Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Politically Incorrect "War on White Men in Uniform"

[Content note: violence, racism]

Via Ta-Nehisi Coates, regarding Trayvon Martin, we get the following quote from Sanford police chief Bill Lee:

"Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn't mean anything to anybody. "

Just another white man expressing his self-centered, privileged, and entitled opinion that white men holding the power and authority to legally imprison and kill people in the name of the state are treated unfairly when racism within that state is pointed out and blamed for the death of an unarmed teenager who had the temerity to walk around while black.


As of late, I've been making much ado about the phrase "political correctness." It's a phrase I truly loathe, as it's most often used by those who deem themselves courageous truth-tellers yet who mostly seem to be looking for an excuse to express their asshole-y, privileged, problematic statements while pre-emptively trying to ward off criticism.

You know them.

"This isn't PC to say, but racism is over. I don't even see race."

"I'm going to get clobbered for saying this but, women just aren't interested in sports."

"No one's allowed to say it these days, but kids need a mom and a dad, not two moms or two dads."

These claims are made as though they are self-evident truths that require no further proof. These are, they say, objective truths that Everyone Else, apparently, is too scared to utter aloud these days because the PC police might come and.... start criticizing these "truths." (The PC Police. Isn't that phrase a fun inversion of power and authority? As though we, the so-called PC Police, have the legal authority to go around looking for "suspicious" people to maim and kill and imprison for merely stating their beliefs on, say, the Internet?)

I say we co-opt that phrase, "PC," and throw it back in their faces.

Because, so often, those who deem themselves Courageous Non-PC Truthtellers cannot handle the truth. Usually, in fact, it is marginalized people who have to tiptoe around on eggshells barely hinting at people's bigotry because conversations get shut down and people get offended if we outright, explicitly point it out.

The truth?

They can't handle the fracken truth.

Many Couragous Truthtellers can't deal with being told that society, their statements, and even sometimes, gawd forbid, they themselves are racist, sexist, homophobic, able-ist, trans*phobic, or any other problematic -ism. It is, in fact, a great affront to civility, not to actually express any of these -isms, but for people to suggest that others have these -isms at all.

So, let's just go ahead and say it (as many people already have):

"It may not be PC to say so these days, but, er, white men in uniforms are not victims of a racist society. Black, unarmed teenagers who are killed, like Trayvon Martin, are."

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