What you are about to read is biased. We can agree on this point right away—I don’t hide from making explicit my viewpoint. Read this with the knowledge, the affirmation, and my guaranteed re-confirmation that I am providing a view belonging to me. If one is to disagree with the points of an author, it does no good to say an author is biased and leave it at that. To call a source biased is to admit one’s comfort with redundancy. My reason for this introduction is the following: All too often, a source is instantly dismissed because of its biases, either obvious or implicit, and the ideas that inhabit a work receive no attention or consideration, since the author’s background, or ideology, or—as is increasingly the case—race, gender, and place of publication, prohibit serious discussion on those grounds. Everything has bias. The basic presence of bias does not merit instant dismissal of a work.
The inverse is equally true. Recognizing the inevitability of bias, favoring one bias over another, to the point of exclusively subscribing to one, at all times, and instantly writing off the other, creates the same kind of intellectual blockade I see as increasingly prevalent on the largest public space where discussions continue to exist: The internet. This great mechanism for worldwide connection gave rise to pockets of information, insular interpretations of every event one could think of, and increased the myopia of those who thought their mud was clearest. The Us vs. Them mentality has firmly entrenched itself in the minds of many, far too many, which is why, rather than keep their minds open, ideological zealots attack one another with ready-made slogans and catchphrases, you know, one is “mansplaining” and the other is a “snowflake.” The insult will either precede or proceed what’s bound to be a misunderstood reply, but the insult will always accompany the collection of words that the writer thinks combine to form a “mic drop” reply.
What Is My Problem?
The Left positions itself as the side of inclusivity. Here, and only here, do the words carved below the Statue of Liberty continue to ring true: “‘Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’” The Left positions itself as the only side with compassion, the side where “love is love is love,” and, to its credit, it’s doing a great job solidifying that perception. Now, before you sling your slogans at me of being an apologist or closet whatever, I’m no fan of the right either. But right now I’m focused on the Left, the Far Left, specifically. Before I continue, though, a quick aside.
I like the Left. I thank the Left for marriage equality, for wanting to preserve social safety nets, for at least pretending to prioritize the environment, and for trying to constrain the abuses of capitalism—I don’t mean ridding ourselves of capitalism, but reforming it by constraining those who seek to corrupt it and shape it solely for their benefit. The right could conceivably have achieved these same goals, in theory, but because it mixes Christian fundamentalism with its small government ideology, in practice, no, these goals had to come from the Left.
So, let’s get to my problem with the Far Left: incongruity. I’ve yet to find a unifying voice for the voices of this spectrum. The post-modernist thinking that informs their outrages is a foundation as significant as it is self-defeating. Post-modernism applied to poetry tells us to do away with meter and rhyme and form, which further freed the poet’s expression. Everything could now be poetry. Post-modernism applied to art is what allows you to walk into a gallery and question whether something is art or not, you know, like the seemingly accidental dot on an oversized canvas—this, too, freed the artist, as now everything could be art. But post-modernism applied to society is trickier to define, for the simple fact that it lacks definition. Everything can be anything. I hear the desire to rid ourselves of labels alongside the call to recognize more labels; I hear the desire for equality alongside justifications for segregation and subjugation; I hear the calls for respect alongside the shutting down of dissenting opinions—I hear the value of all voices tempered by the explicit exclusion of some. I hear the need to be free of control accompanied by the perplexing necessity to control.
If I played by the rules of the Far Left, then the labels that should be stitched onto my armband would be the following: Bisexual (maybe even pansexual), cisgender male, latinx, first-generation college student, and of indigenous descent. I don’t know my Myers-Briggs personality type, but I am a Leo in the European, white imperialist conception of time, and a Rooster in the Chinese calendar. Because of my indigenous descent, having come from the lineage that, I’m sure, mixed a Spanish conquistador with a native who may or may not have given consent, I am also supposed to take on the injustices of generations long-gone, and continue to harbor the anger they felt, despite the fact that I, personally, did not experience said injustice. Not only that, but, also being a person of color, I should be sensitive to all the injustices that have involved what are, apparently, my people, be they slaves in North America pre-1865, or Palestinians in the Middle East post the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, or literally everyone who isn’t white, because we all know that whites never also oppressed each other.
