Look what you made me do!


Wow, the New York Times opinion pages keep reminding me of what a craphole they’ve become. The latest entry is by Gerard Alexander, an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, who appears to wag a finger at those dang liberals who keep pointing out that the electorate that voted Trump into office were mostly conservative white folks who were driven by racial bias.

Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.

In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted, who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years, but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.

“Consider themselves not bigoted”…well, now I’m convinced. They don’t believe the things they do and say, or that Trump does and says, are bigoted, therefore they aren’t. You know, that’s not how the universe works.

And worse, he’s arguing that if we point out the racist/sexist awfulness of the Trump administration, they’ll then become even more racist/sexist out of spite. Please stop. This isn’t how people operate. You don’t become something you despise because people call you a mean name — you might exaggerate what you really are, but you don’t become the antithesis of your beliefs.

All Alexander’s complaints are is a litany of abuser’s cliches: “You made me do hit you!” “It’s all your fault — if you did the things I told you to do, I wouldn’t be angry!” “I don’t like smacking you around, but how else will you learn?” “I’m not the bully, you are!”

Look at the horrible things liberals do.

Pressing a political view from the Oscar stage, declaring a conservative campus speaker unacceptable, flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided — these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority. It’s one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people’s. The former can set an example. The latter is domineering.

Yes, we can disagree with conservatives, and we can say so. Don’t you believe in free speech?

It’s true, some speakers are unacceptable. If they want to come to campus and declare that lesbians, or Republicans, need to be murdered, we ought to shut that poison right down.

Obviously huge segments of the country are misguided — they elected a corrupt, incompetent charlatan to run the country. QED.

It is a very different thing when someone uses their speech to incite violence and hatred, but it’s not that much different from when you use your own speech to provoke violence and hatred. Alexander is basically arguing that it’s not liberals’ business if right-wingers spout racism and misogyny — that they get a free pass on doing that because they’re not liberals.

Sorry, guy, you’re an American, supposedly. There exists a commonality that requires some agreement on civil behavior.

The whole piece is an exercise in hypocrisy and false equivalency. You tell me one thing that liberals have done that is worse than bombing foreign countries, throwing away environmental regulations, poisoning the water in Flint with lead, fomenting a tragic rise in racism & hate crimes, separating immigrant mothers from their children, enabling the NRA to turn our country into a war zone, or wrecking the economy? If you do, I’ll probably suggest that yeah, we should stop that. It doesn’t mean you’ve got an excuse to continue destroying the United States and all the people within it.

The only good thing about that essay that once again my decision to never, ever give a penny to the New York Times was affirmed. Where do they dredge up these awful people?

Comments

  1. screechymonkey says

    Frankly, most supposedly “liberal” media outlets spent the first year or so after the 2016 election insisting that white voters acted out of “economic insecurity” rather than racism. But as more and more studies showed that this was simply untrue, that fiction became harder to sustain. But I guess we’re all supposed to shut up about that, because “facts don’t care about your feelings!” only applies in one direction.

  2. says

    You should go back in history and read the achieved NYT opinion pages, especially those leading to our entry into WWI and while we were in the war, if you think that The Times has gotten worse. Their (late) opposition to Vietnam and to Nixon are outliers.

  3. zenlike says

    It’s one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people’s.

    He says, while writing a column that literally polices the language of others.

    The operation that removed his self-awareness was a complete success, one must assume.

  4. iknklast says

    You tell me one thing that liberals have done that is worse than bombing foreign countries, throwing away environmental regulations, poisoning the water in Flint with lead, fomenting a tragic rise in racism & hate crimes, separating immigrant mothers from their children, enabling the NRA to turn our country into a war zone, or wrecking the economy

    They elected a man who wasn’t white to be POTUS. They voted for a woman to be POTUS. Isn’t that enough? Seriously?
    /s

  5. cartomancer says

    I suppose it’s progress of a sort. The best argument the regressives can muster is that it’s impolite to point out how awful their position is. They don’t argue that it’s not awful, they’ve conceded that, all they have left is a feeble attempt to invoke civility in the hope it will distract us.

