Return your solar eclipse glasses and cancel your sun-watching parties, America. According to The Atlantic, Monday’s predicted total solar eclipse is, it turns out, racist.
At first glance, the headline, “American Blackout” appears to be an attempt to one-up the Boston Globe, who claimed that the sun, dastardly conservative that it is, was biased towards Trump supporters, since the swath of the country that will witness 100% coverage, is made up, mainly, of counties that went for Trump in the 2016 election.
But no, the essay, penned, unsurprisingly, by a university professor — Alice Ristroph of Brooklyn Law School — insists that the solar system, which itself exhibits signs of “implicit bias,” has it out for minorities.
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will arrive mid-morning on the coast of Oregon. It has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people. Presumably, this is not explained by the implicit bias of the solar system.
I think we can safely presume, yes, that the solar system is not capable of exhibiting either implicit nor explicit biases or, frankly, any preferences whatsoever. But of course, that doesn’t mean the solar system itself isn’t guilty of, say, “inanimate object privilege.”
Ristroph goes on:
Oregon, where this begins, is almost entirely white. The 10 percent or so of state residents who do not identify as white are predominantly Latino, American Indian, Alaskan, or Asian. There are very few black Oregonians.
From Oregon, the Great American Eclipse will travel through Idaho and Wyoming. (It will catch a tiny unpopulated piece of Montana, too.) Percentage-wise, Idaho and Wyoming are even whiter than Oregon. And as in Oregon, but even more so, the few non-white residents of Idaho and Wyoming are not black — they are mostly Latino, American Indian, and Alaskan.
Presumably, Ristroph is making an attempt at showcasing the systemic racism that endures in America’s heartland (although including progressive Oregon in the “heartland” is bizarre enough), because she weaves her way along the sun-and-moon’s path through the Midwest and the deep south, finding plenty to complain about with each successive state the poor celestial bodies are forced to haphazardly tumble over in their gravity-orchestrated alt-right march.
After Wyoming, the eclipse will go through Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri …
The total eclipse will be visible from Lincoln, Nebraska, the state’s capital, which reports a black population of 3.8 percent. The city of Omaha has a greater black population, about 14 percent. It is home to many of the refugees from Africa and elsewhere that Nebraska has welcomed in recent years, many of whom now work in slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. But Omaha is about 50 miles northeast of the path of totality.
Ultimately, Ristroph bemoans that even where the eclipse could access larger African-American populations, it appears to deliberately skirt them, such as in Mississippi, where the sun takes what can only be described as a clearly deliberate turn over Trump supporter-rich rural country rather than saving its show for major cities along the Gulf Coast where the populations are more diverse.
Finally, having exhausted the astronomical indicators, Ristroph reaches her ultimate conclusion: that America just plain sucks.
We tend to backlight our history, and so run the risk of trying to recover a glory that never existed. When the light in August changes, watch carefully.
We probably could have easily guessed that thesis before Ristroph crossed the map on the heels of the solar eclipse, but, of course, we had to be reminded for nearly two thousand words that the institutional left can suck the fun out of nearly anything, including a totally objective scientific phenomenon that, despite some of the crazier notions on Twitter, was not orchestrated centuries ago by the Illuminati to oppress the peoples of America’s mid-section. Particularly woke parents can probably even use Ristroph’s essay as a primer for how to teach the concepts of wealth inequality and internalized privilege to their children.
Pull on your pinhole eclipse viewers kids! Its time for socialism.