Moving right along: These days, you can count on the New York Times to dispense horseshit, and that’s too bad, coming from a publication that used to be known as the “paper of record.” Here’s a piece from their “advice” column. Excerpt:
My 12-year-old daughter had a sticker on her water bottle with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” A classmate told her the sticker was racist because many people can’t choose what they want to do because of structural racism. My daughter peeled off the sticker and threw it away. When she told me about it, I was at a loss. I believe structural racism is real and pernicious, but I also think we should teach children that they have agency. And my daughter and I like the sticker’s message. Help!
Here’s the first paragraph of the Times’ response:
Twelve-year-olds are not famous for nuance. (Their greater claim may be making classmates feel bad about their water bottles.) But you are an adult. Start a conversation with your daughter that goes beyond slogans and stickers to a more thoughtful consideration of race.
What utter horseshit.
In the first place, I consider this a prime example of “I’ll take Shit That Never Happened for $500, Alex.” I don’t believe this event ever actually took place. Most of these “My X-year-old came to me the other day and asked why the United Nations aren’t doing more to reduce the developed world’s carbon emissions!” are fake. Again, this is horseshit; kids just aren’t concerned with these things.
But that’s not the point I want to make. Instead, here is what my response to this probably non-existent child would be:
“Here, honey, here is another sticker exactly like the one you tore off. Put it back on your water bottle and leave it there. Your friend is an idiot. The message from Dr. Seuss is a great one, and applies to all children and adults of any color. The truth is, there is no institutional racism in the United States. We have a black man sitting on the Supreme Court alongside a Latina woman. We recently had an Indian-American woman as our Ambassador to the UN. We’ve had a black woman serve as Secretary of State. We’ve even had a black man elected President of the United States – twice. The very idea that the melanin content of one’s skin somehow defines their determination or their abilities is not only ridiculous, it is actually racist, by the strict definition of the word. If your friend complains that she is being somehow held back by “racism,” tell her, “well, then, get out there and prove the racists wrong – millions of people have.”
But then, that message doesn’t fit the New York Time’s editorial agenda, does it? Of course it doesn’t. Too hopeful.