Yes Johnathan. I 100% agree. And with with 3.3 million views, apparently I’m not alone. But I want to pick this apart. I don’t think this isn’t as simple as you’re is making it out to be. The heart of his argument is at 3:50 when you say: “The left is responsible for this result because the left have now decided that any other opinion, any other way of looking at the world is unacceptable. We don’t debate anymore because the left won the cultural wars. So if you’re on the right, you’re a freak. You’re evil. You’re racist. You’re stupid. You are a basket of deplorables! How do you think people are going to vote if you talk to them like that? When has anyone ever been persuaded by being insulted or labeled?”
Someone watching this may interpret what he’s saying as people on the left need to “calm down” or “they’re not helping the cause.”
Host (Hari Kondabolu): I keep hearing that you can’t be angry when you talk about race in this country, you can’t antagonize white people. You have to tiptoe around because if you antagonize white people this [a Trump presidency] will happen. And I’ve heard people say that before and after this election. The idea you have to tiptoe around people’s feelings. I am so furious that it is a problem to say what the problem is, to show emotion and to expect human decency if making those claims with any passion is a problem then what are we doing?!
Have you had to deal with it have been told: “tone it down, it’s not helping the cause?” Have you dealt with that? How do you deal with that?
Roxane Gay Oh yeah I deal with that all the time. Not only about dealing with race but about dealing with gender, dealing with feminism dealing with LGBT issues. People always say, that we need to work together. Even last night and today I’ve had well meaning people but well meaning white people send me messages that say, “love trumps hate” which I think is one of the stupidest catch phrases to rise out of this entire thing.
And I’m actually writing about this right now, all these ridiculous catchphrases that rose out of the campaign. Love doesn’t trump hate. It really doesn’t. We have so much evidence including last night. So stop saying “love trumps hate” or “they go low we go high”: nonsense. I hate being told not to be angry because anger is an appropriate response to so much of the injustice that marginalized people face. If you’re not angry then you’re not paying attention. Something is really missing if you’re not angry. And when people are saying don’t get angry, what they’re really saying is don’t make me uncomfortable. Don’t make me have to confront my privilege. Don’t make me have to change the comfortable circumstances in my life in order to really create change. Actually, the thing that will make me the angry the fastest is to tell me not to get angry. Or stay calm. Fuck you. You stay calm.
There’s truth in both arguments here. The left has alienated people by labeling and insulting them but these insults were in many if not all cases very warranted.
So what do in situations like these? What’s the solution?
I don’t think that there’s a clear answer. Those who are oppressed deserve to feel hate which may result in insults and making people uncomfortable. We can concede that “work together” is not always the best solution but at the same time still have to try to make progress together.
It’s common these days to find your group, define your beliefs and indulge yourself in human emotion. Every group has a group to hate and group to worship. On the left you can indulge in hating ignorant racist bigots. On the right you can hate the elitist left who’ve become such an echo chamber of political correctness that has lead to it’s own demise. But this isn’t an accurate description of either of these groups. In reality the world is more complicated than that. It’s possible that 2 groups both have valid points and we have to figure out how best to proceed.
One pattern in unhealthy systems I’ve noticed is they will show symptoms of being unhealthy. You can’t make something healthy again by trying to suppress the symptoms. In PSS 145 - “Turfgrass Management” Sid Bosworth taught us if your lawn has dandelions and dead spots you don’t need to spray weed killer and plant more grass. You need to make sure you’re watering and giving the grass enough nitrogen fertilizer to flourish. When the grass is healthy again the dandelions will die off and the deadspots will fill on on their own.
An increase in racism, sexism and xenophobia are problems that need to be addressed directly but they are also inflamed as symptoms of a greater problem. When resources are limited people turn against each other. Our country is sick and racism, sexism and xenophobia are weeds in our lawn. Our country is losing it’s place as a world superpower that prides itself on justice and equality. You can listen to Noam Chomski blabber on about neoliberalism here (It’s actually pretty entertaining) but it basically comes down to the fact that big money has too much influence in our political system. Both the left and the right agree on this. We also have many fewer jobs due to globalization and automation. Both the right and the left agree on this too.
Another system which shows symptoms of weakness is an unhealthy relationship. If there’s something deeply troubling going on all of the subtler problems will amplify. You’ll argue about whether to rinse the plates before putting them in the dishwasher or about who’s hair is where in the bathroom. When this happens you either need to solve the underlying problems by communicating and finding common ground or you need to breakup. And while things are scary right now, I’m not ready for this 240 year relationship to be over. Not yet.