Speaking of whites, when addressing me, it is imperative and required that white people go through the entire history of how their people have oppressed mine, and why they are currently on top of the social ladder, while the rest of us languish at their feet; and why it would only be fair if they flung themselves off of buildings, so that me and my people would finally have a chance, since their very existence is oppressive to me, and stifles, I mean absolutely prevents, my and my people’s progress. Every white person who wishes to speak to me must go through this, every time, so that they never forget how god-awful they are, even if, you know, they personally didn’t do anything awful to me.
My refusal to buy into these classifications, members of the Far Left would say, points to my unenlightened, white-apologist, eurocentric subconscious desire to curry the favor of the oppressive rulers. I call it a refusal to buy into bullshit. Here’s where the Far left and Far Right politics converge: they both seek to codify, into law, one classification or another. The Far Right wants to legally abolish the existence of a label, on theocratic grounds, while the Far Left wants to legally recognize and protect the existence of a label, on societal-racial-economic-historical grounds (there’s no shortage of terms on this side). If the Far Right has its way, then some people’s behaviors are prohibited. If the Far Left has its way, then people are little more than their defined identity, and other behaviors are prohibited. A person of color will always be a person of color, and whether they suffered injustices or not, it will be assumed that they did, because victimization is central to the Far Left. Any merit that a person of color receives will always be questioned by that person, since it won’t be clear whether he received it because of achievement, or whether it was because of skin color.
Let me give you an example of my confusion with just what exactly will make the Far Left happy. I am, after all, looking to end these incongruities.
A baby is born. It was not so long ago that giving a baby boy blue-colored clothing and a baby girl pink-colored clothing raised no eyebrows. That is no longer the case today—I’m not criticizing this. Now, we see the attempt to rid the connection between color and gender, and more broadly, of behavior and gender. If a boy likes the color pink and playing with dolls and wearing makeup, then, okay. That boy likes pink and dolls and makeup, and that’s it. If a girl likes blue and action figures and roughhousing, then, okay. That girl likes blue and action figures and roughhousing, and that’s it. And if they like the things that once exclusively belonged to their respective genders, then okay, but we would never tell them that that was the case, once. So they grow up, their respective biology guiding them through hormones, and the DNA inside them also manifesting itself through their interests and strengths and weaknesses. We would say that there’s nothing that belongs specifically to boys or girls, but everyone can be a boy or a girl. A girl isn’t defined by anything, just as a boy isn’t defined by anything, but you can still be a boy or a girl, or neither or both. But remember that neither behavior, nor anatomy or biology, or preferences defines boys or girls.
Sexual attraction kicks in and biology drives the relationship outcomes, all of which are now acceptable. Male-male relationships would no longer be called gay; male-female relationships would no longer be called heterosexual because of its tie to a previously-oppressive system that not only favored heterosexuality, but also considered it correct; female-female relationships would no longer be called lesbian; bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality would disappear under the inclusive term of “fluidly-attracted” or “sans-attraction.” I’m sure there’s other possible combinations that I’m too fucking ignorant to know, but my point will still stand. The use of previously oppressive words would be punished by law because there is no room for intolerance in this society.
Do you see what’s changed? The names of the labels, yes, but the labels remain in this utopia. What has changed is the level of tolerance. It’s diminished. Today, we can write off racist and derogatory remarks under the freedom of speech, and call them loonies. But in this Far Left utopia, choosing the word that one wants is an offence punishable by law, since you would be confined to the word deemed correct. What’s more, is we would be asking everyone to question their every action to confirm whether it falls within the confines of something declared correct. To the boy gravitating toward the blue shirt we would ask, “Do you like this because someone told you to like it?” And to the girl going for the pink we would ask, “Are you sure you don’t like the blue color more?” The boy would pick up jeans and we would hand him a dress, asking him if he were absolutely sure he preferred the jeans more.
Men in male-male relationships, or what we recognize as gay relationships today in our uncivilized time, what is their behavior supposed to be? For the men that we today call masculine, would they need to be re-educated so that they tone down their masculinity, since that concept should no longer exist? How about women? Do men’s and women’s fashion still exist, but are no longer confined to opposite ends of the store? I ask you again, what’s changed here? Not the existence of clothing or behavior of individuals, but the freedom of individuals to choose for themselves without needing to second guess every action they take. It’s the compulsory aspect that bothers me, which is why Far Left rhetoric bothers me. We can choose things for ourselves today, but the Far Left wants to tell us that the things we choose are wrong, or that we could make that choice if, and only if, we only understood why we were choosing it!
