The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Social Justice

There's a broad-based meme that pervades the thinking of many on the left—"social justice." Although a bit nebulous as a two-word phrase (even though it sounds really good when stated with emotion), it can generally be defined in the following way:
  • people of color are beset by white people who because of their "privilege" are inherently racist; therefore, when a decision between people of color and whites must be made (on virtually any subject) it should always skew toward people of color.
  • males are inherently misogynistic, and it is always the woman who must be believed when any accusation of male dominance is made (in pay, in position, or in sexual encounters); this is particularly true when any accusation of sexual abuse is made by a woman—the man is guilty until proven innocent and when proven innocent, he is still suspect.
  • the "rich" are rapacious and keep the poor from any meaningful accomplishment; it is the "rich's" fault that income inequality exists, and it is income inequality that is the source of all societal problems.
  • educated people have an unfair advantage over uneducated people and that advantage allows them to dominate the uneducated in job quality, earnings, and accomplishment; this advantage is unfair and must be remedied by ... (here the details begin to blur just a bit)
In 2006, the nation experienced the perfect social justice storm when members the Duke University lacrosse team were accused of rape by an African American stripper who was hired for a party.

Activists on the left—what some might call social justice warriors (SJWs)—sprang into action, condemning the team before any evidence was gathered, firing the team's coach when he defended his players' innocence, suspending the entire team, and expelling the three players accused of this horrific act. The team and the players were immediately tried and convicted in the left-leaning media and an opportunist DA moved quickly to indict and attempt to convict them.

There was only one problem. The charges were 100% false. It was only after nine months of hell that the accused were exonerated. The coach never got his job back, the university never truly apologized, and the social just warriors—not a peep.

In an outstanding documentary film, Fantastic Lies, currently being shown on ESPN 30 for 30, the film's director, Marina Zenovich, demolishes the claims of accuser and eviscerates the SJWs who were quick to accuse and convict based on a set of "fantastic lies."

Mary Katherine Ham does an excellent job of summarizing (read the whole thing) the key elements of the case and the documentary and then writes:
To this day, most of the Duke faculty and leadership who prejudged the lacrosse players remain in their positions and have never apologized. Media figures who apologized or retracted are few and far between. Instead, most coverage offered grudging reporting on the dismissal of charges.

Ten years later, despite a recent lesson in humility with the Rolling Stone UVA rape story, some of that grudging tone remains, as in Slate’s write-up on the documentary: “[I]t’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists.”
That's the power of the social justice meme. Even when SJWs are presented with irrefutable evidence that their accusations are wrong, they refuse to relent. Ideology trumps reality in their world view.

But it's worse than that. The Duke lacrosse case is not a one-off. There are literally dozens of instances where SJWs have wrongly accused members of a "privileged" class of wrong doing (think: the Tawana Brawley case in the late 1980s or the UVA rape case in 2012). It appears that SJWs are blinded by an ideological meme and repeat the same mistakes over and over again. The fact that it can destroy innocent lives is irrelevant, as long as the meme is preserved.