If you’ve been following the #FTBullies
controversy ridiculous hissy fit reasoned discussion by reasonable people (with reason!), you may have come across a number of people calling my credibility and motivations into question with regard to my refusing to grant any legitimacy to the meme that Freethought Blogs is a hive-mind that silences dissent. “Of course he won’t criticize them,” say the nay-sayers “He has too much to lose! He’s trying to stay on PZ’s good side! He’s trying to ‘move up the ladder*’!”
Well folks… they’re on to me. I need this gig. You see, being employed full-time as a researcher, playing in a rock band, and juggling personal and volunteer activities simply isn’t enough for me. I need to have people occasionally tell me that they like my writing. I need it. I also can’t live without the ~$60/month mega-haul that I get from being on FTB. It’s all part of a grand scheme I hatched 2 years ago, pretending to care about racism and other social justice issues in a devious plot to be included as a middling-trafficked site on a blog network that didn’t exist yet. You got me.
And now apparently my meal ticket is about to blow away:
One morning last week, as per usual, I woke up to read my hometown Boston Globeonline. As I scanned the updates on Queen Elizabeth’s handshake and Rielle Hunter’s breakup, my eyes landed on a headline proclaiming what might be the most historic, transformational news of my lifetime. No, not the upholding of Obama’s health care law. This headline was much, much bigger: Stain of Racism Is Finally Fading in America.
As a 41-year-old black woman living in America, you can imagine my visceral reaction. “It’s about #*!^@% time!” But I quickly moved past that, because I couldn’t wait another second to dive into a column announcing the sunset of white racism, written by my formerGlobe colleague and syndicated conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby.
We’ve been breathlessly forecasting the arrival of a post-racial society going on four years. Now, according to Jacoby, it’s Jubilee time. “America’s racist past is dead and gone,”he proclaimed, and as I read on all I could think is, this is gonna be some funeral.
Well shit. Talking about racism was the only way I could tap into the white guilt of the atheist community. Without racism, how will I be able to manipulate people into pretending that I have something worthwhile to contribute? I’ll finally be exposed as the fraud I am! And I’m not the only one:
While we’re on the subject of betting, let’s talk about cards. Race cards, to be precise. It sounds like someone is going to have to break some news to Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author, blogger, and senior editor for The Atlantic, whom Jacoby cites as insisting “that America is steeped in white racism . . . He has no intention of putting away the race card.”
Mr. Coates, are you sitting down? Here it is: You are going to have to find a new card to play. Actually, you’re going to need a whole new deck. The jack of intractable-racial-disparities-in-health-care, the queen of yet-another-Obama-joke-about-monkeys-and-watermelon, the straight flush of black men into prison before they can get to college – all those cards are gonna have to go. Racism is finally dead — we won! Or as Jacoby seems to imply, you lost, and need to find a new job.
Shit. No wonder black unemployment is so high – the only real skills we have are as dealers of an endless string of race cards that guilt hard-working white landowners into taking us on, unqualified and lazy as we are.
Seriously though, Francie Latour has written a brilliantly biting piece of satire, and you should check out the whole thing.
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*Someone literally said this, upon which I laughed myself thinking of all the FTBloggers perched on an A-frame ladder trying desperately to outdo each other for… I dunno, cookies from PZ I guess.
I suppose I should admit that there have been times when someone on FTB has said something that I disagreed with, but I didn’t say anything. Most of the time it is out of apathy (i.e., the issue is minor or tangential to the topics of this blog). On a rare occasion, it’s because I think it’s tacky to criticize someone else’s style, especially when you work with them (but obviously I’ll make an exception if the flaw is egregious). I guess the ‘take home’ of this is that the way to tell I’m trying to stay on someone’s “good side” is when I’m being silent – I assure you that happens extremely rarely. If I go to the trouble of saying I agree, it’s because I do.