A Vehement Rant Regarding Gawker’s Tom Scocca on the Subject of Racial Equality

[WARNING: The following is a rant.  It contains foul language, strong opinions about serious issues, and possibly even run-on sentences.  Reader discretion is advised.]

I just had the poor judgement to read a pile of vomit-covered feces-covered vomit masquerading as an article on race relations fifty years after the March on Washington.  It is entitled “Fifty Years After the March, White People Are Still a Disgrace”.  The article tackles the very real and urgent problem of gross racial inequality and injustice with all the skill and sense of a four-year old trying to open a door by running against it face-first as hard as they can.
I would say “please don’t read it because I don’t want to give it page views”, but who the hell am I kidding?  The most page views I’ve gotten for a single article was roughly 1,000, and that was a really lucky break.  Gawker won’t even register that as a drop in the bucket.  So if you don’t feel like you’ve gotten your daily dose of abject stupidity, go ahead and read it.

It can be pretty fairly summarized as “white people are bad and should feel bad.”  Actually, that’s kind of inaccurate, because “summarize” would imply that there is anything significant in the article I omitted or condensed, when in fact that’s pretty much it.  For 1800 words.  So as you might imagine, it’s bad.  In case you can’t get through the article without feeling your IQ decrease by osmosis, here are a few excerpts:

Because white people ruin everything, they have spent the past week particularly focused on ruining the legacy of the March on Washington (with a brief interlude to ruin twerking). The March, in white people’s recounting, was when Martin Luther King Jr. brought hundreds of thousands of people to Washington D.C. and told them to stop making a big deal about race.

Here is where white Americans failed themselves and their country. That image of the promissory note was too much for white people’s greed and selfishness to accept. White people had defined themselves, as a race, by having the things that other people could not have. So the vaults of opportunity would not be opened, not without white people staging a run on the bank first. If the public schools had to educate black children and white children together, the white people would get out of the schools, declare war on the whole idea of public school. If black people could participate in civic life, white people would clear out of the cities. White people would revolt against paying taxes, against poverty relief, against food stamps, even.

Why do so many white people have to be like this? Watch the video of King’s speech. Fifty years ago, white people were in the March. But the pathologies of whiteness persisted.

Let’s all try, for just a moment and for the sake of illustration, to set aside the emotional baggage associated with this topic (if we can, anyway).  Let’s pretend these passages were about something else, like the energy crisis.

This article is roughly the equivalent of saying over and over “we’re running out of fuel sources” in different words (white people are bad).  In its better points it’s so helpful that it specifically states which sources we’re running out of (they are bad because they’re greedy and selfish, and because all of them oppose public schooling and poverty relief).  And then, in its conclusion, it is so enlightened as to ask what alternative fuel sources we can use (“why do so many white people have to be like this?”), and answer it with the revelation that we need more alternative fuel sources (“I want him to shut up”).  Mr. Scocca then sits back and waits for everyone to nod at how insightful and true and progressive this all is.

So even if we all agreed that this article was not insulting, it is worthless.  It might be vaguely useful to someone who was utterly ignorant of the entire issue, but to actual informed, adult human beings, it has about the same value as toilet paper.  And even to those who are thoroughly ignorant, there are much better and more informative introductions to the issue.  It contributes absolutely no valuable insight into the problem, and doesn’t even touch the issue of solving it.

This is before we even mention the thoroughly obvious fact that judging 200 million people based upon Laura Ingraham, Kathleen Parker, roughly ten bloggers, and “this one guy I saw at a rest-stop once” is both idiotic and insulting, but that’s so thoroughly obvious that dwelling on it further would be a waste of everyone’s time.

Mr. Scocca then decides to wrap things up:

“When you say this, if you’re white, white people like to call it ‘white guilt.'”

Well in deference to you, Mr. Scocca, I will simply call it “abject and unbelievable stupidity,” which is probably more accurate.  I don’t know if this guy is genuinely this stupid, or a hack trolling for pageviews, and frankly I don’t care at this point.

“But the white guy at the rest stop is an asshole. This isn’t white guilt; it’s white blame. It’s infuriating that he expects anyone to agree with him, in his willful ignorance, his disingenuousness amped up to rage. As a white person, I want him to shut up.”

