Saturday, December 03, 2016

White Moderates


Yesterday, I wrote about a hate-group putting up vile posters on our campus.

Other people on campus also wrote about this, several of them on their FB pages. On several of these pages, people got comments about how “we” should just ignore these posters. Some said we should ignore them because we had better things to do; others claimed it was their free speech right to put up the posters.

One person, though, defended those who put up these posters.

He said that we needed to understand that "most" people who felt this way (the way those who posted these racist posters did) were "every-day, hard-working" people who were just frustrated with the way things have been going in America -- the disrespect shown toward the military and the police, and toward "our" religious institutions.

Frankly, this attitude strikes me as worse than open racism. Note what this person is saying. First, he implies that anyone who condemns racism and hate is not hardworking -- perhaps it's only the elite, or those on welfare who would think racism is wrong?

Second, he claims that racism and bigotry are a proper response to police protests. He ignores any possibility that those protesting against the police might have just cause.

Finally, the point about disrespect toward "our" religious institutions, given that one of the posters is an attack on Islam, is especially vile.

These posters are openly racist, they are openly bigoted, they are a clear evil that we can understand and condemn. 

This comment -- and his other comments, which were equally troubling -- are more dangerous. They are like the Southern moderates of the 1950s, who didn't put on the Klan costumes, who didn't beat up black men and women and children in the streets, or lynch them, but who very civilly argued against passing laws, or making changes, or doing anything at all to stop those who did, because after all those people in the white hoods, they had their point of view too, didn't they.

Open racism and open bigotry will not be the problem over the next four years. Moderates and appeasement politics, those who just want to be devil’s advocates, those will be our downfall.




7 comments:

nicoleandmaggie said...

I have a similar story from this week I can't go into detail about because it would be easy to locate me geographically based on the incident (or sadly, maybe not). But our student leadership bravely condemned something similar and got a similar response to the one you discuss from one of our (white male) practitioners. And the dean shut him down and praised the student response and reminded us about the anti hate events coming up. So I'm feeling pretty good about our leadership and our student body. We can't be quiet and we can't let people tell us to be silent without a fight.

delagar said...


Most of our students are outraged; most of them are condemning the posters. Only a few are like this one guy. A few is too many.

Worse news, though -- the local news covered the story, and the comments on the news page were horrific. Racist AF.

nicoleandmaggie said...

I really like the way our dean responded to such douchery. It's good when those few get shouted down by powerful white men. I guess I'm saying the response to the few who aren't being blatantly racist but are enabling racists is also important.

delagar said...


Yes, I'd like more of a response from our university leadership. Our dean of students put out a statement saying that this did not represent the views of the university. But that's all.

Silence is consent, and a refusal to condemn is tantamount to acceptance.

nicoleandmaggie said...

We've had a lot of racist incidents since I've been here and the response from the college president, faculty senate, and so on has always been quick and appropriate. Possibly one reason I've been willing to stay here so long. We're not a liberal campus, but the leadership is strong and made up of decent people. Bad things happen but they respond like mature adults.

Has anyone asked the president's office why the president hasn't said anything yet? Some of us (including my chair) were thinking about doing that with our latest incident but then the president sent out a statement before we did, so we didn't have to.

delagar said...

We should think about that. I know our reps are taking this to the senate.

nicoleandmaggie said...

Good on your reps! I feel lucky that our president spoke *before* our senate did (since committees take time), but the important thing is that admin takes action.