What’s the statute of limitations of racism?

The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were announced last Tuesday, with La La Land pulling an astounding 14 nominations, 6 for black actors (#OscarsNotSoWhite anymore?), and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge getting another 6 noms. Cue: outrage.

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Back in July 2006, Mad Mel was arrested for DUI (whether that stands for the influence of racism, or alcohol, is unknown), and told the arresting officer the now famous lines ‘Fucking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?’. Then in July 2010 (it seems like July is a really bad month for him), in a telephone call with Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his daughter Lucia, he said ‘you look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of niggers, it will be your fault.’ Those are some pretty clear-cut cases of racism, no doubt about it, the more interesting quandary is how to pinpoint the exact moment the public mind forgets someone for his past racist transgressions (or if such forgiveness is even possible)?

Another recent, somewhat related incident genuinely shocked me. Noted republican strategist Ana Navarro stated with a confident smile on CNN that she is ‘not sure there’s a statute of limitations of racism’ while speaking about Jeff Sessions. What she essentially said is that if you ever made the mistake of cracking an offensive joke, saying such things while drunk (that you would regret in the morning), or making a genuinely racist gesture (or getting thrust into an act of accidental racism), you are condemned for life, with zero chance of washing away that particular scarlet letter. You have to wear the mark of Cain wherever you go. One bad moment, and suddenly you are on the level of Jared Fogle, Charles Manson or Dylann Roof, and the jeering internet hate crowd will always find a reason to publicly denounce you, even if you are breastfeeding starving Ethiopian orphans 24/7.

Mel Gibson wearing the mark of Cain

So, what method should we use to find that magical moment of forgiveness? How about the ship of Theseus thought experiment, which asks if a ship that has had all of its parts replaced stayed the same ship, or did it become a new one? There is a similar, very popular theory floating around the internet about the human body, stating that every cell in your body regenerates in seven years, so you become a new person every seven years. Of course, this has been widely questioned, and more importantly, seven years hasn’t passed since Mel’s last incident, so it’s very likely he still has about 10-20% of his racist cells left. Maybe he should have tried the ‘I’m a comedian’ defense, like Trevor Noah did for his anti-semitic tweets? It would be like a hunter saying ‘Hey, I’m a hunter, that means I can shoot whatever I want!’.

Picture of a famous hunter

Americans love a good comeback story. Seabiscuit. The Mighty Ducks. Kim Kardashian. Winona Ryder came back from the shoplifting incident and charmed all of us at the SAG awards. Everyone knows what Robert Downey Jr. went through. What is it about Mel Gibson that makes it impossible to forgive him? His unwillingness to apologise? Winona had to go through a personal hell for her crime, too, but no one checks her every action to make sure she hasn’t stolen yet another purse. Crime is crime, and racism is racism, but maybe we should give Mel the same benefit of doubt until he commits yet another mistake?

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Should we start eradicating problematic words from the english language to prevent accidental racism?

Let’s start in medias res and address the elephant in the room: despite all of our progress, racism is still prevalent in our society. PoC face environmental, institutional, covert, and many other types of racism each single day. It’s vitally important to address every type, no matter what form they may take, and maybe that’s why accidental racism doesn’t get enough recognition: at first glance, it may seem innocuous, but actually, it’s a snake in disguise.

Ruth Negga: a probable case of accidental racism

There are many causes of accidental racism: it can happen because of a misheard or mispronounced word, a stupid typo, Siri fucking up a word, an engineering mistake, and the list goes on and on. You may laugh about it, or not take it seriously because of it’s nature, but just imagine being a single black mother with two kids: you worry every day that your kids won’t get accepted into better schools on account of their skin color, or how law enforcement may discriminate them, how the president may deport them… etc. Then, after a long and stressful day, you see someone sharing a ‘LOL!!! THIS IS SO FUNNY!!! XDDD’ picture of unintentional racism, and you reach your breaking point. You cry and curse, feeling helpless, feeling vulnerable against the tide of hate. Different people have different breaking points, and we should never shrug off an instant of accidental racism with a condescending ‘Get over it’.

That’s exactly why we should eradicate certain words from our vocabularies and minds, so no one has to feel this injustice. Let’s also take into consideration the other side of accidental racism. A single, racist tweet can destroy your life, but if you aren’t fast enough with an explanation, or you have really bad people skills, an act of accidental racism can do the same. Since accidental racism usually isn’t enough to really hurt a PoC, but it may have dire consequences to every white person, accepting my proposals is especially in the interests of white people.

Here is a small selection of my list of problematic words:

  • Chin:
  • Example: ‘Keep your chins up!’
  • Problematic context: A white baseball coach saying it to a team with Chinese Americans.
  • Coo
  • Example: ‘[Looking at pigeons] I hate when they coo near me!’
  • Problematic context: Being in the company of African Americans.
  • Wet, back, or both:
  • Example: ‘The rain caught me from behind, I can’t sit down with this fucking wet back!’
  • Problematic context: Being in the company of Mexican Americans.
  • Whopping
  • Example: ‘The home team had a whopping victory last night!’
  • Problematic context: When one of the teams is italian.

