This is the second time I have written to you. During my studies, and even before, when I grew bored of TV series, I turned to following world news, American news, and some conservative Internet commentators.
Through these, I learned about the Social Justice Warrior movement and its misguided ways. The extremist members of this movement propagate hate against white people. Is it really ok to hate based on ethnicity? Why did the term "people of color" come to existence with the meaning of non-white people? Is white not a color? If not, then why is black considered a color in this sense? For both white and black are considered shades, not true colors, in art. SJWs connect "whiteness" to the colonizers of the Americas and not only to them, they extend the meaning to all Europeans, a crude generalization and racism on their part. One might ask the question why is it that they only view white people as not belonging to America when, in fact, African slaves were brought there to replace "the Indians" (native Americans), because they couldn't handle the burden of slavery well. So, in this sense everyone except native Americans should get out of your continent, the thought of which is quite absurd. Even so, why do they think it is ok to blame the younger generation for the sins of the older?
When commentators speak about gender and race issues, they make it sound like that SJWs are everywhere and pose a big problem. Because I'm not living there, I have limited means of gathering information. So, I would like to ask you: how widespread is this belief in your society, especially in the furry fandom, since it's known to be one of the most accepting fandoms? Do people get hung up on chasing nonexistent offences, intolerantly preaching tolerance, or is it just a magnified issue which doesn't come up as often? What is your opinion about this in general?
Farkas Ürdüng (23, Hungary)
* * *
I think it was comedian Eddie Murphy who did a humorous stand-up routine about color. Talking about white people, he noted, “When white people get cold, they turn blue; when they get angry, they turn red; when they get sick, they might get yellow or green, but when black people are cold or angry or sick, they’re still black. Seems to me white people are the ones who are colored” *snerk*.
Your letter seems to entangle two separate issues: social justice warriors and white guilt. They are not always the same. SJWs are objects of criticism because they are a form of troll, using insincere outrage over things they have heard are not politically correct and then having vitriolic fits about them online to score social justice points, so they will be seen as popular. Such people only do their “activism” online and do not do anything constructive in the real world to effect real change. In other words, they are frauds. Their use of politically correct mantras is just a tool for trolling; they don’t truly care about the issues they complain about.
Let’s move on to the politically correct movement in America and white guilt. Here is an extremely brief overview of the history behind it: As you are likely aware, the United States has a long history of oppressing other races, especially African Americans and Native Americans, but also other groups, including Chinese and Japanese immigrants, LGBT people, and, of course, women (who weren’t even allowed to vote until 1920, long after black men were “technically” permitted to vote, though many factors made this difficult, such as Jim Crow laws). Beginning with the 1960s Counterculture Movement, which centered in universities, especially those in New England and the West Coast (University of California, Berkeley, was the epicenter), and the Civil Rights Movement led by such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., there was a strong reaction against the injustices perpetrated against minority groups. A dissonance needed to be resolved between these injustices and the American image of being “land of the free and home of the brave.” Obviously, unless you were a white male, most Americans didn’t even start to experience real freedom until just the last few decades of our history.
[Side note: your statement that “African slaves were brought there to replace ‘the Indians’ (native Americans), because they couldn't handle the burden of slavery well” is untrue. Indians experienced slavery, it’s true, under the Europeans, but when it comes to Americans they were more often slaughtered, run off their lands, and put in re-education schools where they were forbidden to use their native languages. Africans were brought in to work the fields, primarily in the South, although a number of Northerners had slaves until those states started making it illegal. In other words, the Indians (who were perfectly capable of being slaves and often were [especially under Spain]) were mostly seen as a people to be exterminated (they posed a challenge to the white American concept of Manifest Destiny), while the Africans were considered a labor resource.]
After generations of work by civil rights leaders, America made progress in its laws to finally treat minorities better. As with any tidal change in society, there are reactionary forces led by about half of America (at least) that is still extremely prejudiced towards these groups. But because it was no longer legal (or at least ignored) in American society to be overtly prejudiced and abusive towards these groups, they kind of went underground. An example: before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages, the state of Michigan passed a state constitution amendment banning such unions. Before it went to a vote, however, polls indicated that most Michiganders were against the amendment. You see, even though the polls were anonymous, people didn’t want to be seen as prejudiced, but when they entered the voting booths, they voted for what was really in their hearts: hate. The same is true with racism in many parts of this country. For example, local leaders in some southern states have removed voting centers in areas with black majorities to make it harder for them to vote, but they say the reason is because they need to cut election costs.
Now, with a racist jackass inhabiting the White House and a majority of minority-hating Republicans in Congress, hateful Americans everywhere have felt empowered to once again spout their prejudices (currently, it is mostly aimed at Muslims from Arabic countries and at immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and south of the border). Republican leaders justify their actions by labeling Muslim minorities as terrorists and immigrants from Mexico and Central America and other points south as moochers stealing money from American taxpayers. The words on the Statue of Liberty have no meaning to right-wing people.
To point out your correct observation that all Americans are either immigrants or descended from immigrants (except for Indians [and, by the way, it is okay to call them Indians], who got here first), conservative politicians and other Americans do acknowledge this, it is just that they would prefer our immigrants to come from places like—as Trump requested—Norway, which he considers to be not a “shithole country.” The problem there is that people in Norway are generally much happier than Americans and have no compelling reason to flock here en masse.
Like a game of ping-pong, with the counter-revolution of white conservatives on the rise, you are now getting a counter-counter-revolution of left-wingers and those who are obsessed with political correctness, and part of this political correctness is a self-loathing (if you are white) for all the injustices of the past, even if you weren’t personally responsible for them. This is why Columbus Day is celebrated less and less and why there was a recent movement to destroy monuments to Confederate leaders.
As we bounce back and forth, the two extremes become more and more extreme, while moderates in the middle become scarce. Today, we have a deeply divided nation that is literally (judging by voting) a 50/50 split between liberals and conservatives. Add to this the fact that we have lost the ability to compromise in Congress, and that social media encourages people to express hostile opinions without having to hear counterarguments, and you have a real mess on your hands.
Social Justice Warriors are just one symptom of a much larger issue: a country that is as divided today as it was just before the U.S. Civil War and all that this implies. Some states, such as California and Texas, are even mulling over the possibilities of seceding from the union—something that is becoming a possibility because of the lack of true leadership in Washington, D.C.
As for the furry community, it is well established that its members tend toward the left, politically speaking, though there are some conservatives within the fandom, which would imply that there may be more SJW people in the fandom than in the general population (I have no statistics on this, however; it’s just a hunch). I believe that the SJW phenomenon is one restricted, for the most part, to the online world. Mostly, this is people raging against the wind to little or no effect. I find it an annoyance that is easily ignored and avoided.
Much more important than the impotent SJW population is the very real fact that the United States is in serious trouble—politically, socially, economically. Indeed, this is coming to a head involving the Constitution and the power of the Executive Branch, which, at this point, could go one of two ways: 1) in the 2018 and 2020 elections Americans start to regain their senses and bring back some sanity to Washington, or 2) we go the way of Nazi Germany and descend into a dictatorship that would mark the end of the United States as we know it.
And how are things in Hungary?
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.