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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Reasons why Robin DiAngelo is bad Part 3: She supports micro-revenge

Reasons why Robin DiAngelo is bad Part 1: Race essentialism
Reasons why Robin DiAngelo is bad Part 2: She broke US labor law and bragged about it

Reasons why Robin DiAngelo is bad Part 3: she supports micro-revenge

In Part 2 of Reasons why Robin DiAngelo is bad, we saw that DiAngelo admitted she discriminated against white people (and in doing so likely broke US labor law) in a workplace setting because a bigot complained in advance of a company workshop about "white women's tears."

DiAngelo then asked the bigot to act as a consultant for her article for "The Good Men Project" as she says in the article:
I asked the woman of color I referred to in the opening of this article if I had missed anything in this list. This was her response:
“It’s infuriating because of its audacity of disrespect to our experience. You are crying because you are uncomfortable with your feelings when we are barely allowed to have any. You are ashamed or some such thing and cry, but we are not allowed to have any feelings because then we are being difficult. We are supposed to remain stoic and strong because otherwise we become the angry and scary people of color. We are only allowed to have feelings for the sake of your entertainment, as in the presentation of our funerals. And even then, there are expectations of what is allowed for us to express. We are abused daily, beaten, raped and killed but you are sad and that’s what is important. That’s why it is sooooo hard to take.”
Now recall that the offense in question was the possibility that a white person might cry in sympathy over the shooting of a black person. How would crying in sympathy over violence against a black person demonstrate "We are abused daily, beaten, raped and killed but you are sad and that’s what is important"?

I think the unspoken reasoning behind such a statement is this: black people have been the targets of extreme injustice by a white majority, therefore, as a white person you should be the target of a small injustice like, for instance, you are not permitted to cry in the presence of a black person.

That is what micro-revenge is. And it's about time that Social Justice social media admit that this is what they support. Although I suspect they only support it when the target of the micro-revenge is some unnamed, random "white" person. I think they might feel differently if they themselves became the target of micro-revenge.

The advantage of micro-revenge is that you can target any white person for punishment on behalf of any and all injustices ever perpetrated against people of color but since the revenge is small - being told to leave the room, being told you can't cry, being told it's OK if a person of color tweets #CancelWhitePeople - one is unlikely to be held accountable, even if US labor law is broken.

DiAngelo then adds support to the workplace bigot's argument in favor of micro-revenge by using the murder of Emmett Till:
Men of color may also may come to the aid of white women in these exchanges, and are likely also driven by their conditioning under sexism and patriarchy. But men of color have the additional weight of racism to navigate. This weight has historically been deadly. For black men in particular, the specter of Emmett Till and countless others who have been beaten and killed over a white woman’s claims of cross-racial distress is ever present. Ameliorating the woman’s distress as quickly as possible may be felt as a literal matter of survival. Yet coming to the rescue of a white woman also drives a wedge between men and women of color. Rather than receive social capital that reinforces his status, a man of color put in this position must now live with the agony of having to support racism in order to survive.
I don't know where Robin DiAngelo grew up or what her experiences have been, but I am not much younger than her, and it has not been my experience that black men are going around comforting white women. I mean sure, I've known lots of black men and many have been very nice, and so I assume they would comfort someone in distress - but black men going around comforting white women as a "matter of survival" did not exist in any place I have lived, which has mainly been in New York and New Jersey.

Emmett Till's death was a very specifically Southern phenomenon. Till himself grew up in Chicago and was killed when he was visiting relatives in Mississippi. It is very likely that had Till stayed in Chicago he would never have been murdered, even if he had whistled at a white woman.

This is the kind of sleazy thing that Robin DiAngelo does - takes an event that happened in the South in 1955 and presents it as if it is typical of the present time. As if all white American women living now are scheming Southern belles looking for a chance to grab power by weaponizing emotions and the threat of lynching.

And then there is the stretcher that Americans are haunted by the "specter of Emmett Till" - not only do most white Americans not know who Till was, I'll wager that a considerable percentage of black Americans don't know who he was either. Americans are famously bad at history, so this should surprise nobody.

Ultimately though, I don't think DiAngelo cares whether her assertions about white people are literally true: sixty-four years ago, a white woman's sensitivities were used to justify Emmett Till's murder. Therefore white women in the workplace in the present time, many of whom were not born in 1955, do not deserve to have their sensitivities respected - even if their sensitivities are in  sympathy with black people. That is the logic of ethnic revenge, in this case, micro-revenge.

DiAngelo's career is based on selling "white fragility" and white people being assholes is the essence of white fragility. So why wouldn't she jack up her rhetoric to make white people in general seem even worse than a too-high percentage already are? It's good for business. And certainly the media, let alone her followers, will never ask her to provide evidence to support her claims.

She is so bold about making unsupported statements about white people's attitudes that she made a claim about Jackie Robinson, which she not only failed to provide evidence for, but she made the claim in spite of all kinds of easily-accessible evidence against.

Which we will discuss in Part 4.

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