Having been off for a week, listening to crashing Pacific waves, breathing salt air, reading, reading, more reading, and getting my head straight (kinda, sorta, pretty much), Mr Blow asked me, via facebook, to read his column for tomorrow. I agreed to do so, and, for me, this column is very powerful. What do you think?
I strongly reject the concept of respectability politics, which postulates that a style of dress or speech justifies injustice, and often violence, against particular groups of people or explains away the ravages of their inequality.
I take enormous exception to arguments about the “breakdown of the family,” particularly the black family, that don’t acknowledge that this country for centuries has endeavored, consciously and not, to break it down. Or that family can be defined only one way.
I don’t buy into the mythology that most poor people are willfully and contentedly poor, happy to live with the help of handouts from a benevolent big government that is equally happy to keep them dependent.
These are all arguments based on shame, meant to distance traditional power structures from emerging ones, to allow for draconian policy arguments from supposedly caring people. These arguments require faith in personal failure as justification for calling our fellow citizens feckless or doctrinally disfavored.
Those who espouse such arguments must root for failures so that they’re proved right. They need their worst convictions to be affirmed: that other people’s woes are due solely to their bad choices and bad behaviors; that there are no systematic suppressors at play; that the way to success is wide open to all those who would only choose it.
Any of us in the country who were born poor, or minority, or female, or otherwise different — particularly in terms of gender or sexual identity — know better.
Please read the rest of the article here.
This is our daily open thread — How is everyone?