  6. thirdmill301 says

    In general, I think it’s a waste of time to call people racists, even if they very clearly are, just because if they really are racists they’re not going to care if they’re called out on it. Their rejoinder is likely to be mockery.

    Instead, I have found it more effective to tell the story of the guy who found a genie in a bottle who said he could have anything he wanted, on the condition that his neighbor get double. He hated his neighbor, so he thought for a few minutes and said, “Can you make me blind in one eye?” His hatred of his neighbor was so important to him that he was willing to endure being half blind if it meant his neighbor would be even worse off.

    And that, I think, sums up a lot of Trump voters. Even though they, personally, would be better off under Democratic policies, so would a lot of people they don’t like. And they are willing to suffer under Trump policies if it means those other people do too.

  7. Larry says

    Not all who voted for trump are bigots, but all of them knowingly voted for one.

  8. says

    “…voted for one.” That’s a bit of an understatement. They voted for at least two, and, effectively, for a whole lot more.

    They’re like a guy who mows a swastika in his lawn, and says, “If you don’t shut up about it, I’ll become a Nazi!”

  9. says

    “Libtard”

    “Liberalism is a mental disorder.”

    “Feminism is cancer.”

    “Triggered, snowflake? Run off to your safe space!”

    I’m curious where all the op-eds are lecturing conservatives over the things they say. I’m getting really fucking sick of us being the only side who keeps getting told we need to mollycoddle our political opponents.

  10. busterggi says

    “In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted”

    What bigot considers themselves to be a bigot?

  11. mond says

    It’s one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people’s.

    I would say that language can be a form of violence (not just the incitement type language).
    So if you replace the word language with violence in the about quote it just shows what a nonsense the statement is.

  12. Reginald Selkirk says

    Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.

    I readily admit that not every one of those Trump supporters is racist. It might be that there are one or two exceptions. Heck, let’s say that there are 60 million exceptions. It is still by joining forces with open racists that they got the job done.

  13. Oggie. says

    You tell me one thing that liberals have done that is worse than bombing foreign countries, throwing away environmental regulations, poisoning the water in Flint with lead, fomenting a tragic rise in racism & hate crimes, separating immigrant mothers from their children, enabling the NRA to turn our country into a war zone, or wrecking the economy?

    We pointed out that warmongering chickenhawk xenophobic racist bigoted misandric hyper-capitalist gun-fondling murderers are, actually, warmongering chickenhawk xenophobic racist bigoted misandric hyper-capitalist gun-fondling murderers. And, as we have seen, again and again and again, from the news, from the administration, from congress, from the right-wing supporters, from the extreme radical evangelicals, accurately reporting what was actually said and done, and pointing out that what was said and done is warmongering chickenhawk xenophobic racist bigoted misandric hyper-capitalist gun-fondling murder, is far, far, far worse than what was actually said or done.

  14. Saad says

    In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted

    Sincerely considering yourself not bigoted is not the same thing as not bigoted. Trump seems to sincerely consider himself as not sexist.

    who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years

    When were they going to reconsider this? Why didn’t they do it while their candidate was openly saying the things he was saying before the election? Surely that should have been a more eye-opening moment for them than me addressing them nicely and begging them to change.

    but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.

    That’s just an excuse.

    You can call me every single name/slur in the book and it won’t make me join forces with right-wing assholes.

  15. leerudolph says

    busterggi@11 asks: “What bigot considers themselves to be a bigot?”
    I do! More precisely, I consider myself a Merriam-Webster Dictionary Bigot (of the Modified Parenthetical subtype): I am definitely “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” My personal Modified Parenthetical reads “(such as Trump voters of whatever social or economic class, also smarmy Op-Ed Columnists, Sad Puppies, etc.)”. I could, if absolutely necessary, go on about the details of my obstinacy and intolerance, but meh.

