racial justice politics

21st century racial politics always takes place in the shadow of our inability to do anything about our racial problems. We are forever creating weird rituals to center and honor and elevate Black people, in lieu of feeding poor Black children or freeing Black prisoners. The deal we’ve made, essentially, is to say “Sorry about all the oppression, Black people. Can’t do anything about it! But tell you what, white liberals will be very weird around you for the rest of your lives, out of a very sincere desire not to offend or oppress you. We can’t do anything about Black poverty or violence against Black people, but we’ll act like racial injustice is, like, double plus bad in polite society. Also Wells Fargo will send out a very respectful Kwanzaa email every holiday season. So that’s nice.”

Freddie DeBoer, “I’m Somehow Less Concerned with Whether the Holocaust was ‘About Race’ Than I Am with the Six Million Murders”

censorship and truth

“Censors have a fantasy that if they get rid of all the Berensons and Mercolas and Malones, and rein in people like Joe Rogan, that all the holdouts will suddenly rush to get vaccinated. The opposite is true. If you wipe out critics, people will immediately default to higher levels of suspicion. They will now be sure there’s something wrong with the vaccine. If you want to convince audiences, you have to allow everyone to talk, even the ones you disagree with. You have to make a better case. The Substack people, thank God, still get this, but the censor’s disease of thinking there are shortcuts to trust is spreading.”

Matt Taibbi, “The Folly of Pandemic Censorship”

Taibbi is aboslutely right. I’m not a fan of Joe Rogan, or anti-vaccine people, or Covid deniers. I think they are wrong and dangerous in their wrongness. I also think censoring them is wrong, and counterproductive. You don’t sway those who have (real, legitimate) concerns by telling them they can’t listen to certain voices, that we need to censor those who seem to make sense to them. Free speech means we believe in the power of truth over lies, and we don’t fear the conflict between the two.

gender expression

Andrew Sullivan:

I’d argue, in fact, that there are many, many more than 112 ways to express your maleness or femaleness. Just as every person is unique, so is the expression of gender. The combination of a sex and a singular personality is always unique. And what is well worth leaving behind is a crude, binary sense of gender itself. Unlike sex, it really is a spectrum. And it can be crushing for gender-non-confirming kids and adults to live up to stereotypes of their gender; and it can be horribly restrictive for everyone else. There will always be social and cultural group differences in the aggregate, for sure — more men, for example, will, on average, prefer watching sports than women. But a woman who loves football is absolutely no less a woman for it.

Andrew Sullivan, “Two Sexes. Infinite Genders.” https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/two-sexes-infinite-genders