I stopped at Natchez Brewing for a pint while on my recent Dixie 2021 adventure. There, I met a young man who lived across the river in Louisiana. He worked as a teacher and an assistant coach at the local high school. He'd just moved from Los Angeles, so we had lots in common. During our 2-hour chat, he talked about the older fellow who was the head coach and whose family went back many generations in the area. The young man told me how the older dude defended the Confederacy, telling family stories about how hard they worked on their plantation back in the day.
I'd seen this before and done it myself - defending ancestors who were guilty of moral wrongs simply because it was great-great-grandpa. When you abstracted what the guy was doing, he was protecting his family name. Had he been from Iowa, he'd have no such loyalty to Johnny Reb. He didn't really have a position on 1850s politics so much as one required by pride.
We have friends from Chicago who come over for dinner from time to time. They're older and love to tell stories about bribing ChiTown officials. In one, a guy administering a driving test had to be bribed to pass the student. The Chicago people all laugh and then tell everyone that it may have been corrupt, but things got done. Ha ha!
Of course, they had just driven on SoCal freeways to get to our place, mingling with lots of other drivers who got their licenses from DMVs whose employees didn't have to be bribed. It's not that the bribes got things done, it's that the place was corrupt.
The stories aren't tales of worldliness and sophistication, they're about some GS-9 toad forcing citizens to kneel before him. The $10 isn't the big deal, it's the kneeling to the government worm that matters.
And yet, I understand what's happening. Like the guy in Louisiana, they're not defending the corruption, they're standing up for their home town. To insult it is to insult them.
KT's Theory of Everything - Defending the Brothers Edition
That leads me to BLM and the whole race craze. It's one thing to be proud of great-great-grandpappy and Chicago, it's another thing to be proud of your race. The first two force you to defend the sins of people you've never met, but at least that's somewhat constrained. There are only so many Chicagoans, after all. Great-great-grandpappy may have owned slaves, but he inherited them, he didn't capture and sell them like black Africans did. In any case, death has drawn a line under his list of mistakes. He ain't gonna make no more.
If you identify with your "race," a concept that Europeans and Africans would dispute as they can tell the differences between an Italian and a Norwegian and a Nigerian and a Somali, then there's practically no limit to what you have to defend.
Yesterday, I shared this link of a professor who feels the need to explain away black-on-Asian violence.
A critical race studies and ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder says Americans wondering why Black citizens commit anti-Asian hate crimes have an answer: “White supremacy.”
I sympathize with the guy who has a soft spot for the Confederacy. He's showing family pride. I sympathize with the Chicagoans who think bribery got things done. They're showing civic pride. I have sympathy for the professor who is driven to spout insane excuses for horrific acts of cruelty because she's been told that she must identify with her "race."
The first two have well-defined limits. That last one has no bottom. The dude from Dixie doesn't want to return to slavery and the Chicagoans don't want to carry around wads of bribe cash in San Diego. The professor cannot draw a line anywhere because the behavior is ongoing and keeps getting worse.