Three terms have lately become a more regular part of our cultural and political vocabulary: social justice, white privilege, and microaggressions. Are they valid concepts or masks for a radical agenda? I would like to explore them a little today.
“Social justice” is the oldest of the terms, at least in modern usage. Take the words strictly as words, and there’s no problem with them. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t in favor of justice in society. But those who use this term the most have a very specific meaning for it that either excludes or minimizes other applications.
For instance, social justice, more often than not, seems to be little more than a new way of saying the government needs to redistribute income. The only people who are lacking in social justice, according to this view, are the poor, the marginal, the ones left behind economically.
The Religious Left has picked up on this and has used it as a hammer against those on the conservative side of the political spectrum, especially Christians who believe in limited government, personal responsibility for one’s place in society (through decisions one has made, for good or ill), and traditional Biblical morality.
I find it telling that those of the Religious Left are more exercised over income inequality than stopping the horror of abortion or standing firm on Biblical standards of sexual conduct and marriage.
Social justice, in my view, is a term that has been hijacked by those who continue to harbor a Marxist view of the world and who place material well-being ahead of the more significant spiritual truths. That’s why it’s a term I hesitate to use.
White privilege is an accusation I could better understand if we still lived during those times when blacks were either held in slavery or discriminated against through Black Codes or Jim Crow laws. But we don’t live there anymore.
We have a president who is black (well, half-black, at least) and the multitude of minorities who are now very wealthy through either athletics, the entertainment media, or via the political route is prominent in our land.
One cannot legitimately blame any so-called white privilege for Baltimore’s woes, for one example. Blacks dominate the politics of that city, and the policies they have promoted have certainly enriched those who are in the seats of power, but not so much the general population. Government programs that came to the forefront beginning in the 1960s have decimated the black family and are a primary reason that approximately 70-plus% of children now grow up in the inner cities without a father in the house. Poverty follows in that wake.
I recall when I applied for a professorship at one Christian university back in the 1990s. I did get an interview and was flown out to the university, but when I got there, I was informed that the only reason I even got the interview was that they couldn’t find a woman or minority for the position. I felt so wanted. White privilege?
By the way, I didn’t get the position.
The cry of “white privilege” emanates more from a desire to keep the flames of racial animosity alive than from the reality of America in 2015.
Then there’s this new word, made up out of thin air: microaggressions. What are they? Actions that can be interpreted as aggression toward different races, genders, etc., that the aggressor doesn’t even realize are aggressions. In other words, you can do or say something that is perfectly innocent in your own mind, but as long as someone else feels slighted by what you have said or done, you have committed a “microaggression.”
According to the American Psychological Association: “Some racism is so subtle that neither victim nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on—which may be especially toxic for people of color.”
Well, if it’s so subtle that neither the victim nor the perpetrator is aware of it, who is being harmed?
Here’s where the concept of microaggressions has led us: Janet Napolitano—remember her as the former head of Homeland Security?—is now president of the University of California system. She has now told professors they must not say the following things because they are all considered microaggressions:
- America is the land of opportunity.
- There is only one race, the human race.
- I believe the most qualified person should get the job.
Yes, this is what we have come to.
We now have social justice warriors who are quite selective about who should receive justice (based on their Marxist philosophy—even if they don’t realize the source).
We have racial agitators that keep the flame of bitterness burning bright through charges of “white privilege,” while simultaneously enriching themselves as the champions of the underclass.
And now we have total inanity with microaggressions, which attempt to make everyone feel guilty when they have done nothing wrong.
Some terms only make things worse. We need to change both the tone and the language of our national conversation.