Candice Dyer's Handy Decoder for Whitespeak, Post-Ferguson
Freelance writer extraordinaire Candice Dyer of Georgia wrote the following today on Facebook about some of her post-Ferguson social media conversations. It seems pretty spot-on:
Having read the same arguments, ad nauseum, over the past couple of days ... here's a handy decoder-translator for whitespeak:
- When you preface a sentence with “I'm not a racist, but ...” That means you're a racist.
- When you say “This is not about race at all” ... That means it's exactly about race.
- When you say “This is all about Sharpton and Jackson playing the race card” ... That means you are the one playing the race card ... as a racist.
- When you say “We still have the best criminal justice system in the world even if it's flawed” ... That means that black people shouldn't complain about it, but you can, when it affects you or your child.
- When you bring up O.J. in this context ... guess what?
- Same goes for any talk of Obama “stirring the pot.”
- Same goes for defaming the dead as a “thug.”
And so on. And so on.
I should add, in all honesty, that my own social media conversations have gone the other way. I came home Monday night to the Twitterverse excoriating Pres. Obama for the “split-screen shot”: he was urging calm while on the other side, smoke, fighting and rioting were going on in the streets of Ferguson. Some said, a bit quickly, that it “defined” his presidency, but I never understood what he should have said or how he should have acted. Should he have not been calm? Should he have urged violence? What he said, and how he acted, seemed proper to me. What he said the next day seemed proper to me, too. He'll get excoriated from the right for that. No winning for the middle in America.
Here's Bob Staake's New Yorker cover for next week: