"No," he answered, alarmed. "When was that? Did you call the police?"
"Well... yes. Eventually," I told him.
"Eventually? Why didn't you call right away?!"
"Um, because..." I paused, knowing how stupid this would sound. "The guy was black?"
I've written several posts about why this is a horrible thing. While I support being mindful of the feelings and experiences of others, I couldn't disagree more with the sentiment that you're not allowed to have a voice because you are White, or male, or less oppressed than someone else. (See also: Why I Dressed as Victimhood Culture for Halloween; Please Don't Turn the Farm Into a Preschool: An Open Letter to Stanford's Renaming Committee; and I Used to Think "Cultural Appropriation" Was Wrong - Now, I'm Not So Sure.)
But you know what's even worse than not having a voice? Making irrational decisions that actually put yourself or others in danger because you've either drunk the social justice Kool-Aid... or you're afraid those who have will call you a "bigot" or an "-ist" otherwise.
Case in point: me.
Having been so inundated with social justice messages about how cops are cruel to Black people, Black people face harsher sentences than White people (which is true, and has been for as long as we've been measuring these statistics), I hesitated to call the police when I saw a Black man committing a crime, because I didn't want to look like an -ist.
"What if it's his car, and he just got locked out?" I asked myself
"What if there is some totally reasonable explanation for this, and I'm jumping to conclusions based on implicit biases?"
But here's the thing: meanwhile, someone's car was being broken into -- right across the street from where someone I care about lives. Not calling the police was jeopardizing both property owners.
And I was standing by doing nothing.
(And please don't be an idiot and suggest that I "should" walk up to a strange man with sharp tools who appears to be committing a crime -- you're welcome to needlessly put yourself in danger, but I prefer myself intact.)
So I said to myself, "Okay. Let's take race out of this. Objectively, is breaking into a car something the police should know about?"
"Would I call the police if this were a White man?"
"So is there any good reason for me not to call the police line and let them know what's up, in case they want to check it out?"
So I called the non-emergency line and told the operator the address of the car, and that was that. (I had to be somewhere, so I didn't stick around to see what happened next.)
In retrospect, I feel dumb for even hesitating. I'm someone who prides myself on being a scientific, reasonable and objective thinker. So why did I almost do something so stupidly subjective and unreasonable?
I was glad (and also sad) to discover I'm not the only one.
In One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture is Eroding Self-Reliance, authors Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel share the story of Johnelle Bryant, a woman who could have stopped September 11... but didn't.
Bryant, who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was approached by 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta, who wanted a $650,000 loan for a crop duster.
Says Bryant, "He wanted to finance a twin-engine six-passenger aircraft … and remove the seats. He said he was an engineer, and he wanted to build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft and take up every available square inch of the aircraft except for where the pilot would be sitting."
When she explained that there was an application process, she recalls, "He asked me what would prevent him from going behind my desk and cutting my throat and making off with the millions of dollars in that safe," said Bryant. (Also worth noting: throughout their entire interaction, Atta referred to her, with disgust, as "but a female.")
He proceeded to ask questions about the national security around DC's national monuments and comment that, one day, Osama bin Laden would be known as the world's greatest leader.
He tried repeatedly to buy an aerial photograph of Washington, D.C., from her office wall. "He pulled out a wad of cash," Bryant reported, "and started throwing money on my desk. He wanted that picture really bad."
She told him the picture was not for sale.
"His look on his face became very bitter at that point," Bryant remembers. "I believe he said, 'How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it,' like the cities in his country had been destroyed?"
Atta then expressed an interest in visiting New York, specifically the World Trade Center, and asked Bryant about security there. He inquired about other American cities, including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago. Spotting a souvenir on her desk, he asked about the Dallas Cowboys' football stadium, mentioning that the team was "America's team" and the stadium had a "hole in the roof."
Bryant's response to all this?
In spite of all his weird, threatening behaviors, she made no report or complaint, because, in her own words, "I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from, with all the violence, as compared to the United States. I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could make it."
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But one would think that someone who acted this creepy and threatening, someone who was clearly so full of contempt and anger, who asked questions like this and wanted to buy a crop duster, would raise a red flag.
Unless you are so brainwashed by extreme regressive propaganda that you are willing to make decisions that put your life (or someone else's) in danger.
Objectivity is important, and that is what is getting lost in this whole social justice movement.
It's important to understand that, yes, more Black men serve longer prison sentences for the same crimes as White men, and there are a lot of institutional injustices that Black people have to deal with every day...
I've given several other examples of people acting irrationally or supporting social causes they don't agree with because they're afraid of being an -ist. For example:
Stanford students who support renaming of campus rooms, buildings and roads named Junipero Serra.
I guarantee you, the vast majority of the students in Stanford's ASSU (student council) had no idea Junipero Serra was before someone got offended (or possible faux-fended) about this.
Yet they "support" the movement because they're afraid of what people will say about them on social media if they disagree.
Artists who censor or modify their artwork because one student found it "triggering."
An artist at Pitzer College recently painted this pro-peace mural, which depicts flowers growing out of the barrel of a gun:
Guns are all over the media. Movies, TV shows, video games, hip hop songs and even some cartoons feature them. The only thing wrong with this mural, a tribute to Vietnam protests, is that one Black student called it (subjectively) racist.
The member of the German Left Youth Party wholied about who raped her because her rapist was a refugee -- and later apologized to the refugee for filing a report.
Objectively, rape is one of the most horrible things someone could do to another person.
But, also objectively, so is this. First of all, it's illegal to lie when you're filing a police report. Second, by aiding and abetting your rapist, you're allowing him to go on raping.
But I guess lying and apologizing is the "right" thing to do, because he was "oppressed," right?
This action was incredibly stupid, and it put others in danger -- and it was all because a White person was afraid of being "racist."
Students for "Justice" in Palestine who justify Palestinian terrorism and the murder of innocent Israeli citizens (including children, mothers and elderly)... because "you don't know what it's like to be oppressed."
This is the main argument I get from supporters of SJP when I express concern about the stabbings in Israel. The situation over there is messy. But this:
Stabbing innocent, unarmed civilians is not the same as "resisting occupation."
Objectively, this is wrong, and to suggest otherwise only shows that you are not thinking.
Oh, and speaking of September 11 and SJP -- remember that time when Stanford's SJP sponsored a speaker who openly supports terrorism against America?
Dr. Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian physician and politician who openly supported 9/11 and others attacks like it. In his own words, "“If the US government has a legitimate right to bomb and kill civilians in Iraq, also the oppressed have a moral right to attack the United States with the weapons they may create...Terror is a poor weapon, but yes, [I support it].”
I support free speech. Gilbert can say whatever he wants.
But isn't interesting that SJP claims not to be an extremist group, then brings this guy to Stanford campus, and everyone's just like, "Yay! Justice!"
Yet when Brown Hillel brought Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist who survived nine years in a Soviet forced labor camp on false charges, SJP interrupted his event, bursting into the auditorium and screeching, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!"
Because a Zionist human rights activist is way scarier than someone who openly supports terrorism, right?
The takeaway here is to stay skeptical. Stay objective. Think for yourself. Ask yourself why. Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn't make you an -ist. (See also: Dear Social Justice Warriors: Stop Saying "You Have White Privilege" When You ACTUALLY Mean, "I Disagree With You.")
You don't have to come to the same conclusions I do. But, in the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion -- but they're not entitled to their own facts."