  16. ragarth says

    It’s interesting… Label someone a racist and the president calls them fine people. Label someone as black and the police shoot them.

    Yep, racists are totally damnable.

  17. leerudolph says

    Saad@16 says: “Trump seems to sincerely consider himself as not sexist.”
    It’s probably just my Dictionary Bigotry™ showing, but I (sincerely!) cannot see any sign, in anything that he does, that Trump is sincere about anything.

  18. unclefrogy says

    @19
    well he is sincere about his concern with money his of course not yours or mine.
    @5 yes yes yes

    uncle frogy

  19. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully”

    With an ACTUAL sledgehammer, then? Sounds useful.

  20. lotharloo says

    who appears to wag a finger at those dang liberals who keep pointing out that the electorate that voted Trump into office were mostly conservative white folks who were driven by racial bias.

    I accept that this explain a good sizable portion of Trump voters (and there is more than enough data for this) but I don’t think it does explain even more than 50% of them. For example, there are a lot of conservative votes who did not like Trump (they accept he is a liar, cheater, womanizer so not so great on family values) but ended up voting for him anyways.

    We have been over this many many times and everyone someone tries to push just one particular theory on why Trump got elected, I simply don’t see the data backing them. The most reasonable thing to say is that it was a combination of factors: racial bias, racists being excited about Trump, Trump being a strong man and conservatives liking strong men, Trump being well-known for being wealthy, Trump being a celebrity, Trump getting lots of media coverage, terrible candidate on the part of Democrats, bad campaigning from Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton being a woman, Hillary Clinton being a victim of conservative nutjob theories for decades, Hillary Clinton having less natural charisma than Trump, extreme conservative hate mongering of Hillary Clinton, and so on.

  21. consciousness razor says

    PZ:

    “Consider themselves not bigoted”…well, now I’m convinced. They don’t believe the things they do and say, or that Trump does and says, are bigoted, therefore they aren’t. You know, that’s not how the universe works.

    Plus, the best Alexander can hope to come up with is that they “might be open to reconsidering” vague stuff that’s somehow relevant to bigotry, which means they may not be open to it. That gets us nowhere, since if they’re not, his argument falls apart. So now it sounds like we’re supposed to be satisfied that (for all he knows) there’s a possibility that his argument hasn’t already fallen apart. I guess that’s the joke. Wait… they didn’t put this in the funny pages? I mean, it is the NYT and all, but don’t they still have a separate section for that stuff?

    Alexander:

    Pressing a political view from the Oscar stage, declaring a conservative campus speaker unacceptable, flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided — these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority

    Yes, how dare I be confident. You got me. It reveals so very much. I’m sure somebody out there thinks it warrants an apology (but they’re also not overly sure that it does). If only you had an argument showing how I’m mistaken racism or which speakers are acceptable or which people are misguided or whatever it may be, so that I may correct my ways, instead of … whatever the fuck this is supposed to be…. I don’t know what, an attempted diversion, when you don’t have a position you can defend? Pointless jabbering? Another bad joke?

  22. Curious Digressions says

    Just thinking of the millions of bigots who read this column and nod along, feeling better about their bigotry makes me ill.

    Everyone agrees that bigots are Bad People. People who are bigoted don’t see themselves as Bad People. Therefore, they can’t be bigots. They’re wrong, of course, but it’s logically consistent for them.

  23. says

    23: Let’s not forget the myriad ways in which the GOP outright cheated. Disenfranchisement through tortuous ID laws, choking down voting hours, closing polling places, and sending bad machines to “urban” areas (note the incredible coincidence that the only places where exit polling didn’t match announced results was in those close, close races in GOP-held states). Teaming up with Russia to flood social media with targeted lies and memes. There were others.

