". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Random Thought of the Day

Last Sunday I watched some of the dedication ceremony for the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. I found it discouraging to see several of the speakers focus their remarks not on remembering Dr. King and his life and vision but on rehashing tired racial and class warfare tropes. Now don't get me wrong: I believe there is still racism. But I believe it is rare in this country and is something that cannot be addressed by political or governmental means. Racism is no longer an institutional phenomenon; this country has addressed it to the extent I think we legally and politically can; and I think the fact that we have elected a black President from one major party and have another black man leading the polls as a candidate for the other major party speaks volumes about how far we have come as a nation. And yet I think there are people who have so long defined themselves in terms of their minority status that they don't know how to stop doing so. It's almost as though if they acknowledge that things are getting better they will lose their purpose and identity. Furthermore, if they acknowledge that the thing they once agitated for has been achieved, their status as an injured group--and the power that comes with that status--becomes questionable.

It occurs to me that individuals sometimes do the same thing that aggrieved groups do, clinging to their injured status even when circumstances have changed to the point that they could let it go, and that they sometimes do so for the very same reason: because giving it up would mean they would not only lose some of the power associated with that status--because there often is power in weakness--but would also mean they would have to learn new ways of looking at themselves and interacting with the world, something that is hard to do when you have for so long operated within a certain framework.


Phillip said...

Wow That is deep. And I think you are spot-on, dear.

Thanks for broadening my thinking on several issues. Very helpful.

You rock! :)

Leah said...

Cheryl, I think you're spot on too.

I have been reading "The Politics of Guilt and Pity" by John Rousas Rushdoony again, and it is so telling of exactly what is going on in our country today. I just put up a small quote from the book on my blog, but there is sooooo much there.

The "politics of guilt" works in part just how you said...

...if they acknowledge that things are getting better they will lose their purpose and identity

Being a "victim" and gaining power by putting guilt out on your "victimizers" is a defining identity for people who must continue to justify themselves through their victimization status, lest they be forced to look at their own "sin".

Anyway, I think you would like the book. :)

Barb the Evil Genius said...

There's no better spokesman for your movement than someone who can't speak for himself. Steve Jobs' body is barely cold and people are already attaching his name to causes.

Cheryl said...

Leah, thanks for the book recommendation!

Barb, I'm confused. I don't know what movement or cause you're referring to or what Steve Jobs has to do with my blog post.