Members of marginalized groups are not comparable to three legged dogs. Yes, earlier this week, I listened as someone made just such a comparison. He told me that he had recently “met” a three legged dog and that the dog seemed very happy, loving and didn’t appear to have any limitations as a result of the missing leg.
He then told me that racism wasn’t real and gave examples of black people being caught having written the racist material they were accusing others of generating. He gave the example of the “Navy seaman assigned to the carrier USS George H.W. Bush [who was] disciplined and counseled by his unit after officials determined he staged the vandalism of his own bunk with racist graffiti and then posted about it on Facebook.”
Although he didn’t know his name, he described a famous and successful black architect who worked in the Southern California area and did so without the need for “special treatment” in the form of civil rights. I’m pretty certain that he was referring to Paul Williams, who “designed the homes of numerous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lon Chaney, Barbara Stanwyck and Charles Correll, along with having designed many public and private buildings.”
He said that the black community never shares information on success stories such as Paul Williams and that if they do, they refer to them as “Uncle Toms.”
He told me that he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body and that he’s mad as hell that people keep referring to him and others like him as racists. Not wanting segments of the population to which he isn’t a member to receive “special treatment” does not make him a racist, as he explained.
I asked him whether the three legged dog in question had lost its leg before or after having been adopted. He didn’t know.
I then asked him how many people he knows who specifically seek to adopt three legged dogs. He ignorned that question.
I then asked if he felt that three legged dogs would be as likely to get adopted as would four legged dogs. He ignored that question as well.
I then commented that if three legged dogs were less likely to get adopted than four legged dogs, they would more likely either remain in no-kill shelters their entire lives or be euthanized. Once again, that information didn’t register with him.
He just continued blabbing about the three legged dog he had recently met.
Does anyone seriously want to tell me that three legged dogs would rather not have four legs?
If I could magically make the missing leg appear and function as though it had never been missing, would that dog or all three legged dogs be receiving “special treatment”? We’re not referring to giving three legged dogs a fifth or sixth leg, which would be “special treatment” from my vantage point, assuming the additional legs would give the dogs an upper hand over four legged dogs.
Even if the three legged dog had been a show dog before losing its leg, I can guarantee that the dog’s career as a show dog ended with the loss of its leg. Giving that dog “special treatment” would mean not only allowing it to continue competing in dog shows, but requiring that the judges disregard the fact that the dog had lost one of its legs and providing the dog with a handicap such as those used in golf competitions, thereby allowing the dog to compete with the four legged dogs on somewhat equal terms and actually increasing the handicap above that level.
We can always find examples of those who succeed against all odds, those who lie for whatever reason, and those who take advantage of the system. Does the existence of such examples mean that members of groups included within civil rights laws are receiving “special treatment”?
If we’re going to make a comparison with regard to the three legged dog, the comparison involves being given an equal opportunity under law.
If a person is excluded from the table on the basis of their race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability unrelated to job requirements, or genetic information, is that equal treatment under law? Is it “special treatment” if laws require their inclusion at the table if they are otherwise qualified and those laws prohibit discrimination for such things? What about if such individuals receive a seat at the table, but aren’t permitted to speak or otherwise convey their thoughts and opinions? Is that “equal treatment”? Is it “special treatment” if laws require that these otherwise qualified individuals given seats at the table also be given equal opportunity to convey their thoughts and opinions? Is it “special treatment” if laws require that the thoughts and opinions conveyed by these individuals at the table be given equal consideration to those of everyone else of their same level and position?
I’ve come to the realization that when “social conservatives” complain about political correctness, it’s not merely a frustration about being judged for expressing their opinions and beliefs and not being allowed to use certain terms in polite company. “Political correctness” has become code, in my opinion, for civil rights. They may not use the terms “political correctness” and “civil rights”, but the meaning is crystal clear. They are sick and tired of members of certain groups being given “special treatment” and the “special treatment” pertains to civil rights.
These individuals are no more able to view civil rights in the same manner as golf handicaps designed to allow somewhat equal opportunity to compete in the marketplace for housing, employment, and other such things than are four legged dogs able to grasp the advantage they have over three legged dogs at the propects of being adopted.
Unfortunately, however, unlike three legged dogs, most members of groups which receive civil rights are well aware that equal ability alone wouldn’t lead to fair competition.
In other words, in the absence of civil rights, those individuals who aren’t members of such protected groups receive “special treatment”, whether they realize it or not. By whittling away at civil rights and excluding members of marginalized groups from accessing civil rights, it’s they who receive “special treatment.”
It’s essential that members of marginalized groups learn to read code and hear dog whistles. Otherwise, they’ll find themselves similarly situated to three legged dogs in animal shelters hoping to be adopted. While they may not need to worry about the comparison to those three legged dogs who may ultimately be euthanized, “social conservatives” are whittling away at long established safety nets and “entitlement” programs. At some point, the end result is virtually the same.
Marginalized groups did not receive civil rights because they somehow wielded power although they were marginalized and in the minority. They received those civil rights from politicians, judges and justices who weren’t members of those marginalized groups as a result of what’s known as empathy. The reason why politicians, judges and justices who aren’t members of those marginalized groups are now actively stripping away those civil rights and working diligently to preclude other marginalized groups from accessing such rights is the result of a lack of empathy. And, the voters who elect such people to public office to accomplish such things do so as a result of a lack of empathy.
While the cause is simple to assess, the solution is far from simple.