Leer en Español
I’ll get to the point. What’s happening today with Black Lives Matter, the so-called fight against racism and most leftist causes of the moment, is not fundamentally about “changing the world,” but about being accepted in society and looking cool on social networks.
In that sense, the left of the ’60s, we must admit, was a thousand times braver and more consistent than the left of today. To be a good hippie in those days you had to dress in rags, have your own vegetable garden and live in some collective land with so many other haters of capitalism.
Today, if you hate capitalism, you put a “Fuck Capitalism” sticker on your Mac, drink a craft beer in a good bar and tweet crap against big business.
If you were an environmentalist, then you dressed in second hand clothes and went with other hippies to the countryside to eat plants and milk cows. Today, if you are an environmentalist, you take pictures thanking the pacha mama, go on retreats in some natural park and share Greta’s speeches on social networks.
It is clear that in the past many leftists had a commitment to their cause, and although they have always been wrong in their solutions, they showed a real concern and willingness to modify behaviors to achieve a goal. To those environmental hippies of the 60’s, we can say that technologies allow us to live comfortably and also improve the environment and that the more advanced a country is in terms of technology, the more options it will provide for people to live well while polluting little. However, we cannot accuse them of lack of commitment.
What’s happening today is a phenomenon in which what matters is to appear to belong and be accepted. This phenomenon is repeated with respect to any left-wing cause. Let’s look at what is happening with Black Lives Matter, which is at this moment the most talked about struggle of Progressivism in America.
If it were true that there is systemic racism in the USA, does anyone believe that sharing a black square in lieu of other images on their social networks would end racism?
Today, over 60% of African-American children grow up in single-parent homes and in most cases it is the father who is absent. This issue, of course, has a major effect on the development of the child, who must deal with the absence of the father figure and a mother who will have to work twice as hard and will not be, in most cases, as present as she should be.
Is there anyone within BLM talking about this particular problem and the influence it may have on high dropout rates, teen pregnancy or delinquency?
There isn’t, because no one really wants to do anything, because searching for causes means to work hard, and because if you talk about it, you will be tagged as racist. And the important thing, in any case, isn’t to change the world but to look good on social networks.
If BLM wanted to alleviate some of the negative numbers experienced by the black community in terms of outcomes -we’re talking about things like educational background and wages- they should look at issues like fatherlessness during a child’s growth spurt or the negative effect of certain subsidy policies that create perverse incentives in that they reward laziness and bad behavior.
If those who claim to be anti-racists were really concerned about people not being treated according to their skin color, they would not be applauding Kamala for being black, nor would they be asking the government to give special color allowances or quotas in universities. They would be asking to be treated the same as everyone else.
What we see today is that the “anti-racists” are the most racist of all. They treat African-American people as disabled. Yet, there is no room to talk about this, to have real debates. What matters is not the substance or the facts.
Those who really do something against racism are those who treat all people the same way every day, regardless of their color. The people who really want to change the bad results found in the African-American community (it also happens, although to a lesser extent, in the Latino community) are good teachers at a school with a high percentage of African-American students, a good doctor in the community, a good priest, etc.
And those who from the outside want to contribute to the debate with data, are not shouting that there is systemic racism in a country with a black former president and where anyone can study or work regardless of skin color, they are talking about real issues -such as the high percentage of black children growing up without their parents or the negative incentives that a lot of “aid” generates- that, although they are bothersome to many, it is fundamental to try to do something real.
However, it’s very cool to put the photo “in black” because everyone does it, and to say in networks that you fight for all the good causes. It’s just about tweeting and sharing a post on Instagram with the trend of the moment and you get followers looking good. Whether what you do helps or not, that doesn’t matter.
Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editor-in-chief of El American. Economist. Podcaster. Political and economic analysis of America. Colombian exile in the United States // Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editora en jefe de El American. Economista. Podcaster. Análisis político y económico de América. Colombiana exiliada en EE. UU.