The “believe all women” mantra, unceremoniously abandoned by the Left after their presidential nominee was accused of sexual assault (a purely coincidental chain of events, to be sure), has now been resurrected and repurposed. Instead of believing all women regardless of evidence, we are now meant to believe all claims of racism regardless of evidence. An article published in The Wall Street Journal this week drives the point home.
Titled, “What Does Being an Ally Look Like? Companies Offer Training in Support of Black Colleagues,” the piece is a lengthy tutorial on how to be white in the modern workplace. Among other things, white people are supposed to be “sounding boards” for their minority coworkers. Also, whites must not “refer to their black co-workers as being ‘too loud,’ or ‘aggressive’ or their appearance doesn’t fit within their personal acceptable standards.” This would be a “micro-aggression,” we are told. But the main point, according to consultant Wilda White, is this: “If a Black person tells you that they’re feeling something is racist, just believe them.”
On one level, this makes sense. If someone tells you they are feeling a certain way, you really have no choice but to believe what they say about their own personal feelings. But the implication in this case is that we should believe the person not just about their own feelings, but about the fact that the thing is racist. CNN recently posted a handy guide on “how to talk to your black friends” which explains that to deny a black person’s racism claim is to “invalidate his experiences.” Instead we are instructed to respond affirmatively to any charge of racism with statements like “That’s hard. I wish that hadn’t happened to you,” or “What can I do to try to address it?”
This intentionally conflates feelings, facts, and experiences as if they are all the same. But your feelings about a fact don’t change the fact or have any other effect on it. Facts don’t care about your feelings, as someone once said. And your experience of an event is just your experience. It doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the objective reality of that event. In some cases, it may not tell you anything at all.
Moreover, racism is fundamentally a matter of intent. If a statement or action is motivated by racial animus, then it’s racist. If not, it isn’t. Some statements and actions are overtly, clearly racist in both interpretation and intent. But when it comes to “microaggressions” and other slippery forms of perceived potential racism, like telling someone they’re “too loud,” the intent behind a statement or action can only be truly known by the person making the statement or performing the action. Only they can speak authoritatively on the subject of their own feelings and motivations. Apart from the individual revealing those feelings and motivations in some way, one would need to see some clear pattern of racist behavior to confidently presume racial motivation.
Let’s take a specific example from the WSJ article. If a white person (let’s call him Ted) tells a black person (Mike) that he’s being “too loud,” Mike may feel that he is the victim of a racist attack. Yes, we should believe that he feels that way if he says he feels that way. But how Mike feels about Ted’s intentions is irrelevant to the question of what actually motivated Ted’s behavior. In this scenario, there are a whole host of reasons why Ted may have said this to Mike. One of those explanations is that Mike was actually being too loud in the workplace and preventing Ted from doing his job. Another explanation is that Ted has overly sensitive eardrums. Or maybe Ted is just a pushy guy who does this sort of thing to everyone. Or maybe he’s racist. Or maybe one of a dozen increasingly less likely explanations.
We can all theorize about why Ted said what he said, and Mike can feel any way he wants about it, but without some further evidence, the only person in the entire universe who can definitively confirm or reject any explanation is Ted himself. The Left’s warriors for racial justice would like us to believe that, in fact, Mike is the authority on Ted’s intentions, and that even Ted himself should defer to Mike’s analysis of Ted’s behavior. This, of course, is lunacy and should be firmly rejected by all thinking people.
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