Covington Outrage and the Enemies Within
Covington Outrage and the Enemies Within
I watched with interest the outrage over the video of the young men from Covington Catholic High School ostensibly “harassing” and taunting Native American protesters in Washington, DC a few days ago. I held my tongue, because I wanted to see if time would reveal something else – some context that the media refused to show. I was right to do so.
Apparently, there’s more to the story than first meets the eye. As my co-blogger Kim mentioned earlier, social media blew up with accusations of racism and lies flying back and forth – before the video was really examined and analyzed and before other videos showed a different story – a story that shows other actors in the mix, hurling abuse at these kids, probably because some of them were wearing MAGA hats, and a story that shows the student whom some have called a “smug, arrogant, self-entitled punk,” standing there in complete silence as an adult beats a drum in his face and sings.
If you want to learn more about why this story is manufactured outrage, I would urge you to watch this entire video (and I will warn some of you scolds with sensitive ears that, yes, there’s some cursing here). The guy in the video is Dusty Smith, who apparently runs the “Humanist Society of Mississippi.” He admits to being a liberal and to hating Trump, and says he was more than happy initially to believe that these racist kids were simply reinforcing the liberal view that ORANGEMANBAD!
But that’s where liberal Dusty apparently experienced a bout of integrity and honor. He closely examined the video and determined that the claims and denigration of these kids was complete bullshit, meant to stoke the fires of outrage and give terrified white people an opportunity to show how woke and NOTRACIST they are by immediately condemning these kids.
The kids were chanting school cheers, and the Native American veteran was the one who approached them first, not the other way around.
I won’t spoil it for you any further. I urge you to listen to Dusty, who did his best to examine the video and do his research before venting his spleen.
Folks, here’s the thing.
Outrage is en vogue. Outrage is an easy way to show how “woke” and “sensitive to minority plight” white people are in order to stave off accusations of racism. Outrage brings in campaign money and attention to the cause du jour, whatever it may be.
Dusty Smith’s admitted initial reaction to the video was typical of the angry Internet warrior. HAH! THIS JUST SUPPORTS MY ARGUMENT THAT ALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS ARE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WHO TARGET AND HARASS MINORITIES!
Thankfully, Dusty Smith took a deep breath and looked deeper, and what he discovered is intentional attempts by some to mislead and foment indignation and acrimony, whip up emotions, and provoke outrage.
Anger whips up the angry mob, and when emotions run high, politicians win.
Worse yet, these days outrage leads to doxxing, loss of jobs and livelihoods, and outright violence.
Outrage precludes analysis of facts and objective reporting and claims innocent victims.
Outrage gives adults pretext to want to commit violence against children.
Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s? pic.twitter.com/jolQ7BZQPD
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 20, 2019
Outrage drives Internet mobs to ruin the lives of innocent people because they feel morally justified in destroying the enemy – those whom they view as less than human.
However, there are risks to crowdsourcing people’s identities from others on the internet, and University of Arkansas assistant professor Kyle Quinn found that out when he was mistakenly identified as one of the white nationalists at the [Charlottesville] rally.
After being wrongly identified, Quinn received countless threats online, with users calling him a racist and posting his home address and personal information online, according to the Times. Exposing people online in this way, known as “doxxing,” violates of Twitter’s terms of service.
Quinn and his wife were forced to stay at a colleague’s place over the weekend as a result of the threats.
This is what happens when people toss their logic aside and turn to their outrage as a source of “action.”
This is what we have become as a society – hordes of Internet mobs, seeking revenge at the expense of real justice, believing that their lackadaisical unwillingness to look past their biases and do actual research before embarking on campaigns to destroy people’s lives is somehow equivalent to real efforts to stand up to racism and prejudice.
These people sit on the shoulders of giants – Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil – who staged a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, refused to leave after being denied service, and were subsequently arrested for trespassing, disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace – and claim their unhinged, hate-filled effort to destroy “the enemy” without facts, without reason, without objectivity, and without so much as an attempt to find an unbiased truth are equivalent to the struggle for civil rights.
And dog forbid you disagree with them for any reason! You must be a racist. You must be a less than human, piece of shit that needs to be immediately destroyed – your reputation ruined, your life threatened, your family frightened, and your livelihood destroyed. All because social justice zealots must show how woke they are by turning their outrage into action – no matter how unwarranted the outrage, and no matter how harmful the action.
Racism is about the most foul philosophy man has ever invented. It’s a disgusting form of collectivism that claims something you can’t control – the color of the skin or the shape of the eyes with which you were born – makes you inferior to others who were born with a different set of characteristics.
Racism is the repugnant philosophy of the KKK and the Nazis. No one could deny that. And to me – a minority woman who has experienced racism in all its morally noxious “glory” – it’s the worst thing you could call someone.
The outrage mob of today takes advantage of the putrescence that is racism and hurls that epithet at those it perceives to be their enemy, making it OK to abuse, dehumanize, and destroy the target of their ire.
In “Less Than Human: the Psychology of Cruelty” David Livingstone Smith – co-founder and director of the Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New England – explores this phenomenon.
During the Holocaust, Nazis referred to Jews as rats. Hutus involved in the Rwanda genocide called Tutsis cockroaches. Slave owners throughout history considered slaves subhuman animals. In Less Than Human, David Livingstone Smith argues that it’s important to define and describe dehumanization, because it’s what opens the door for cruelty and genocide.
The repulsive racist is the new rat/cockroach. No one can disagree with that description.
But when you call any opponent – even if it’s just someone with whose political views you disagree – a racist, you’re dehumanizing them in the eyes of the world merely for expressing an opinion that’s different from yours (or in the case of manufactured outrage, not expressing it at all). It’s a dull arrow in the quiver of a dull mind, but in today’s environment of outrage it’s been disgustingly effective.
Why? Because racism is something against which we can all unite.
After all, who doesn’t hate a racist?
Outrage gives the indolent and cowardly a weapon with which to target their political enemies from the relative safety of their computer keyboards, and manufactured outrage, such as the Covington story, gives them convenient targets.
Outrage gives the media a weapon with which to foment yet more discontent and indignation to help denigrate the enemy (in this case, Trump, because ORANGEMANBAD and everything bad that happens – real or not – is his fault).
Outrage gives social media warriors an outlet to show just how badass, woke, and “courageous” they are as they target demean, and debase a bunch of kids without context.
Outrage forces us to focus on the “enemy” within – at our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, and our family members – who may hold opposing political viewpoints or support political candidates whom we find less than palatable.
Outrage tears our nation apart from within.
The seemingly misplaced outrage against the Covington kids is just another example.