  24. says

    If this theory is true, then the following situation should happen to me:

    Me: *writes an article about trans rights and racial justice*

    Trolls: “You’re an SJW Regressive Leftist!”

    Me: “Great, now look what you’ve done! You made me deplatform Christina Hoff Sommers from college campuses!”

  25. Phrenomythic Productions says

    This!

    …a litany of abuser’s cliches: “You made me do hit you!”

    This should be set in stone and framed in gold. This is exactly it.

  26. Chris J says

    This argument is basically the racist grandparent at Thanksgiving argument. Oh, they were raised in a different way, they may not be capable of change, best placate them til they due and are replaced by more progressive minds.

    Except it’s applied to a whole political group. Implicitly, we liberals are the adults in the room. We must be patient with the children, teach them without making them defensive or they’ll spitefully dig in deeper.

    Its nonsense to treat 1/3 to 1/2 the country this way. They’re adults as well, and should be able to take criticism and introspect like adults.

    Anyways, the left *is* careful about language and labels. But no matter how careful and delicate we are, modern conservatives spread propaganda about how liberals are calling everyone mean names willy-nilly and whining about safe spaces. Then the moderates and conservatives and even liberals hear that propaganda and take it as truth, wagging their finger at liberals who are willing to call a spade a spade.

    We aren’t dealing with toddlers, and we aren’t dealing with a political ideology that acts in good faith. We police our language heavily already, that’s not the problem here.

  27. Phrenomythic Productions says

    Holy crap! Have you seen the top comment of the NYT picks of the comments!?

    To be sure you understand: The NYT editors thought the following was a comment worth highlighting:

    This one landed close to home:

    “Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. ”

    I don’t care what color someone’s skin is, but I believe in Western civilization, especially the modern version that is trying to be fair to everyone. But I’m afraid it is sowing the seeds of its own destruction. We supported and implemented zero population growth, but our competition did not. I’m afraid that in a generation or two, the entire world will resemble the third world, and whites will become a persecuted minority.

    And it goes on with a tireless racist tirade along the lines of “white genocide” and “the great replacement”. Just as you thought the NYT couldn’t sink any deeper.

  28. says

    @Phrenomythic Productions that commenter apparently hasn’t heard that the birth rate for a lot of the “competition” is declining too. Iran for example has a birth rate that has been slightly less than that of the US in recent years.

  29. jrkrideau says

    @ 32 timgueguen
    Such a commentator may not be able to find Iran on a world map let alone know anything about the Iranian birthrate.

    I keep recalling some American posters on usenet, who, just after 9/11, were advocating printing a few tons of pamphlets in Arabic and loading them on a plan and blanketing Afghanistan with them.

    I will leave the readers to work out the problems here.

  30. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    some American posters on usenet, who, just after 9/11, were advocating printing a few tons of pamphlets in Arabic and loading them on a [plane] and blanketing Afghanistan with them.

    This. Is. Classic.

    Of course, we also would need to load a supertanker with pamphlets in slavic to blanket Djibouti if we really wanted to eliminate terrorism.

  31. bcwebb says

    There are a huge number of people who consider themselves not racist because they are polite to the help
    as long as they know their place. These same people may not think of their immigrant or Hispanic or black friends as part of those people – they are not those dangerous others they fear are taking their birthrights and homeland. Punishing those others – the greedy poor, the sluts, the gays, the scary Muslims and foreigners is a feature of their votes for Trump because they want to hurt those others for making them scared. By outsourcing cruelty to the government American racists can indulge their desire to break things and hurt people without having to directly experience the consequences of their actions. When someone they know is hurt, they are upset but never connect it with their own choice

  32. Anton Mates says

    flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided

    Er, how could huge segments of the country not be misguided? There’s a quarter of a billion adults in the United States, we disagree on lots of issues, and some of those issues are very important. Somebody’s got to be wrong.

    these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority

    And we all know how Trump fans hate self-confidence! “Make America Timid Again,” that’s their motto. No doubt they’ll happily convert to progressive causes as soon as we radiate enough doubt and uncertainty.

