Lena Dunham is a Plague, but so is Liberal Racism
Hunter Saylor

1] Why not simply state your objections to LD’s brand of “feminism” — noting how it ignores and/or trivializes the experiences of women of color — without equating her (i.e., defaming her) with a lethal, pandemic, contagious disease? You give her too much power.

Note: I found ‘Girls’ to be entertaining at times, cleverly written and directed, but ultimately tiring, mundane, silly, and (somehow) unsatisfying; I stopped watching it regularly in its first season. It is hardly a bastion of exemplary feminist thinking, “white” or otherwise.

2] In your next-to-last paragraph, you posit a false equivalency between the issue of Black and White Universities (the former being a necessary antidote to the institutional racism of the latter, among other reasons), and, your wondering “why I couldn’t be proud of my race but they could be proud of theirs.” But for historical amnesia, this is (tragically) misguided thinking; the implied meaning here is that Blacks can be proud of their culture (even while you completely miss the fact that there are many “black cultures” — as many as there are places where black folks originate or settle, forcibly or not) and then implicitly reject white people having “pride”in their cultures (note: this pride is properly NOT racial supremacy of any kind, racial supremacy is a societal sociopathy and phobia).

Strangely, you homogenize black culture, first to make a false equivalency (with the justness of Black Universities verses White ones) and secondly, to condemn/reject being proud of one’s “white culture” (question: do Irish people — historically oppressed by the Brits — get to feel pride? And, are we non-Irish appropriating this culture when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?).

Yes, Western Europeans established and perpetuated the modern, international/colonial slave trade. And yes, we should all be educated about this and collectively condemn it as a violation of fundamental human rights and a source of many societal evils (that still exist, in some form).

But blacks or other minorities have no sole claim to or justification for cultural pride. Perhaps this feeling persists because we liberals and progressives think that the ‘dominant” phenotype (white) is implicitly expressing its pride by being dominant (?), when in reality it is only asserting its privilege.

“White” people (the phenotypes collectively referred to as Caucasians) are also multi-cultural (e.g., consider the difference in expressed culture between Scandinavia (itself composed of several different cultures) and Italy. White people of many cultures can indeed feel pride in their culture’s art, science, engineering, music, and other contributions to global culture — while also acknowledging and atoning for their past sins and failings (not just slavery, but religious wars, ethnic cleansing, racial injustice/bigotry, brutality towards other peoples, etc.). These two things (pride and atonement) are not incompatible or mutually exclusive. After all, Caucasian people did not invent Slavery (a practice that was universal at the time — even throughout Africa; it just wasn’t scaled up and commercially globalized yet), nor the other “cultural sins” listed above.

3] Being told to just shut up and “listen” — an exhortation becoming rather pervasive lately (angry women to men, blacks to white academics) will surely NOT help one accomplish one’s goals (presumably, gender and racial equality, respectively); You don’t get to dictate the behavioral terms of the cultural dialogue no matter how aggrieved you are. But that assumes that black culture (especially its current crop of young, educated, and politically active members) WANTS a dialogue (which explicitly demands equality).

That said, I do agree that any such dialogue, to be fair, must begin with White people acknowledging their privilege.

Minority voices need to be listened to, and they need to listen back. That’s what keeps a multicultural society functioning. That’s how society avoids its potential civil conflicts. I am aware that that this is a simplistic rhetorical expression; real cultural dialogue takes real work, real effort; there will be setbacks and errors. But these are necessary for that arc of history to bend towards justice.

We ALL need to take turns listening, and valuing each other’s concerns and fears…and respecting each other…otherwise, we risk cultural backlashes and retrogressive political movements (such as white supremacy and Trumpism) and the tragedy of never learning from the past, never making any real “progress”.

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