A few years ago, I wrote about white people and their love of “awareness” on my blog Stuff White People Like. The post talked about how white people loved awareness because it was an easy way to feel like they were making a difference without having to make any real sacrifices. After all, curing cancer is exceptionally hard, but raising awareness of cancer is exceptionally easy. Both make you feel good about yourself, but only one requires you to be good at math.
White people just want to feel good about ourselves while at the same time making sure other people know that we’re doing our part. That’s why ribbon campaigns, rubber bracelets, and more recently, the ice bucket challenge have been such big successes. Not only do these things raise awareness but they take a minimal amount of effort and allow us to call attention to ourselves and our altruistic deed.
It’s safe to say the idea of anonymous charity died with the selfie.
All kidding aside, anything that helps to raise money to cure diseases that decimate lives is a good thing—the problem is that these diseases don’t need any more awareness. We all know diseases are bad—they end lives, cripple careers, and destroy families. So to waste all of our awareness-time on them is a bit foolish, especially when there are so many other things in this country where “awareness” could actually bring about real and lasting change.
In light of the recent events in Ferguson, there are few things that this country needs to be aware of more than what it’s like to be a black, male teenager. Our complete lack of understanding, or even a willingness to try understand on the part of whites is one of the key reasons why racial tensions in this country are so high.
I wish I could help here, but I’m a white, upper middle class writer with little to no experience as a black teenager. However, since I’m willing to dump a bucket of ice water on my head to raise awareness for ALS, there has to be something I can do.
I need to create a challenge, something that people can post to social media that will show that there is a double standard in this country, that we do get treated differently based on the perceptions of our race. It can’t require too much work, money, or effort and it has to draw attention to the good deeds being done by the person participating.
A bracelet seems trivializing, dressing up as a black male teenagers is offensive, and will probably do more harm than good. What made The Ice Bucket challenge so great was that it was a video that could easily be shared, then you could tag other people in it, rinse, repeat.
That’s it: the black teenager challenge, or the BT Challenge for short. It’s so simple anyone can do it!
Step one: Strap yourself up with a portable camera.
Step two: Go for a walk in your neighborhood.
Step three: Make it to your destination without being stopped by the police or killed by a vigilante.
Step four: Post the video to social media and celebrate the fact that you were able to do something that the majority of black male teenagers in this country can’t do without fearing for their lives.
Now that you’ve completed the challenge, you can go ahead and nominate other friends to participate and watch this thing take off! As a side note, I wouldn’t suggest nominating any of your black friends. But then again, according to the Washington Post, if you’re white, you probably only have one anyway.
Even if all this did was slightly raise awareness of the fact that being black or minority means that you play by a different set of rules in this country, it would be a major step forward in trying to prevent another Ferguson.
Or we could just keep dumping buckets of water on our heads.
Found at Quartz.
Rachel Maddow, neocon.
Just as a reminder: I’m a neocon myself.
Of course I wrote that with malice aforethought. What’s the point of this gig if I can’t insert a needle here or there? That doesn’t detract from the slightly dark humor coming from this appearance of Maddow on MSNBC *:
Rachel Maddow made a rare daytime appearance on MSNBC Wednesday, sitting down with Ezra Klein, who was filling in for Alex Wagner, to talk about the possibility of a Congressional vote to authorize airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Referring a report from The Hill quoting unnamed aides on the Left who don’t want Congress to vote on the issue, Maddow diagnosed a severe case of “Democratic wuss-itude.”
The Hill quoted anonymous sources, who said it would be politically “stupid” for Obama to put Democratic Congress members in the position of having to vote for military action in Syria or Iraq. Sen.Tim Kaine (D-VA), who been pushing for vote, said, “The notion of, ‘Well, we don’t want to cast a hard vote before a midterm because it might be unpopular,’ that’s the job we volunteered for.”
Maddow imitated Congress’ position on the matter, saying, “Please let us keep complaining from the peanut gallery and throwing stuff. Please don’t actually make us be the decision makers on this, which the Constitution says we ought to be.”
This is the really juicy stuff – I do so enjoy watching the Other Side’s cheerleaders get frustrated in public with their politicians, for a change - but later on Rachel Maddow went on to toe that interventionist line like a champ. Mind you, I agree that ISIS needs to be squashed like an absolute bug. I just wish that I had a time machine. It would be priceless to see the reaction on 2004-Rachel Maddow’s face when she saw video evidence that 2014-Maddow was now committing herself to a morals-based, easy-to-escalate campaign in Iraq and Syria. Or, shoot, the look on June-2014 ‘Iraq is the new South Vietnam**!’ Maddow’s face. Because I’m pretty sure that Maddow was kind of arguing back then that, hey, the Communist takeover worked out all right over there, hey? She certainly didn’t want to go back into Iraq then.
Seriously, this is why you pick your principles first, and then let your policy positions be informed by them. Because when you don’t – when you pick what you want to do, and don’t bother working out why you would want to do it – then you end up like Rachel Maddow. Because she’s not really a neoconservative, you see. If Maddow was, she’d have a moral center to her universe that was simply better than Barack Obama wants to do this, and I trust him implicitly. And she wouldn’t be required to change her opinions every three months, because the problem here is that Barack Obama here has no moral center that’s better than I want to do this, and I trust myself implicitly.
Via Hot Air Headlines.
Moe ‘Neo-con’ Lane
PS: Watch the June video to the end. Dear God, but the woman doesn’t even watch her own show!
*I had an unkind comment about the way that Klein and Maddow came across on that show, but I have the grim suspicion that the real problem there is that I’m getting old, and the kids really do need to get off of my lawn.
**Note that Rachel Maddow is proud of the fact that the Democratic-controlled Congress broke the sworn word of the United States of America when it came to protecting the South Vietnamese. Fine: she’s a progressive, and they don’t understand this stuff. Still, I am grimly frightened that a lot of people signed their tickets to Hell that day.