What a coincidence.  As a thinking person, I want you to shut up.  And please.  Please.  Don’t give me this “as a [member of group I’m criticizing]” bullshit I keep hearing, as though this somehow makes your thorough idiocy acceptable.  The Pound Cake Speech did not become any less insulting and ignorant by virtue of Bill Cosby being black, and this abjectly, thoroughly, pants-on-head moronic vomit that you have the audacity to try to pass of as written communication does not become any less so by virtue of your melanin deficiency.

Want to know what we could do to make the lives of poor/working-class black people more bearable?  Here’s a few things.  It’s not a full solution, but it’s a start:

1) You never write anything at all, ever again.

2) We stop telling white people that their obligation is to feel bad about this shit, and start telling them that their obligation is to help do something about it, such as

3) We fix our thoroughly fucked-up public education funding system, such that it no longer makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.  All property (and other) taxes go to a central fund by the federal government, which gets distributed to each school equally.  To offset the funding loss that most schools would take, we raise the income tax in an actual progressive fashion, such that it hits the rich the hardest.  When the rich people who have shoved their kids into private schools start complaining about this, we tell them to kindly fuck off.

Districts get redrawn in terms of proximity to school alone, not by neighborhood.  Want to see ingrained unconscious prejudice disappear in three generations?  Actually integrate schools (not just on paper), make white and black kids grow up together from kindergarten to 12th grade.  Not from 6th grade to 12th grade, at that point the “Black Kids’ Table” phenomenon has already started to fester.  And anyway, at that point you’re trying to get 13-year-olds to be something other than vicious little shits with the moral integrity of a rabid ferret on amphetamines, and good luck with that.

4) We give up on this utterly stupid and morally indefensible War on Drugs bullshit, legalize marijuana, decriminalize cocaine, including crack-cocaine, treatment becomes our first response, incarceration our last resort.

5) On that note, we require that all public defenders’ offices receive funding equal with public prosecutors’ offices so the right to a fair trial and a lawyer actually becomes a reality, rather than a game of “what’s the best guilty plea bargain I can get in ten goddamn minutes?”.  We also stop linking police departments’ funding to the number of drug arrests they make, so cops are no longer sent out with the knowledge that they may be laid off if they don’t bring enough people in.

6) We fix our archaic, broken election system such that it no longer thoroughly disenfranchises all minorities, ethnic, ideological, or otherwise, and switch to a choice voting system.  Want to see gangs and illegal activity decline among working-class urban black people?  Give them the means to actually change things within the legal system.  Fuck, several of them are already trying it within the thoroughly broken system we have now, so it’s not like the willingness isn’t there.  If we could actually switch to a system that allowed third parties to, I don’t know, exist, then maybe we could get some politicians actually making poverty relief a major plank in their platforms.

7) We stop pretending that hurt feelings are the big deal we need to be concerned about, so we can further stop pretending that Paula Fucking Deen dropping the N-bomb is the great issue of race relations of our day.  Do you know why stuff like that causes such a shitstorm?  I’d imagine it’s because a lot of middle-class white people are desperate to have something they can actually do about racism, rather than just self-flagellate every time the word “race” is said.  Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe we could direct that energy toward getting teenagers released from the horrific federal prisons they’ve been thrown in for smoking a goddamn plant?  Could we please start pushing to get this shit on the front page news, rather than discussions about the finer problems of the ethnic implications of Miley Goddamn Cyrus twerking as it relates to ideas of invisible privilege and female objectification and identity in public spaces with oh my god I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Contrary to what people seems to believe, white people do not produce some mysterious class of pheromones that make things better every time they feel bad about themselves.  If they did, the entire Pacific Northwest would be a goddamn utopian paradise where racial equality sprouts from trees while winged hipsters fly around pouring overpriced fair-trade coffee for middle-class multi-ethnic families driving completely safe, fuel-efficient SUVs that run on electricity, sunshine, rainbows, and farts.

I’m aware that all of these are big projects requiring a lot of work from a lot of people.  I’m very sorry that fixing the legacy of 300 years of brutal systematic persecution involves something more difficult than the thoroughly cartoonish mockery of a plan that “white people stop being selfish”.  I’m sure it must be very disappointing to find that the real world is more complicated than a children’s picture book.

In conclusion, Mr. Scocca, you are an imbecile.  Please stop talking, you are making the world dumber, and you are making things worse for black people, white people, and everyone else as a result.

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