They want to force you to use the correct terminology—I’m not Latino; I’m Latinx. They want to force the correct behavior—I understand injustice, but I perpetuate it by not boycotting everything. They want you to buy into things that you’re not even convinced of yourself, but have to because it is they who have decided that you are offending someone who doesn’t even realize it, those poor, uneducated souls. The Far Right, by the way, wants the same thing: control. They just justify that goal differently.
The lack of congruity in the message and goals of the Far Left results in it cannibalizing its members and confusing everyone else. Take, for example, the concept of feminism. Let’s use Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s definition of a feminist: “the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” I imagine a conversation with the Far Left going something like this:
“Are we allowed to like Hillary Clinton, members of the Far Left?”
“No,” they said. “She’s a warmonger neo-con disguised as a liberal. And she likes Israel which instantly disqualifies any woman.”
“Oh, well, I didn’t see that included in the definition, but okay,” I replied, hesitantly. “Is there anything else I should know so I know that I’m liking the correct people?”
“Yes, you cannot like any white woman leader because they belong to the ruling white race,” the Far Left responded. “If they had been allies to people of color, then it would be a woman of color in her place, and not the white woman.”
“I see,” I remarked, quite confused. “So how will I know when an acceptable woman will be in power? I know she can’t be white.”
“We never said she couldn’t be white,” the Far Left responded, unfazed. “We just said she has to be a proven ally of people of color.”
“So, she can help a person of color to have power, but she can’t have power herself?” I responded, trying to make sense of things.
“People of color don’t need the help of a faux-sympathizing white woman,” the Far Left responded, with an air of finality.
Are we to question the intelligence of every woman who wants to be a stay-at-home mom? If we are, are we then to ask them if they understand that they are staying home out of their own choice, and not to satisfy an outdated social construct that enforced gender roles? If they say that they are staying home out of their own choice, are we to ask them to recite the entire history of why their decision is significant, to make sure they understand the significance of their decision? Are we to also ask the fathers why they don’t desire to stay home? Are we to pry, and pry, and ascertain the proper motivations of every individual, to see if their motivations are, indeed, proper? It seems like it. Go ahead, respond to anything on Far Leftist propaganda and see how butchered, and skewered, and insulted you are—from the people who command such tolerance! It’s not like they’ll teach you anything new, since you’ll be considered unable to learn due to your privilege, or your middle-class upbringing, or your penis, or your estrogen. You’ll be considered blind to your victimization, and your refusal to accept your victimization prevents your education.
Do you know how this behavior is enforced? Through anonymous informants, the kind you see plenty of already today. These are people who whip out their smartphones and hit the record button in every instance considered plausibly offensive. They don’t know why they’re recording, but they know they should because as soon as they put it online, someone will come along who will try to make sense of their mess, which may not even be offensive at all, but thanks to clever editing and an inflammatory headline, the person watching the video isn’t listening at all, because they’re constantly bombarded by the all-capped, size-92, yellow font on the top and bottom of the video that reads: “WATCH THIS RACIST DEFEND RACISM.” Look at Twitter and how quickly apologies have to made by those who said the wrong thing, wrong in the eyes of the Far Left, even when there are plenty of people who have come to the defense of the tweet. Such is the oppressive correction of the Far Leftists, that self-censorship is already occurring in our free society.
Is That All?
My problem with the Far Left isn’t only its incongruity, but its overt, laughable contradictions. Take this one, for example: It is impossible to be racist against white people because white people are the ruling class. Let me repeat that. It is impossible to be racist towards white people—unthinkable, no matter what you did, there is nothing that you could do that could be considered racist, so long as a white person, a person belonging to a specific race, is concerned. Really? You mean to tell me that I could apply to them the same behavior you call racist, and it would no longer be called racist? I could instantly dismiss their opinion, or job application, or intelligence because they’re white, and it wouldn’t be racist? Maybe we need a refresher on the definition of racism.
