Written By: Anton Sawyer
Whenever I say that there are several layers to this trifle when it comes to an issue, it oftentimes requires a follow-up piece to delve into each one. The commentary you are about to read today is just such a follow-up to the previous writing about the lowest common denominators of each political wing—Qanon vs. SJWs. Residing alongside these groups is also another passionate sub-section of both the extreme left and right wings that have forced the rest of the party to fall in line. Of course, whether the actions they are forcing will be to the overall betterment or detriment of each party is to be determined at a later date. Each group is weaponizing racism in a different way to get the desired effect, and the article today is looking to expose these misdirections and their impact on the futures of both the GOP and DNC.
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With the Republicans, their folly lies in the levels of permeation the Dunning-Kruger Effect has had on the party at large. In layman's terms: they are so arrogant in overestimating their intelligence that they shoot themselves in the foot.
A great example of this comes from an early October 2021 hearing for the January 6th insurrection. Before his bond hearing began, defendant Brandon Fellows made it clear that he wanted to not only testify at his hearing but also be a major player with his attorney in his defense. US District Judge Trevor McFadden warned Fellows he could be opening himself up to perjury–or even obstruction of justice–charges if he testified on his own behalf. “Most people do not do this,” McFadden told Fellows. “Obviously your attorney has discouraged this. I do not think this is a good idea … but I’m going to allow you to take the stand, if you wish.” The month prior, Fellows asked McFadden to allow him to represent himself pro se in his case–saying he had spent the previous two weeks in the Washington, D.C. jail’s law library and determined that was what he truly wanted. Despite warning him repeatedly of the possible consequences of going it alone with no formal law training, McFadden ultimately granted Fellows’ request. Over the course of the nearly two-hour hearing, Fellows rambled across a difficult-to-follow litany of complaints about his incarceration. Everything came to a crescendo when Judge McFadden finally spoke. “You’ve admitted to incredible lapses of judgment here on the stand, not least of which was seeking to disqualify a New York state judge.” The judge continued, “You’ve admitted to obstruction of justice in that case, and you’ve admitted to what was probably obstruction in this case in trying to have me disqualified, and only [former public defender] Ms. [Cara] Halverson’s advice stopped you from doing so. You’ve engaged in a pattern of behaviors that shows contempt for the criminal justice system, and I just have no confidence that you will follow my orders if I release you.”
When considering the fact that Fellows was so emboldened by the GOP over the years by being given false information from both the conservative news outlets and GOP leaders, this outcome wasn’t surprising. Fellows KNEW he was in the right. He KNEW only he could properly frame his defense because of how right he felt about it all. This is the Dunning-Kruger effect at its finest.
Keeping this lack of self-awareness in mind, it should come as no surprise that this effect has carried over into the way the conservative party deals with racism—both real and perceived. An October 2021 poll done by the University of Virginia and Project Home Fire showed that a large majority of people who voted for ex-President Trump say they are concerned about anti-white discrimination in the United States. 84% of Trump voters who responded to the survey say they either strongly or somewhat agree that discrimination against whites will increase in the US in the next few years.
It almost seems insulting to the intelligence of both you and I for me to have to whip some statistics out when it comes to the disparities of justice when comparing the incarceration rates of black, Hispanic, and white people since this has been studied ad nauseum over the years … yet, here we are.
For those who are unaware, here's one example. Yes, per a 2018 study done by The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the disparities in numbers between black people and their counterparts being in jail has declined between 2006 and 2018, but that doesn't mean the problem is fixed. Black Americans remain far more likely than their Hispanic and white counterparts to be in prison. The black imprisonment rate at the end of 2018 was near twice the rate among Hispanics (797 per 100,000) and more than five times the rate among whites (268 per 100,000). Again, this is just one example. Sadly there are a plethora of others that will have to be dissected at a later date.
The same poll done by the University of Virginia also gives us a pathway to the liberal side of the equation and their viewpoints. It points out very clearly how their perceptions and actions can be just as detrimental to the racial equality movement as their conservative counterparts. Before delving too deep into those numbers, I do want to make something perfectly clear. Was America created from the blood, sweat, and tears of those that were overthrown by the technologies of the white immigrants? Oh yes, yes it was. Can we do our best to strive for equality by killing the root causes of this perpetual scourge known as racism? Of course! The Biden-voters fall into line with this thinking as well with 87% saying they believe white people have advantages over people of color. 91% of those who voted for Biden also believe that systemic racism is an issue in America.
