The Elect

Photo image courtesy of Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

In Loudon County ‘outsider’ voices intervened. The result was mayhem.

One of the challenges of living in a divided country is acknowledging division in all places and public squares. Unfortunately, liberals are subverting an advocacy of civil liberty by perpetrating a sanitized view of society.

The means liberals and some on the left use can be summed up as “corporate-speak,” a moralistic reductionism that posits that the individual, not the culture is blameworthy.

The deeper the ‘blame-claim,’ the more intense the “pushback.” For many Loudon County, Virginia parents, it was the false narrative of “critical race theory” being spread like toxins into their families and community by way of the schools.

“That was it. I had had enough.”

-Loudon County parent and school board protestor

When the Loudon County School Board refused to collectively expose a tradition of nativism, the Board called in “experts,” to address and ‘fix the problem.’ What ensued was ‘systemic opprobrium’ upturning ‘systemic racism,’ corporate-speak for a shared history of ‘oppression.’

Rather than quell anxiety, the School Board exacerbated nativism.

Parents recoiled and snapped into an unflinching xenophobia. So describes the uproar at Loudon County school board meetings in a recent NYTimes analysis (1):

“Long before the father was tackled by sheriff’s deputies at the school board meeting, before there was shouting to reopen classrooms and before “parents matter” became the central slogan of the most closely watched campaign in the post-Trump era. Loudon County was just another American suburbia taking a hard look at its schools.”

One is reminded of a similar public ‘territoriality’ following the corporate downsizing of the nineteen eighties.

Wall Street provided a self-aggrandizing and self-serving placebo. The idea was to position shredding company loyalty as “individual reinvention.” Newly displaced corporate workers were encouraged to embark on new careers, despite the reality that to a person, they had just lost theirs. (2)

The protestors in Loudon County angrily taking the mic yelling screeds is not simply blind ignorance at work. These voices decry “outsiders” — like the corporate raiders of Wall Street — attempting to rob them and their children of ‘agency.’

The protestors are half-right, not half-wrong.

“Monica Gill, an American history teacher at Loudon County High School, also objected to an animated video called The Unequal Opportunity Race in which white people get a head start, while people of color must wait and then face obstacle after obstacle…

‘I didn’t grow up in white privilege,’ Ms. Gill said, ‘I worked hard to get through college, and it wasn’t handed to me by any stretch. It seemed to me that this whole thing they were pushing was very shallow.’”

To paraphrase a popular corporate-speak takeaway, the “glass is not half-full” nor is “the glass half-empty.”

The ‘full glass’ is broken.

“Pushback” is not a recent social nor political phenomenon. Angry voices have filled public squares before and will continue as long as there are sanitizers around to ‘fix racism:’

“While praising earlier generations of civil rights work, he (McWhorter) objects to what he calls “Third Wave Antiracism,” which preaches that “racism is baked into the structure of society, white’s ’complicity’ in living within it constitutes racism itself, while for Black people, grappling with the racism surrounding them is the totality of experience and must condition exquisite sensitivity toward them, including a suspension. of standards of achievement and conduct.

“Borrowing a term from the author Joseph Bottum, McWhorter refers to the prophets of the Third Wave as “the Elect.” They see themselves as “bearers of a Good News that, if all people would simply open up and see it, would create a perfect world.”

-Zaid Jilani, “John McWhorter Argues That Anti-Racism Has Become a Religion of the Left,” review of “Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America,” by John McWhorter, NYTimes, Oct. 26,2021

One can find much to disagree with McWhorter’s analysis. Let’s not mistake one ‘opprobrium’ for another.

The point is to acknowledge where we are, not where we want to be — burying ‘from where we have come.’

These ‘facts’ McWhorter and a community of researchers have collected data to support: what, not why, action is needed to embark on forming a just society. The takeaway here is not isolation, nor alienation per se, nor perhaps ‘oppression,’ but something far sinister because it eludes examination: “disproportionality:”

“In a nutshell, one of my takeaways from redlining and shootings by the police is that alleviating Black poverty makes Black people less susceptible to ills that disproportionately befall those who are poor — ills which racism surely plays a part, but my interest is in the fact that being poor makes you encounter these things so much more.

“Some will still prefer to focus their battle on racism, but no one is going to tell me that focusing more on poverty is anti-Black or disloyal.”

-John McWhorter, “What’s Missing from the Conversation About Systemic Racism,” NYTimes Opinion, Sept. 28, 2021

One sees “disproportionality,” as a fault line running through discussions of economic, civil and climate justice.

Perhaps McWhorter, a linguist, is on target:

We don’t have a language, nor a reckoning, for “disproportionality.”

November 20

Footnotes

1-”How a School District Got Caught in Virginia’s Political Maelstrom,” Stephanie Saul, NYTimes, November 14, 2021. The choice of headline for this well-researched article reveals ‘disproportionality ignorance:’ the Loudon County School District didn’t get “caught;”nativism was trolled for political opportunity.

“We’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.”

-Loudon County School District parent.

2-See Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America

Writer, essayist, dreamer.