There was a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal recently written by Robert L. Woodson Sr. The title, Even the Fiercest Social-Justice Warrior Should Learn Mercy, sums up well the goal of the author, which is to get today’s racial grievance mongers to stop focusing so much on righting wrongs from the past and instead employ the radical grace championed by Mr. Woodson and others during civil rights era struggles against real entrenched societal oppression and horrific acts of racial violence.
“As a veteran of the civil-rights movement, I remember how our most effective weapon against bigotry, hatred and oppression was radical grace. If social activists want to mimic us, let them follow in this direction rather than demand the elevation of their particular tribal interests above all others. Activists’ focus on group identity and past wrongs fuels anger and resentment, deepening divisions instead of erasing them. The only antidote to the growing conflict is for black America to take back its historical victories against injustice from those repurposing them as ammunition for an anti-American agenda.”
At this point you might be asking what does a what does a middle aged white girl from the burbs know about black racism? Nothing of course. I would never pretend to understand what it’s like as a black person to be discriminated against, nor am I denying that racism exists today.
What I do know a lot about unfortunately is what Mr. Woodson alludes to in that last sentence about people perverting once noble causes and “repurposing them as ammunition for an anti-American agenda.” Anyone paying attention to today’s culture wars can clearly see that is the norm for social justice groups claiming to be fighting for the oppressed, but who are in reality pushing political agendas that have nothing to do with helping anyone but the people in power that run these groups.
The Women’s March is a fine example of this. It promotes itself as a champion of women’s interests and empowerment, yet it’s really about getting progressive candidates in to office to enact a far left agenda that I believe is harmful to women and squelches empowerment. At their core, the Women’s March and other grievance movements run counter to our Founding Fathers insistence that all men area created equal and that individual rights take precedence over those of the collective.
How so? By their adherence to intersectionality-the belief that societal oppression intersects among various tribes whose powerlessness is based on the the number of victim points they have. A transgender, black woman under this system garners more sympathy than a white gay man who only has 1 grievance box checked to her 3. There’s no accounting for a person’s unique background and character traits and no individuality, just balkanized groups assigned different spots on the hierarchy ladder of oppression .
Intersectionality has become a religion to its followers. It’s a cancer that encourages people to make assumptions about others based on race, sexual orientation and gender. It’s identity politics on steroids, which I’ve written about before here, here and here and it’s turning the progress we’ve made on racial discrimination and women’s empowerment on its head.
It’s a growing threat too because what was once contained to quirky liberal arts colleges, has spread like wildfire to the broader culture, as indoctrinated students graduated and moved on to positions of power in corporations and government. It’s a big reason why we live in a state of constant outrage, where people feel traumatized over the slightest of things and receive cultural validation for it if they belong to the “correct” tribe.
There is little grace in this and no mercy at all for the accused; no room for discussion, and absolutely no forgiveness for an honest mistake made. Societal chaos and divisiveness continue to grow and individual freedom shrinks as the power of the state gets called upon to “right” so many “wrongs.”
This does nothing for the truly oppressed, the poor and those that have been dealt crappy life cards. Chaining them them to a victimhood mentality of course only makes things worse, but no matter because it increases the constituency of the modern day grievance industry. The collateral damage of ruined, stunted lives is less important then the increased power and status gained by the movement.
It’s unclear where this will all lead. I’m hoping the asininity of intersectionality becomes the achilles heal that eventually kills it. As more and more groups claim victimhood status and the grievances become pettier and more absurd, a chain reaction of “eating their own” seems to be kicking in. The favored group of today becomes the micro aggressor of tomorrow and gets booted from the club. We can only hope the collapse comes soon.
In the meantime we could do worse than to study Robert Woodson’s ideas on forgiveness and self reflection as a path to empowerment and changed lives. As he says:
“This is a model for anyone seriously interested in erasing injustice and promoting equality. Nobody grows when activists are intolerant of others’ flaws or demand the end of careers because of past wrongs. Emphasizing past evil—let alone manufacturing racial attacks to satiate the media’s appetite—inflames anger on both sides. Let us wisely choose grace instead.”