go on a honeymoon, and move in together over the course of six weeks and at the end decide whether or not to stay together. The first season was mostly a success with two couples staying married. Last season…not so much. Everyone divorced leaving viewers wondering if after only two showings, whether or not the show had run out of steam.

My gut says the show’s problem is in it’s all white panel of matchmakers. The first season, despite not being a fan of the show, I was disappointed to see that the lone black couple got a divorce. When all three pairs split the following season, I figured out the problem: there’s a culture gap between the experts and the participants of color. Personality, character and dealbreakers are all nice to talk about, but much of that stems from where and what they grew up in. If the show wants better success, they need to incorporate feedback from family to give a fuller picture of what kind of person is looking to get married.



Get Off Rachel Dolezal’s A**! (or Things to Remember When Discussing The ‘Fake’ Black Lady)

There are couple of things that I think people have forgotten as the national discussion of Rachel Dolezal and her racial identity hit the tipping point:

We’re talking about a person here. The intense scrutiny and judgement that this woman has been subject to (a complete stranger to 99.9% of us) is insane and cruel. Questions about her mental health have no place in the conversation. Passing is not a new concept in the United States and I’ve never heard it described as the actions of the dishonest or mentally disturbed; true, often it is a minority member who assumes the identity of a person of the dominant culture, but sometimes, that is not the case. This is, ultimately, no one’s business. Her identification as Black doesn’t affect anyone other than herself. The implication that her positions as a chairman on a city board and as professor at a local University were due to her identification as Black (or Bi-Racial) are not likely given that Washington State enacted an affirmative action ban (known as Initiative 200) which reads, “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.” So if she had been hired based on what box she checked, her employers were breaking the law, not her.

What about the pursuit of happiness? Remember that oh so important clause in the Declaration of Independence? Well, that vision isn’t determined by the electorate or by what makes sense to the general public. It is a singular decision which, within legal limits, should be respected and protected.

Airing dirty laundry is now a form of honesty? That’s news to me. The fact that Rachel’s parents were the ones that outed her is jaw-dropping and that they justify subjecting their daughter to public humiliation under the guise of telling the truth is worse. Would this still be acceptable if they had outed her as a lesbian and she were in the closet? Or as having been born male and she were living as a transgendered woman? Respect of privacy is a hard expectation nowadays, but amongst family…isn’t there some kind of implied Omerta code? Now that some of the family issues have come to light (Dolezal’s brother is on trial for child abuse and her mother blames her for supposedly initiating the investigation), it shades the parents’ motives as perhaps a bit vindictive.

Trans-racial is not a thing. This is passing. We don’t have to create a new terminology for it. And we should also stop comparing it with gender dysphoria, which it doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to; one is about a physical need to feel right in one’s body, the other, about a social need to fit in right in one’s community. Though much is made of her ‘transformation,’ Dolezal’s look isn’t that big a deal (is she supposed look the same way she did as a teenager?), but her motives are. If she decided to live life as a black woman to better serve (or be given opportunity to serve) the community, or to share, in a firsthand way, the cultural experience of her children, then she succeeded and should be left alone.