Whitewashing: A Distortion (An Introduction)

Whitewash:

a: to gloss over or cover up (such as vices or crimes)

bto exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data

This is the definition provided by Merriam-Webster and is the most suitable definition for this article.

       White-washing is not a racially charged term despite its recent re-introduction with respect to African-American history. The Black Panthers were considered a radical group that was characterized by its militant structure. They were accused of anti-black racism and yes, there were undoubtedly many members who believed in racial segregation for the purpose of a Black state. There were several groups and factions that had much larger roles in the Civil Rights Movement than classical historians afford them in history, and this can lead to a loss of context when addressing precedents for future decisions. To be fair, one cannot be certain of the exact range of a variable especially in history, but to disregard a variable by deeming it negligible can be a grave misgiving when considering the big picture.

        As a student raised in the American educational system, I understand that an introduction is more likely to be superficial as it is to being broad. As we advance our state education, we receive more in-depth teachings on particular subjects. I cannot say the same for history. In elementary, we learned very briefly about the Age of Exploration and The American Revolution. Junior high/ middle school saw vapid discussions on the American Civil War and lesser engagement on the Civil Rights Movement, depending on the demographics of one’s state. High school, the age at which we are to be developing our critical thinking, we spoke only of America’s interaction with the rest of the world. I did the advanced route for the latter half of middle school and for all of high school so my own education in history is steeped in reading the actual documents (agreements, declarations of war, propaganda, etc.) and of course understanding the context in which the documents were written as opposed to receiving only a blurb that I’m expected to memorize. This method of investigative learning is something that the College Board (the national authority on US college entrance exams) wanted to further while I was still in high school. There, of course, was a push-back because the short-list of the Advanced Placement United States History course treated Presidents Lyndon Baines Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt more favorably than Ronald Reagan. For Ronald Reagan to receive less than honorable mentions without any respect to his being a Republican icon, seems suspiciously like an attack against conservatism. So the ensuing arguments against the short-list was that not only was there political bias but conservatives feared that American children would be less patriotic as a result. 

++++++Such an assertion makes the debate politically charged when it really is not a political debate. The reason why previous classes were taught the US could not err and to have an unflagging sense of patriotism was because the sense of nationalism was very fragile. There was context to why older generations had to believe that America was the greatest. That is to say: I give my kin the benefit of the doubt and “discovering” that a leader used to be much more radical justifies the behavior of my kin and therefore invalidates this person as part of a movement (and that movement itself for carrying them as a symbol). Why whitewash ethnic leaders? Yes, the same is done to white leaders but their crimes or misgivings are simply seen as a byproduct of circumstances whereas their general message is romanticized as being ahead of its times or as brilliantly infallible as the ultimate truth.

++++++There was the demonization of freethinkers, McCarthyism, and public dissension about the wars. It’s not to say that I myself am a proud Reagan-ite, but more that history always has undertones: classical, revisionist, and neo-revisionist. Recent history is not impervious to scrutiny. We must learn from history. The tail-end of the Cold War figures must admit the actual efficiency of their policies, the achievements and the casualties. That is what the College Board is proposing. This I can appreciate but social movements, thorough research into regional histories, and foreign policy classes should not only be allowed to college students. How many meaningless arguments are had when things are plainly etched in ink by the same deceased people for whom we argue? College Board is not perfect but it’s a step towards acknowledging that the United States is not flawless but that we are trying and that we can all work towards bettering the nation. If being honest about history means that a child would become unpatriotic, it obviously means that things have to change. To do the same thing and expect different results is insanity.

++++++Diluting what happened and why it happened makes it encourages dissent from those who don’t truly understand but are not comfortable with acknowledging that people that they knew and loved actively participated in such hatred. If people are constantly absorbed in their own daily lives, they tend to pay little attention to things that do not overtly and directly concern them. It also means that we often look for generalizations and take many things out of context in order to appear wiser than we are, which makes all conclusions convoluted. The 2016 election re-introduced George Orwell’s “1984” to the mainstream public as a best-seller. The book was formerly one of those books that all the Advanced Placement students tried to forget because of how unpleasant the ending was. The protagonist is basically brainwashed brutally though torture and re-integrates into society. It’s bleak. It was crucial that readers were aware of what led to the establishment the institutions that would forcefully re-mold him into a contributing member of Airstrip One. People then began Googling phrases like newspeak, doublespeak, class warfare, and police state.

++++++Why then, do we gloss over the anger and frustration felt by Civil Rights leaders in their early days and only focus on their peaceful years? We need to know why people are mad. We need to know both sides and address the bias. We can cry over bias in the media or we can actually take our time to hear it out. We don’t have to agree but when we completely ignore what is there, people begin to think that the other side can’t be reasoned with. “You have to have been there (the state of mind or the actual location) to get the joke.” We need to get everything straight and appropriately tackle gerrymandering and red-lining districts beyond their being vocabulary terms. We need to look at gun control and emphasizing that the Constitution is considered one of the greatest documents because it allows for change because there was the expectation that we would need to add onto it over time and that it wasn’t perfect but it was the beginning of something. We need to re-capture this enthusiasm to actually expand the possibilities of what the US can do.   

This is a new year. Hopefully, we’ll try something new. 

Comments are welcome.

December 2018 Quote of the Month

Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.

To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.

To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.

To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.

To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.

To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.

Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2)

[Repost] Don’t Feed the Trolls, and Other Hideous Lies

As the internet population grows and the influence of the internet over people grows as a result, the internet becomes an increasingly accessible tool to spread one’s views and attitudes. Trolls in recent years have received increasing coverage as their numbers grew and their tactics more malicious. Discussions on how to combat them have popped up, out of which, the phrase “Don’t feed the trolls” came from.  But, how does this strategy actually work out and how can these social parasites be cut from their host?

A Twitter follower reminded me of a line in the famous parable from Bion of Borysthenes: “Boys throw stones at frogs in fun, but the frogs do not die in fun, but in earnest.” Defenders of trolling insist it’s all just a joke, but if trolling is inherently designed to get a rise out of someone, then that’s what it really is. In many cases, it is designed to look and feel indistinguishable from a genuine attack. Whether you believe what you are saying or not is often immaterial because the impact is the same — and you are responsible for it, regardless of how funny you think it is. It is a lesson kids learn time and time again on the playground, and yet, it is ridiculously difficult for people to accept the same basic notion in online culture, no matter their age. Why is that so? Because those are the social norms that develop when you create a culture where everything is supposed to be a joke.

For the whole article, click here.

November 2018 Quote of the Month

“The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others”
― Iain M. Banks, Complicity

[Repost] What is a Woman Worth?

No matter how many times one hears about these statistics and these anecdotes about what it’s like to be a woman, the issue doesn’t become less real. These issues didn’t become a thing all of a sudden. It only seems so overstated because it wasn’t even deemed a real problem and ignored. When you hear so many of the same things from over half of our population, you’d think people would pay attention and see things for what it is but the same machinations that prevented 1992’s Year of Woman from coming to fruition is also at work now, once again, pushing back against a wave of voices that demand change. Our generation isn’t as idealistic or as naive as those before us. We know what’s up. This upcoming election is critical. Either way, we will break ground or live to see the old ways buried.

Excerpt:

In that same Atlantic Article, Fear of a Female President, I’d sent my father, author Peter Beinart makes the case that there is a clear link between how women are viewed and how they are treated. Hillary was hatedin large part because women are hated.

In 2010, researchers Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto conducted a study in which they asked respondents about a fictional male state senator and a fictional female state senator. They described both as “ambitious” and found  that the respondents’ views of the male senator did not change when they described him as such, but, when thinking about the female state senator, both men and women “experienced feelings of moral outrage.”

In 2008 Psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph Vandello coined the term “precarious manhood.” Their body of research posits that manhood is something to be earned—a status that must continuously be asserted for fear of losing it. While womanhood is perceived as biological, manhood is determined by social achievements, power, status, and aggression. And men are keenly aware of this.

While womanhood is perceived as biological, manhood is determined by social achievements, power, status, and aggression. And men are keenly aware of this.

Merchandise sold in and around the arenas where Trump hosted his rallies read: Don’t be a pussy. Vote for TrumpFinally, someone with balls; and Life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one. And of course, the rallying cry of the right: Lock her up.

We assumed the “her” meant Hillary. But now the chants continue, some two years later. Over the summer, a group of high school students began chanting “Lock her up” at a leadership conference for young conservatives while Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the crowd. He laughed and repeated the words back. Call me crazy (and some will), but the “her” feels bigger than one woman. The “her” seems to refer to female ambition, female autonomy, female power.

If manhood is something men must constantly prove, the policies men shape cannot possibly be immune to their need to exert dominance and power. To codify that dominance into law.

Link to full article here.

[Repost] Dear Young People, “Don’t Vote”

 

https://knockthe.vote/ 

[Repost] More on “Redefining Incivility”

Some time ago, we documented how reactionaries have a habit of redefining incivility (and civility) to suit their purposes, making huge shifts of the goalposts as it suits their needs. In recent days, there have been two well-publicized incidents that have made this tendency painfully apparent: the Red Hen affair, and the Maryland newsroom shooting. […]

via More on “Redefining Incivility” — The Propaganda Professor

June 2018 Quote of the Month

“We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.”

                                                                                                           – Mitt Romney 

Mitt Romney — a troubling character and someone that we at Outlet are wary of saying anything definite about because he, for the lack of a better word, is wishy-washy. But the sentiment of this quote still stands.

September 2017 Quote of the Month

“In the old days, protesters would be carried out on stretchers.” –Donald Trump

[A Reblog] Repealing Dodd-Frank

During the 2007-8 Financial Crisis, I knew that people were getting royally screwed over but being a fourth grader at the time, I didn’t know why or how. However, this past year, my APUSH teacher, in the process of explaining the collapse of the stock market that caused the Great Depression, likened what happened in the late 1920s to what happened in 2007 and he also explained what Roosevelt did to add oversight to the operations of banks and other financial institutions and linked that back to what Obama signed in the form of Dodd-Frank in 2010. And yet, despite having gone through at least two major depressions for about the same reasons, Congress is now getting ready to get rid of the controls that would prevent another one from happening.

Since I’m not very well-versed in the intricacies of economic ongoings nor am I familiar with how it affects individuals because I have yet to leave the nest, I’ve found someone who can speak about it. Check it out!

This is Lieutenant and I’ll talk to you later.

 

Donald Trump wants the big banks to take the kind of risk that caused the housing crisis. I started working in the hedge fund industry as an accountant in 2008. I saw their books, including some held at Lehman Brothers. It was mostly a bunch of write-offs and unwinds and legal payments.

via Repealing Dodd-Frank — Trump Diaries