  33. Holms says

    The line “…people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted” is genuinely funny, which also reveals an impressive shallowness of thought.

  34. Dunc says

    lotharloo, @23:

    We have been over this many many times and everyone someone tries to push just one particular theory on why Trump got elected, I simply don’t see the data backing them. The most reasonable thing to say is that it was a combination of factors: [list cut for brevity]

    Never underestimate the attraction of “pissing off liberals”… It’s arguably the single most animating factor for a lot of “conservative” voters, and the biggest single thing they have in common.

  35. Onamission5 says

    Alexander’s complaint is, essentially, that after decades of progressives broadly tsk-tsking our more outspoken elements over their tone, buying into the conservative narrative about the necessity of one sided civility, putting up with being called all manner of names and having all manner of lies told about ourselves, somewhat more of us than before have stopped doing most of that on a regular basis in favor of speaking the truth plainly and loudly, and the more we practice (most of us are absolutely out of practice), the better we get at swaying public opinion.

    Fucking whaa.

  36. unclefrogy says

    the more I hear and read what conservatives think and say the more I am coming to the conclusion that most of it makes little sense. It more resembles rationalization for what they want with the widow dressing of patriotism wrapped in fear of the “other”. There is little emphasis on the principles and founding ideals of democracy. It is pure rationalization unalloyed with actual data or reason it is all, them! them! them! never an inclusive “We The People” all negative distrust, scorn and denial of our fellow humans.
    uncle frogy

  37. DanDare says

    I think calling someone racist and showing why is unlikely to get any change from the racist. However it can be an eye opener for the audience if the explanation is sound. Never forget the audience.

  38. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Never forget the audience.

    Been responding to the lurkers rather than the troll for years. Not a hard slogan/motto to remember.

  39. says

    You know.. I had the serious thought today of, “What, in practical terms, is the actual difference between a sociopath, a fanatic, and a narcissist, once they become elevated to high enough office.” The only thing I can come up with is that the sociopath thinks its all a game they are “winning”, and all the NPCs are just pissing them off by fighting back harder every time they do something that hurts them, while the fanatics think they are doing “good”, and will be “rewarded”, while the narcissist just wants to win *period*, and, while recognizing that its real people they are hurting, just doesn’t care at all, until they start losing. But.. really.. the behavior looks identical to us poor NPCs, and.. half the GOP seems to either think they are “winning” and don’t care who they hurt (after all, it might be for your own good), or literally don’t think people are real, so have no problem ruining their lives. The other half..

    But, this is just observed behavior, from a layman, so.. How do you sit a political party down, or even parts of it, and run them/it through a psych evaluation anyway?

    To put it in light of the “logic” so many of them use to justify this stuff, and based off your other article on free thought and its meaning, and their questionable use of the idea:

    //This assumes “fuzzy” data conversion, like some forms of BASIC.
    //It uses no “defined” type, so “guesses” what is intended, from context.
    define add(a, b) {return a+b}

    Results:
    add (1, 1) > 2
    add (“aewrtd”, 343) > aewrtd343

    Perfect logic is only perfect when you control for the absurd and unexpected. Just because something “does” work a certain way doesn’t mean that it won’t produce insane results, when misused. And, these people think every bloody idea, no matter how misapplied it is, is a cookie cutter. Which, you know.. makes sense to use when making both cookies, and, say.. fruit smoothies (or economics and sociology), but.. even more sense if you cram the two together.

  40. KG says

    if they really are racists they’re not going to care if they’re called out on it. – thirdmill301@6

    …and the prize for “Claim most obviously refuted by reality” – in this case, the reality of countless thousands of racists whining online about being called racists, andor starting a racistdiatribe with “I’m not racist but…” – goes to thirdmill301!
    *thunderous applause*

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