I hope society assesses my suggestions, and chooses the appropriate course of action. In the end we shall make accidental racism literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. And you know, we can always just come up with new words.

One other thing: what should we do about Carrie Coon?

Carrie Coon: the leading source of accidental racism in the United States

Like always, if you enjoyed my article, please retweet/reblog/share it. Or else.

The left’s unhealthy obsession with Richard Spencer will make a martyr out of him

Paul the Apostle. Joan of Arc. Thomas More. Socrates. And… this guy?

Bruce Willis from Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

Whoops, sorry, wrong picture. That isn’t actually Richard Bertrand Spencer, it just might be, but there is a yuuuge difference: he can rest assured there won’t be a Sam Jackson to protect him in real life, because according to most people on Twitter, and a (deleted, but archived) Independent article, it’s absolutely all right to punch a nazi.

Let’s not argue whether or not it’s okay to punch a nazi (there may be an article about that later), but rather about how to solve a ‘problem’ like this one without violence. Mahatma Gandhi wrote: ‘Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.’ (of course, he also wrote that ‘[germans of future generations] …will honour Herr Hitler as genius, as a brave man, a matchless organizer and much more.’, so his track record isn’t 100%).

‘Problem’, because before the election Spencer was a non-entity, absolutely unknown to the larger public, and he only gained notoriety after the 2016 National Policy Institute Conference, when about 200 measly members of the group gathered in The Ronald Reagan Building, and threw nazi salutes to honor President-elect Trump. One of those attendees was apparently jewish, who saluted for shits and giggles, and another was ‘honorary aryan’ Tila Tequila; certainly not the kind of nazis Himmler would have accepted into the SS, more like deranged individuals addicted to momentary fame.

Trying to undermine Trump’s presidency by putting  a pip-squeak  like Spencer in the spotlight , and thereby associating Trump’s every move with white supremacy, thus further eroding his support with every article, is a good move; at least, if you aren’t concerned about the possible consequences of your actions. The old line ‘All publicity is good publicity’ may not be true if you are making a movie about dogs, and you abuse said dogs during the making of said movie, but it’s certainly true if you want nothing more than to spread an ideology. Every time you retweet a ‘hilarious’ edit of Richard Spencer getting punched remixed with a chic song, you give him more free publicity. Maybe it would be more productive for our society, if you left Spencer in the corner, like that guy with the bad breath at a party, let him fade into obscurity, and occasionally remind people of his existence, sort of like a ghost of Kristallnacht past.

If you aren’t willing to overlook his festering presence, then here’s another way how to deal with him without violence. This one is straight out of the Trump School of Defeating Ideas with Ridicule Playbook. Remember Little Marco Rubio? Lyin’ Ted Cruz? Crooked Hillary Clinton? Of course you do. Everyone does. (I still occasionally get a chuckle out of ‘Look at that face… would anyone vote for that?’ Fiorina.) So, what about Tricky Dick Spencer? Okay, that’s taken. Let’s see… Little Dick Spencer? Now that one could actually work, given how many people in the alt-right are insecure about their gun caliber, and particularly… err… about racial stereotypes of size. You get the idea.

What about defeating racism with love, like this guy did? The absolute worst thing that could happen to Richard Spencer would be if some jewish folk invited him to a Bar Mitzvah, or a black church asked him to attend sermon, or a Korean American family to a nice, comfy BBQ. Of course, I don’t think there are many people in the US currently, who would have the patience to ‘love thy enemies’.

Just remember: every punch landed on Richard Spencer sends another dozen disenfranchised white teenagers bullied by black classmates into the welcoming arms of the alt-right. Every attack on him is another Dylann Roof in the making. Every time a celebrity mocks his beating with a tweet may be the final proof for someone contemplating the existence of white genocide.

Another attack on him is only the matter of time. If you have strong antipathy towards Spencer, and you are sure your peers would celebrate your deed, instead of scolding you, than why the hell wouldn’t you pull up your black hoodie and sucker punch him? Just remember: a suckerpunch is only a hair’s breadth away from an accidental death. It happens more often than you would think. Life isn’t like your Hollywood movies where the antagonist just stoically shrugs off the hero’s punches and then lands in jail.

Bruce Willis from The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Okay, sometimes it happens in the movies, too. And who knows what’s on Richard Spencer’s mind? Maybe that’s exactly what he wants; to be a figurehead, a martyr, around which a new white supremacist movement, with a strengthened purpose can gather. Sorta like with Black Lives Matter and Trayvon Martin. A martyr to his cause, and a spark that ignites the flames of racial violence higher than ever.

And I’m pretty sure more violence and hate isn’t what the country needs right now.

Heartfelt thanks to Scott Adams for the inspiration.

Since I’m new to the blogging game, any and all feedback would be much appreciated. Don’t be gentle!