Monday, February 1, 2021

Afflicting the Comfortable

In yesterday's full Twitter round-up for January 2021, I had to omit this thread from Dave Roberts because it was too long for that format. For once, it's not a bunch of Dave's thoughts but instead a question he raised, followed by some of the replies. He asked,

How do you get from a society where white supremacy is threaded throughout policy, law, social and economic practice, even geography ... to an equitable multiethnic, multiracial democracy ... without bothering the kind of people who are offended by wokeness? Real question.

That's one of the big questions we face, though the term "wokeness" is only the most recent version of "political correctness," or if you extend it further, it becomes "without bothering the kind of people who enjoy the benefits and comforts of the existing system." Or who think they do. (Maybe that's not what Dave meant exactly, but it's a necessary part of the solution.)

Many people gave some version of "you can't get there without offending them":

We don’t. Make sure they receive the protections of the law, make sure they honor the sanctions of the law, and remind them of every government benefit that comes their way. If they’re rude, shun them. Oh, and d’oh, outvote them. That’s what really matters. It’s all that matters, really.
Patrick John Gillam

You can't get there without bothering the people who are offended by wokeness. I don't know how those people will change into being people who can think critically, question assertions, assess data and focus on reality.

Concerns about bothering people pale in comparison to the concerns of making the world safer and more just. Ultimately at least some will do some painful learning that puts them in a better place. Others will just have the pain without learning worthwhile lessons.
Don A. Haas

I cannot express how much this is not possible. You just have to motivate the people who agree with you to rise up and defeat them. There are more of us than there are of them.
Rick Gigger

Are you kidding me? People get bothered when you move a button on a web form! There is ingrained resistance to change, even if it is an obvious improvement. You have to be able to explain why any change is worth a lot more than the effort to make it. Even then, some will resist.
Alan Langford

You don't do it without bothering them. You do it by paying no mind to their being bothered (so long as they don't resort to violence; if they do, lock 'em up). Focus on enhancing democracy, and pull out the threads of white supremacy, one at a time.
Joe Magid @joeinwynnewood

You can’t. If they think they’re bothered by wokeness, just wait until they start losing power.
Vanessa Wyeth

You accept that they will violently freak out for a few decades and do everything in your power to keep them away from government.

If someone is bothered by living in a true democracy, I don't think we should be bothered about offending them. Some ideas are just wrong. You don't need to meet wrong halfway.
Ciji Singletary @ParadoxCRS

I don't think there's a way around bothering them. I suspect you have to defeat them.
Mark W. Schumann

(I love that person who pointed out that people get upset about moving a button on a web form. So true!)

Other respondents had something to say that included more concrete suggestions:

I honestly feel that a lot of ground could be made up through local policy changes if they can avoid the national media spotlight. The nationalization of news has overall been a detriment to society but it also presents an opportunity to make significant changes without pushback. Adding a citizen review board to the local police department. Effective zoning to promote equitable growth. Local election law changes. All of this would get a minor grumble from most as long as talking heads don't tell them it's the collapse of society.
Travis Leitko

By occasional forgiveness. If you study game theory, you will find cooperation is the winning strategy in the long run. It always breaks down, in the end, as now. Reset, and betrayal eventually returns to cooperation. Forgiveness is the key.
Bill Dennis @Nounce2000

Culture – education. That's why the alt right focuses so much on the culture war. But it's the long route

Probably like we’re doing it: Painfully slow and with convulsions of unrest as we inch forward.
Noman @itnor1

it’s about sequencing. first with the political systems (ranked choice voting, proportional representation, public financing of elections), economically via sector-wide bargaining in POC-dominant industries (service/healthcare), on and on. the sequencing is crucial because each change reinforces the last.

You just keep pushing until yesterday's woke is today's normal? I think a lot of anti-woke people are mostly okay with gay relationships.
Lou Rovegno

Just accept that progressives are always 20-30 years ahead of the curve and as such will forever be dissatisfied by the slow pace of change, forever exasperated by the laggard conservatives. And remember that when leading the pack, all attacks come from behind.

The only shot Democrats have is to pass things Republicans hate that are so popular Republicans have to pretend to support them. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, pre-existing conditions. We need to kick field goals over their heads and if we don't score that's on us.

Much of this is tied to income inequality and poverty. The petrodollar has bled wealth from the heartland to the Mideast silently
pat bahn

One way is that you don't talk about it like wokeness. You talk about it like attachment to reality, and not by assigning intent. Blacks are systematically prevented from voting, statistically more in danger from police.  Our society should act on this; not necessary to blame.

Pay them? In hard money. Healthcare. Free childcare and education. Jobs for anyone who wants them.

All of this takes me back to Jonathan Metzl's book Dying of Whiteness, whose findings align perfectly with Isabel Wilkerson's assessment of our country as a caste society

It seems to me that there are some solutions in these latter responses to Dave's question that can work for some of the recalcitrants in our country if we put in enough hard work, with solidarity and semi-consistent messaging. It's why I believe the Green New Deal is the way to go: it addresses jobs and climate and equity. Make the case, tell the story. And keep doing it.

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