I wrote recently about how feminist discourse on the Internet was being poisoned by the impossibility of saying anything that did not offend someone well-versed (usually black and lesbian) in finding aggression, homophobia, gender-fixation, able-ism and other thought crimes in the writings of some other person -preferably white and middle class. (Tone Policing, January 31st, 2014)
Now tone policing has come to broader public attention through the antics of the McGill University students’ association. There is even a non-ironic site called McGill micro-aggressions (I am not making this up!) where everyone’s little senses of hurt can be set out for the cosmos to see and be concerned about.
Excellent coverage of the event is given at Legal Insurrection here.
The image in question was an extension of the cultural, historical and living legacy surrounding people of color—particularly young men—being portrayed as violent in contemporary culture and media. By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of SSMU’s communication to become the site of a microaggression; for this, I am deeply sorry.”
Of course, the last thing ever to be discussed is whether the portrayal of young black males, or African American males, as more aggressive than other races is true. That remains undiscussable. Or as Thomas Sowell said in Race and Culture (at p.227):
“History itself has become the target of a desperate attack by those for whom truth threatens devastating consequences to their visions, their egos, or their projects. A whole new class of intellectuals has arisen to supply history geared to what people currently wish to believe, rather than to record the past”.
But no one is fooled. To make an issue of the fake gif of President Obama kicking a door only shows the power of the stereotype. Yet the stereotype of the aggressive black male is founded on reality, not on someone’s unfounded racial prejudice.
The equity policy says that if someone is offended, that is the fact which has to be addressed. Reality has nothing to do with it, indeed, reality may have to be denied, because the fact of comparative differences constitutes the offence.
-I believe you are a witch. Therefore, according to the rules of the campus equity policy, you must defend yourself against the accusation of witchcraft. The burden of proof is on you.
-But there are no witches because witchcraft is scientifically impossible!
-Your assertion that witchcraft is impossible is part of the hetero-normatve, phallocentric, able-ist white logical mindspace which is the offence!
Fortunately, the occasional eruption of this sort of shit provokes the necessary and beneficial social reaction against it.
Anyone for an explicit political purge of universities? Volunteers, anyone?