Ok, bring on the bad feelings, 'cause I'm going to tackle another sensitive topic: people who are members of minorities exploiting that minority status in order to get special pleading from the greater community.
Special pleading is where you say, "Well, you know, we [insert group name here] have had a history of oppression, and so, while our ideas might be outrageous, you have a moral obligation to support them. Even if they fatten our pockets more than the people we say we're helping."
Because if you don't you're a bad, bad, man who'se on the side of the oppressors!
I say this with an out: it happens in working class circles as well, although most people in the greater community don't give a damn about the working class, so this type of pimping has less of an audience.
Having grown up working class, although I got an insane amount of privilege
after, which is the reason you're seeing this site today...., I can use those experiences to paint the case of workers in a 'special pleading' sense quite well, although I choose not to.
The option is always there, though.
So, in other words, I see this from the inside as well as from the outside.
And pimping for minority causes doesn't actually help those causes at all, instead, it puts up barriers to real radicals who want change which doesn't involve laying a guilt trip on someone. In other words, most change.
People who are most concerned with real change, I'm finding, are too concerned with making that change happen to spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with ways to make people feel guilty in order to support that change. Obligation is always a part of trying to get support for something, but most people who are sincere just let the facts tell it themselves with less comment on it from a Sally Struthers "Feed the Children" perspective rather than more.
And so pimping for whatever cause hurts the cause more than it helps, and it's fundamentally dishonest.
I think that whenever someone hears a pimp-ed speech they know that the person is being disingenuous, they know that they're being conned, but they let it happen anyways because they feel they have a moral obligation to be conned, if that makes any sense.
How does it stand in the way of real change? I mention that in the article in the articles section of this blog about workers' voices...when I say that worker-ism has been the biggest counter-worker force in the labor movement and in the fight to get workers a decent living in the last fifty years.
I could generalize this to groups which I don't have primary experience with but can see operating: liberal groups representing minorities which don't do anything radical whatsoever, but who instead just mouth the words white liberals like to hear and pick up their fundraising checks.
Liberal organizations devoted to civil rights and to the environment that don't do a damn thing for either civil rights or the environment but who say the right things and pick up their fundraising checks.
Do you see a pattern here?
It's not that there aren't radical minority youth, or people working in x community who want radical change, or radical environmentalists or people who would radically defend civil liberties, or radical working class folks, it's that these voices get steamrolled under the much more powerful and much more acceptable voices of those who pimp all of these causes for liberal, white, middle and upper class support.
They form a sort of united front of liberalism, where people without any connection to the causes and without any real involvement in anything beyond their checkbooks can just look them up, say "Ah, this is how ....
is doing these days, ok, I can understand it", never be challenged, never challenge, and go on with their day.
You know, people complain about Fox News and Fox and the Republican party's insular, echo chamber, worldview, but in the contest of who's more responsable for the stunning ignorance about real issues that Americans have which was revealed by 9/11 the liberals and the democrats surely place up there.
Remember when Mr. Nader was talking about tweedly-dee and tweedly-dum parties? I think that that can be generalized to the greater political culture.
Tweedly-dee thinks that guns, god, and free enterprise are the big issues of the day, tweedly-dum thinks that abortion rights, (some) civil liberties, multi-culturalism and tolerance, and education are the issues of the day.
Neither one of them sees that the real issues of the day are located elsewhere, in the struggle between rich and poor and corporate power and popular power.
All of the issues that they talk about have a foothold in reality and have their place; but the discourse that they're enmeshed in is so far from the real issues which matter in this country that they don't matter. And they prove a distraction from the real issues.
Death by a thousand causes which need to be put in a context in which they can be understood.
Instead of doing that people paper cut each other to death, with the consequence being that the status quo of liberalism vs. conservatism carries the day, while the whole context within which we look at problems needs to be changed.