Strange low-hanging fruit

President* Trump,

You know I’m capable of writing letters to people in power who I think have gotten things wrong (or, like you, who are perpetually wrong and downright evil), but I’ve never been one to speak up in comment sections about an article or editorial – until yesterday. In response to the opening paragraph of the WP Editorial Board’s editorial yesterday (which is still among the “most read” opinion pieces this morning), I called them out and told them they need to do better, much better. Someone who saw the comment noted that racism is so baked into our system that even the anti-racists can’t get it right. Exactly.

And the damn piece is still running and they’ve done nothing to fix it. I hesitate to give you the link to it since you’d probably try and give it a boost, but in case other readers want to tell the WP what they think, here’s the link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-black-pastor-was-arrested-simply-for-defending-himself-on-his-own-property/2020/06/15/2600f28c-af3c-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html.

Because it’s apparently so very hard to grasp how wrong and prejudicial their framing is, I’m going to engage in what may seem like a lazy way out of writing an original full letter. I’m going to take the strange, low hanging fruit embodied by that paragraph and do some selective editing, some strategic swaps so that maybe even you can see how horrid what they put out is.

Here is the original paragraph:

“THE VENOM of American racism is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. African Americans are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

Here are some variations:

“THE VENOM of American sexism is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. Women are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

“THE VENOM of American homophobia is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. LGBTQ people are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

“THE VENOM of American Islamophobia is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. Muslim Americans are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

“THE VENOM of American anti-Semitism is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. Jewish Americans are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

“THE VENOM of American xenophobia is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. Immigrants are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

“THE VENOM of American ageism is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. Children are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

I know you would look at some of these edited sentences and happily tick off all sorts of “good reasons” to murder and brutalize the members of some of those groups and to subject them to “uncountable quotidian humiliations,” but you are a lost cause. I want the rest of us to wake up to our implicit biases so that we can see that if we are willing to cast any group out, any individual person out, and say there are good reasons to murder and brutalize them, that the humiliations they endure are merely quotidian, then there is something deeply wrong with us, something that desperately needs interrogation and healing.

May we all be safe from virulent implicit bias.
May we be willing to root it out.
May we be healthy enough to see that every single one of us not only matters, but is precious.
May we accept that we need to question everything.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s