Racism (n.): 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race
Hm, the dictionary must be wrong. Ah, yes! Let’s dismiss the definition as yet another example that centers the experience of whites, despite the omission of their race in the definition. Of course, we musn’t forget the post-modern foundations of the Far Left, where everything can be anything, including basic definitions, especially when it doesn’t suit their purposes. This idea that racism is impossible against whites begs the question: What will happen when they’re no longer the majority in the United States, in about 30 years? Will our actions towards them be considered racist, then? Or are they to be the ruling class until none can be found in a position of power, and have been completely subjugated? What does George Orwell show us in Animal Farm? You can replace one ruler with another, but the system of oppression will reassert itself. At least Napoleon had the decency of implementing his oppression slowly, but in the case of the Far Left, they’re not even shy about revealing which system of oppression will supersede the current one.
Here’s another example: Women and minorities used to be united against the oppression of the white, male patriarchy. Now, white women are being excluded from the liberation of women of color and minorities. It is supposed that white women have succeeded in their liberation, and because of that, they are to be reviled. White women, now, must be allies to people of color. Here is the social justice definition of an ally, from Suffolk University Boston:
Ally: a person who is a member of an advantaged social group who takes a stand against oppression, works to eliminate oppressive attitudes and beliefs in themselves and their communities, and works to interrogate and understand their privilege.
But, the Far Left being what it is, even this definition doesn’t go far enough, as it should be amended to say the following:
Ally: a person who is a member of an advantaged social group who always and without question takes a stand against oppression, at all times, works to eliminate oppressive attitudes and beliefs in themselves and their communities, in absolutely all instances, and works to interrogate and understand their privilege, as part of a constant process, lest they want to be considered allies for fashion’s sake.
Again, I would ask if I can like Hillary Clinton, based solely on the merits of her achievements, not her gender or race, and I would be slapped for thinking that people of color also have the privilege of ignoring their gender or race. As we know, people of color are oppressed from sun up to sundown. Their everyday experience is a grueling one, with white people constantly charging them more for their coffee, or the white metro system not stopping with its door directly in front of them, or the stoplights staying red longer when a person of color is in front. And try, just try to say that you never experienced such crippling oppression, like Don Lemon, like Lil Wayne, or like Morgan Freeman, and see the Far Left become incensed with rage—how dare you! You’re too blind to the microagressions before you, too deaf to the snide remarks when you leave a room, too mute against condescending remarks, and too dumb to realize any of it. The Far Left wants to take away the success of people of color who didn’t feel victimized, and glorify the ones that did. Imagine how destructive it must be for someone who has yet to subscribe to the Far Left, and to see Morgan Freeman say, “I don’t want a Black History Month. Black History’s American history.” When asked how are we going to get rid of racism, he responds, “Stop talking about it.” Think about the diametrically opposite direction Freeman stands in from those on the Far Left—and how significant that is.
Are You Quite Done?
We have work to do. There are real problems of equity in this country. Gerrymandering, the private prison system, the wealth gap, these are the real problems stifling progress. That there are racial components involved in these problems is evident. So what is my problem? This: The Far Left wants me to be a victim. They want my every step to be triumph, and thus use infantilizing language disguised as empowering slogans. Black girls are magic? I am powerful? These are things you say to kids. I don’t need the condescension and I certainly didn’t ask for pity. Reject these and the Far Left slings vitriol, since they can no longer use you as their poster child for victimization. Latinos will always point to their parents as examples of people who accomplished everything without handouts, without favoritism, and without privilege. I suspect most immigrant sons and daughters would, even while they try to reform their parents’ other prejudices.
As it turns out, those white people perks aren’t necessary. That they would help, I have no doubt. But how inconvenient it must be that we’re not all crippled by such overbearing oppression, and that we don’t all subscribe to the victimizing narrative we apparently should. How inconvenient that not all of us haven’t lost our sense of humor and have the mental capacity, to say nothing of common sense, to differentiate between a joke and actual racism. How inconvenient that not all of us want to go to our local HR office to make sure that every sentence we utter, and every word in that sentence, doesn’t discomfort someone, because God forbid we stop scaring people with words. I study history, and I don’t need to pretend to be a genocide survivor in order to understand the horrors and mistakes of the past. I don’t need to carry with me the injustices of a long-ago era and re-enact them on another race. And what I really don’t need is an ideology constantly at battle with itself because its members didn’t take the time to form a cohesive belief structure from the beginning, but have decided, instead, to patch things up as they go along, and sometimes to undo a repair, and other times to change the color of a stitching. I can recognize discrimination without being stopped by it. I can face racism without cowering to it.
Lastly, I will stand my ground without being bullied into submission.