Over the weekend a young man was caught on video committing the most horrific crime imaginable in contemporary America: being white, Republican and insufficiently deferential to a minority.
I am so deeply grieved and angry by this as young kids in MAGA hats surrounded and mocked a beloved Native American elder yesterday.
When your power is centered in your whiteness, mocking others who are unlike you makes you feel strong.
But it’s weak. And despicable. pic.twitter.com/38FtzGtowL
— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 19, 2019
Plus side: A face like that never changes. This image will define his life. No one need ever forgive him. pic.twitter.com/0jrnQ3hQu1
— Michael Green (@andmichaelgreen) January 19, 2019
The usual Twitter mob formed, headed by blue checkmarks with enormous followings who called for the young man to be ostracised from society along with his family and friends (check out the entire timeline to see just how depraved this pile-on became). While the individual in the video might look like a smug git with a punchable face, it’s important to note that he did not engage in violence, nor abuse anybody. In fact, on any objective measure he doesn’t seem to be doing much wrong. But none of that matters, and the hatred and anger being directed at this teenager by Twitter’s finest rests on his merely being “disrespectful” to a protected class. The terms “white privilege” and “white supremacy” are being thrown around like confetti and, naturally, Trump is to blame.
However, several videos have since emerged (1, 2, 3) which shows the kids were doing little other than acting like kids do on a school trip when the Native American “elder” approached them, beating his drum. In other words, he got in their faces, not the other way around. Oh, and the kids were also being told they were on “stolen land” and should “go back to Europe“; presumably they were expected to meekly accept that and move on. One might also ask where the outrage was after this incident, or this one. The Washington Post quickly got hold of the Native American and uncritically published his side of the story, whereas the boys, who are pupils at a Catholic School, had no such ear lent to them. Nonetheless, one pupil’s account seems to match that of the video footage, and as I am writing this most of Twitter agrees the entire episode was a deliberate attempt to construct a narrative using misleading footage and generate a pile-on.
There are a couple of points to make here. The first is that since Trump’s election, race relations have collapsed to lower levels than even Obama managed, not because of bands of Nazis roaming the land lynching blacks but because there is now an entire industry devoted to labeling anyone and everyone a racist if they do so much as twitch an eyelash in opposition to aggressive minorities. It seems a lot of people, including an awful lot of whites, are hell-bent on starting a race war using a wholly imagined prevalence of white supremacy as an excuse. Ironically, these people claim to be opposed to the “normalising” of white supremacist thought, but here’s the thing: if you keep bandying that term around and accusing random people of being white supremacists for not grovelling before troublemaking minorities, at some point it is going to become normalised. Trump’s about as much a white supremacist as he is a Trappist monk, but progressives have decided everyone who supports him is a card-carrying racist. Well, keep that up and don’t be surprised if a candidate appears on the scene threatening to take minorities down a peg or two and a few million vote for him. The ZMan often remarks that, sooner or later, whites are going to start voting along racial lines just as everyone else does; incidents like this are only going to bring that moment closer.
The second point is I can see a business opportunity in providing immediate support to those on the receiving end of a Twitter mob. These people need professional help in the form of legal advice, personal security, and PR on short notice in order to keep themselves safe and their lives intact. I’ve heard a few discussions on podcasts on what to do if a Twitter mob comes for you, and I’d not be surprised to find companies springing up actually offering this service before too long. Maybe one day you’ll be able to insure yourself against it; considering how many people fear it compared to how many it actually happens to, it might be a lucrative market.