There’s been much talk lately about the overbearing culture of shaming from the left that’s been going on. The so-called “Woke Elite” in the electronic media, education system and print media are shaming and cancelling people who make the most innocent of cultural faux pas, where in many cases the person doesn’t even realize they are being racially insensitive. They are accused of not being antiracist enough or as being racist. The same thing is happening regarding LBGQ and feminist issues.
What we are witnessing in these occurrences is the backlash related to the outrage of caring people after having been made painfully aware of the terrible atrocities and injustices that are visited upon people of color and others who fall outside of the cultural mainstream in the United States. It is a natural occurrence, should be expected in the evolution of any culture and is relatively benign when compared to the backlash of the mainstream when progress is made in the cause of inclusion for all Americans. Progressive backlash results mostly in hurt feelings and at worst, negative impact on the target’s business or employment status. This is relatively mild compared to the backlash that occurs when mainstream traditions evolve, which usually results in murder and mayhem. You can go down the history of progressive change in the US and measure the backlash in body counts.
For example, when the culture evolved to recognizing people of African decent as full human beings instead of only three fifths of a human being, the backlash from the rightwing mainstream culture was the Civil War. After the Civil War, when black people were recognized as citizens of the United States by the 14th Amendment, the backlash was Jim Crow and well over 100,000 black men and women lynched and thousands more raped, mutilated and murdered by other means. So I can’t be too upset by a few mostly well to do white people getting their feelings hurt now that America is finally getting back in touch with its conscience where matters of race are concerned. Yes we need greater dialog and understanding around matters of race, but more importantly, we can’t be distracted from the real work that needs to be done to end the reason for backlash on both sides.
Republican gerrymandered state legislatures all over the country are busy taking measures to disenfranchise any and all persons inclined not to support their fascist agenda. The rest of us must continue to neutralize such efforts and push for laws that expand voting rights and at the same time fight measures taken to discourage voting by traditional means such as fewer poling places for minorities of color and defective voting machines in districts that don’t support their agenda. We must be mindful that casual attitudes toward voting by necessity must be things of the past and record numbers at the poles must be the new normal for people who wish to save American democracy. Standing in line for 24 hours to vote, even if a day’s pay is lost, must be considered the new price of freedom and democracy. Not until Republicans are almost completely swept out of office on a state and federal level will America be able to get back on its feet again. Don’t expect any progress in government until that happens. Republicans are committed to obstructing any efforts towards progress for Americans until their fascist party takes over when they would be able to attempt to limit the benefits of any progress to white people only. There can be no compromise or reasoning with them.
Consequently, we must be patient with each other when progressive backlash gets a bit over the top. We must stay committed individually and collectively to interacting with one another more frequently and listening more intently to those of us who most have been at the effect of the injustices embedded in our societal norms. Progressive backlash is not a bad thing in and of itself. Hopefully, it will last at least as long as the racist backlash that we’ve seen on behalf of those of us who would perpetuate white privilege at any cost.