After turning on my mobile phone this morning, I scrolled through Facebook to see what sort of updates had happened in other people’s lives while I’d been sleeping.
Not a lot, is the short answer.
This is not surprising really. We’re so connected these days that someone can barely fart without feeling the need to upload and discuss its many elements. A friend had posted a close-up photograph of her broken fourth toe, and an accompanying x-ray. I’m not a fan of feet, so I screwed up my face in distaste and scrolled on. I was eating breakfast, for goodness sake!
But I stopped scrolling when I came to a link for an article in my favourite online journal, Quillette. For those who don’t know of the journal, it is a ‘platform for free thought’ as quoted from its About page, and it therefore publishes social, political and science-related matters, with a decent smattering of common sense. I urge you to check it out. The article that caught my eye was entitled, ‘A Witch-hunt on Instagram’ written by Kathrin Jebson Moore. I’ve provided a link, which I hope works, but below is a precis in case it doesn’t or you’ve not the time to read it.
In the article, Jebson Moore brings our attention to the witch hunt of Karen Templer, a knitting designer and business owner, who made an innocuous post on her blog site about an upcoming trip to India. In the post, Templer speaks about her excitement of the overseas trip, her desire to visit there since her mid-teens, but previously being unachievable. As likely for her as a trip to Mars.
Instagram exploded with vitriol, accusing Templer of comparing India with another planet. Calling her racist for not recognising the ‘otherness’ in this post, citing the colonialist and imperialist undertones seeping from it. Templer tried to placate the mob, noting that nothing from her post struck her as imperialist, but she’d spend time rethinking the matter and even asking some of her Indian friends if they were offended.
This only caused further outrage from social justice warriors and even turned Templer’s previous supporters against her.
Jebson Moore goes on to write, ‘For anyone unfamiliar with the jargon of contemporary anti-racism, the criticism of Templer reflects the movement’s more general critique of Western society. Overt racism, which anyone would agree is abhorrent, is not their main focus; rather, they are preoccupied with identifying subtle, implicit, and often unconscious manifestations of bias which, by their nature, are almost impossible to refute.’ Any good or harmless intentions are irrelevant to the angry hoard and they attack in a most relentless fashion.
Similarly, the world recently watched in disbelief as a social justice mob tore apart Liam Neeson, who, while promoting his upcoming film, spoke about his thoughts of exacting revenge some twenty years ago, after a friend of his had been raped. Apparently, he admitted roaming the streets in anger, thinking how much he’d like to hurt someone, anyone, solely out of retaliation. Neeson committed no crime, then or now. The anecdote from his past was used in conversation, to illustrate the plot from the film. Neeson, though, was immediately corralled by the anti-racist warriors; the premiere to his film was cancelled, Neeson forced to apologise.
Think about it. Let it rest for a moment. Neeson was forced to apologise for a thought. Not a crime, a thought. Templer was forced to apologise for writing that her life-long dream was becoming a reality.
I am saddened by all of this. Who among us has not had a thought, at any time in their past, which was unkind or hurtful or full of rage? What person out there has not, in their youth, linked the likelihood of a dream with something as far-fetched as travelling to space?
Identity politics is ruining the world. Pretty soon we won’t be able to use the word colour, for fear of hurting another’s feelings. Anything that pushes intellectual boundaries, encourages free speech and debate is deemed hurtful and the urge to hide from such is pandered to. Again, Jebson Moore succinctly states, ‘In an age in which freedom of speech seems to be under attack in many different spheres of society, heretics to the progressive creed find themselves persecuted ad nauseam by a choir of the self-righteous. This kind of vindictive activism has been described…as a hunt for people who dare to disagree.’
Let me sing loud and proud right here that I dare to disagree with the current trend. I am not, however, a racist person. I treat everyone with respect and kindness, even those who aren’t necessarily kind to me. If you’re a regular reader of my blog posts you might be familiar with this about me, and that it’s a value I am teaching my children. Kindness matters. Choose kindness.
I see no kindness or respectfulness in the treatment by the progressives to Neeson or Templer. I only see bullying and harassment.