1619 project

DemoCats and Other Radical Creatures

Photo Credit: Image by mjimages from Pixabay

Lately, it’s been getting crowded in my house or at least it seems like it. At first, it was just me and the fourth First Lady. Then, and almost without fanfare, I noticed that an alter-ego had arrived. Not too inconvenient, but he (for those of you who care, Mr. Narrator’s pronouns remain officially undeclared) did impinge upon my time and was seen to be taking up space in the landscape of my thoughts. Okay, still a livable arrangement and the fourth first doesn’t seem to mind. But ‘it’ eventually happened. After a  year of two of skirting the issue, the fourth first popped the question: “Since your allergies are under control, can we get a cat? All Russian households, at least ‘real’ Russian households, have a cat.”

Panic. Last time I checked the atlas (for you younger readers, it’s a book of maps – not a god or a bodybuilder), Arizona isn’t anywhere close to Russia. Okay, we’re not a Russian household but the fourth first lady is Russian and that trumps all other geographical arguments. (Did I mention that Russians tend to be somewhat intransigent personalities?)

Renewed panic. If forced to declare a preference, I am a dog person. Conservatives are dog people. How do I know? Dogs are loyal, affectionate, smart (sometimes) and (mostly) reliable. Some of them are even classified as ‘working’ dogs, dogs that can even carry alcohol in kegs under their chins. How much more ‘conservative’ can you get?

Cats, ugh. Cats are the animals of the 1%. The ones with which I am familiar have been distant, dispassionate, aloof, elite, distrusting, self-interested, the kind of animal that never gives back, a creature that only takes …

Mr. Narrator (interrupts):  “Richard Edward, stop. You are denigrating an entire species of animal. It’s unfair and unsubstantiated, too. Additionally, you are anthropomorphizing, painting an entire species of animal with the broad brush of ‘identify’ classification. Don’t you realize how racist, how divisive and polarizing that kind of process appears?”

Richard Edward: “Mr. Narrator, wait, wait.  Zoologists always use the classification system when talking about animals. That’s what I learned in school. It is how we can discuss wonderful animals in general and then those other animals, like cats, in particular.”

Mr. Narrator: (sighs) “Richard Edward, you are so ‘not woke’. Critical Race Theory teaches us that everything you learned in school, every value you were taught to respect, everything in your everyday life is simply based in white privilege and formulated to support white supremacy. You think dogs are okay and cats are so-so? Racist! Why is the love of dogs racist? Dogs were used to hunt down escaped slaves. See, I am sure that’s why you like dogs. On the other hand, cats have independent attitudes, are owned by no one. Cats exhibit the ultimate anti-slavery, anti-racist animal attitude. Your white supremist attitude is really why you don’t like cats.”

“Your assignment of negative, humanlike traits to cats is nothing more than your effort to marginalize a noble species. You are so mired in white privilege that you cannot see beyond your white schooling and the old, white-designed scientific methods, promulgated by dead, white-guys with science degrees.”

Mr. Narrator is considerably younger than I and his school experience more recent. I’ll have to take his word that what is being taught in schools is quite different than my old curriculum. How in the blazes did this newfangled thinking get introduced into our culture and quite honestly, who is crazy enough to believe it?

Then it dawns on me. This is simply an extension of what I’ve been reading about in the news. White privilege is everywhere and it’s responsible for everything that is wrong.

Of course, with power like that, why wouldn’t CRT be used for framing our daily experience? Got to go to the doctor? Don’t worry about making an appointment. You will be seen, not in the order of your arrival at the office but based upon your race. My colleague Elizabeth Vaughn has written about the proposed new medical triage process.

Think its only happening here? If you are white, just try to get a vaccine appointment in the city of Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. Maybe that trip across the border needs to be delayed.

The new-think of CRT demands that white, privileged people remember their place at all times and in all circumstances. Don’t believe me?

Take sports (yes, please take them, especially football). The NFL, where the top four highest paid players (quarterbacks) are black, is now racist, according to some sport analyst. Why? Maybe white quarterback prospects are being scouted and drafted ahead of players of color because of the racist owners and team management. Really?

Race is certainly taken front and center stage in what’s left of the mind of the President of the United States, resulting in his comments about equity in the administration of COVID vaccines between white seniors of those seniors of color. Not to be outdone in the vaccine race (pun intended), the President is pushing for grants, through his department of education, that would fund the teaching of CRT in American schools. As reported by Fox news:

The rule would funnel federal grant money to help schools teach the New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project by controversial essayist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Boston University Director of the Center for Anti-Racist Research Director Ibram Kendi’s book, How to Be an Anti-Racist into K-12 school curriculums.

Wow, identify politics and race has seeped into the very fabric of our lives.

Mr. Narrator: “Be careful Richard Edward, you just made another racist reference; ‘cotton’, the material that commercially used to be known as the ‘fabric’ of our lives.  Remember who used to pick that cotton, Richard Edward. Now do you see how complete CRT can be? All you have to do is submit to seeing everything through the lens of race and assume that anything you know or understand is evil, and you really don’t have to go to school to learn this, all you need is attitude.”

Richard Edward: “Mr. Narrator, how do we unwind this? I know in my knower that the values I was taught are not bad, that my commitment to view people’s character instead of the skin color is the proper way to treat my fellow human beings. We’ve got to stop this crazy indoctrination.”

Mr. Narrator: “I am glad you asked Richard Edward. Once again, your editor and colleague Ms. Elizabeth is out in front on this. We are finally seeing a sane politician and geo-political entity pushing back on having this nonsense taught in our communities. You won’t be surprised or disappointed that it’s a red state. Who knows, maybe some other bastions of rational thought won’t be far behind once they see how Idaho fares. (Arizona, Governor Ducey, looking at you).

Richard Edward: “I hope the law passes Mr. Narrator. I want to see equality of opportunity in my beautiful America. I don’t like the radical actors in the U.S. pushing these irrational theories on everyone, trying to negate traditional conservative values, values of faith.”

So, as I sit back and ponder the sad state of race theory that’s undermining my beautiful America, the attack on my neighbors and fellow citizens by those who would divide and destroy based upon the insane radical theory of white supremacy and white privilege, I see from the corner of my eye my new cat walk by on her way to her food bowl, glancing disdainfully back at me from over her shoulder, slowly sauntering by my office, taking in the entirety of her new kingdom. Well, at least one of us in the house understands the concept of privilege.

If you think that the ideas of white supremacy, white privilege, CRT and other race-based politics are causing an American Crisis, please leave me a comment.

—  Richard Edward Tracy

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