The issue I have isn’t with their viewpoints, but with execution.
In attempting to put out every little fire, they are completely ignoring the “systemic” part of the problem. Also, the methods being used are not particularly delightful—especially if you are a fan of the US Constitution. The best analogy I can use is Lenny from “Of Mice and Men.” Yes, his heart was in the right place, and his intentions were far from malicious. But his methodology ended up being more damaging overall with much suffering as a result (all unintended).
One such fire occurred in 2020 when a professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) was suspended because he refused to give an easier exam to students of color in the wake of the George Floyd protests. When you pick this entire situation apart, it’s completely antithetical to the values of the United States of America.
In the fall of 2021, Professor Gordon Klein, a lecturer in accounting at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, filed a suit against the school for an unspecified number of damages due to being wrongfully suspended. The lawsuit stems from Klein being suspended briefly by the school in the summer of 2020 because he refused to give black students easier tests. His problems began when a student wrote to him on June 2nd, 2020 (eight days after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis), asking for him to mark black students' work more leniently because the black students were traumatized by Floyd's murder.
Klein, writing on Substack, said he found the request “deeply patronizing and offensive to the same black students he claimed to care so much about.” He replied to the student: “Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black half-Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis? I assume that they are probably especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might possibly be even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they're racist even if they are not.” He concluded that he would not mark students' work differently based on the color of their skin. “I have a law degree, and I'm pretty sure the university's EDI agenda violates Proposition 209, the California Constitution's prohibition against race-based preferences in public education. Voters enacted this decades ago and reaffirmed it, last year, at the ballot box. So, I opted to follow the state Constitution and my conscience.”
Klein’s response went viral, as did the backlash. Though he had been with UCLA for 40 years as of these events transpiring, school administrators suspended the professor. Thankfully the suspension only lasted a few weeks as once news of the suspension went nationwide, it began an overwhelming response to school administrators of ending it, allowing Klein to get his job back. Though only suspended a few weeks, the damage had been done. In the documents brought about by Klein’s attorney’s, it states: “Plaintiff also has suffered substantial loss of income,” and explained that while Klein, who is tenured, was reinstated to his job, “he has lost out on corporate work and expert witness which comprised the majority of his income.” Along with, “Since approximately 2008, Plaintiff has maintained a highly successful private consulting practice as an expert witness ('Expert Witness Practice'),” the court papers said. “The Expert Witness Practice–of which Defendants were well aware at the time of their actions and the events alleged herein—has served as Plaintiff's principal source of income and is conducted independently from his University commitments.” Though it’s a mess, I do see this lawsuit and its potential outcome having far-reaching implications as to how educational equality will be handled in the future. Outside of that, the suit isn’t going to fix anything in the grand scheme of things.
For those of you keeping score, the actual systemic issue behind the students getting an easier exam is the law mentioned (Proposition 209, the California Constitution's prohibition against race-based preferences in public education) in the response of Klein. If you disagree with that law and think that there should be leniency in these situations, you need to contact your state legislators and threaten their jobs, not the job of someone obeying the law you disagree with.
Whether you concur with the hardcore left or right (or even if you are more moderate), identity politics has become a weapon of mass destruction to the future of the rights we currently enjoy in the US. I feel the examples I provided above more than crystalizes this fact. Whether you say you are a Democrat or Republican, you are going to end up being judged by these incredibly vocal outliers as to your perceived worth in the party. Those who are more moderate, or really those who just don’t want to be judged for not falling into line completely with what they are being told to, are becoming apathetic to a lot of these causes overall. We need to keep up the good fight of ending racism, bigotry, or any other plague that infests the American landscape. But when you’re forced into an “all-or-none” mentality, it seems that most are checking out with “none.”
Sadly, I see this emotionally driven trend of hyper-partisanship being the standard for the foreseeable future, thereby widening this gap, and more than likely causing whatever positives that can come from these movements to be crushed by the weight of the gatekeepers. The best we can do is try to call them out on their hypocrisies, grit our teeth, and hold on—it’s going to be a long, bumpy ride.
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