The privilege is ours

Bark M. is awakened (as distinguished from “being woke”):

“I have learned something this morning,” my friend wrote to me via Facebook Messenger early today. “White people love to protest.

You know what? He’s right! I spent the day watching various news reports on CNN, Fox, and NBC, and I couldn’t find any image of a protest that was comprised of less than 95% white people (unless it was a staged photo with POC propped up behind the Democrat of your choice — although even that went waaaaay wrong a couple of times). As my friend said, it’s easy to go hold a sign at an airport. Marching, chanting, holding hands — none of that actually costs you anything.

But what about volunteering with an organization that houses refugees? or putting together meal packages at a food bank? or cooking food for families at the Ronald McDonald house? or building a Habitat for Humanity? (Four things that your author has actually done, by the way.) Nah. That might require effort. And there won’t be any news cameras present, or celebrities, or live streaming.

No, it’s easy to take the Saturday and Sunday afternoon that you have off (because you don’t work a menial/retail job that would require you to be present) and go hold a sign at the airport (making it harder for those of us who travel for a living and make the country actually run) because you’ll have so much to talk about at the water cooler on Monday. In other words, the people who are ensuring that you have a latte to drink before your protest or shuttle you to the protest in your Uber or serve you a delicious cocktail at the new hip bar in town have better things to do.

Except, of course, that you’re supposed to be boycotting Uber because wicked Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is on one of Trump’s advisory boards.

But yeah, for a lot of these folks it’s purely a matter of virtue signaling, nothing more — because they have nothing to lose. You want credit for civil disobedience, you have to risk your neck, or at least more of your time than it takes to get on cable news.

Not that I’m going to tell you to stay home or anything. Wouldn’t be right, wouldn’t be prudent, wouldn’t be consistent with actual free speech, you know? But you’re going to be a lot more persuasive on behalf of the downtrodden if someone treads on you now and then. I hate to invoke the dread spectre of intersectionality, but believe me, there’s always someone who has it worse than you do, and who may not have your gift for finding a camera to dash in front of.



  1. fillyjonk »

    31 January 2017 · 2:03 pm

    THIS, as the cool kids say.

    Virtue-signalling is a lot easier than actually trying to be virtuous is. And it tends to get more approval from the people in one’s own echo chamber.

  2. Holly H »

    31 January 2017 · 4:12 pm

    Perhaps naive of me, but I DO give all those white folks credit for showing up and speaking out. Lots of folks are too lazy (or too busy, sometimes working for low wages), to go out and do it, so at least those who can, should.

  3. Holly H »

    31 January 2017 · 4:15 pm

    Part 2: That is fantastic that you have done all those volunteer activities. Thank you!

  4. ETat »

    31 January 2017 · 10:10 pm

    A refugee is much better off without condescending and self-righteous clerks from “organization that takes care of refugees” (often less educated and less adaptable they they are).
    I am telling you as a former one.

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