Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Where — and why — Erick Erickson misses the boat

Some of the howls of rage concerning what some have referred to as a miscarriage of justice in the Philando Castile case, during which a police officer shot him to death but found innocent of murder, have come from unlikely places. One of those came from activist Erick Erickson, who on the blog “The Resurgent” went through a litany of examples of what might be called “microaggressions” that social-justice warriors would have applauded.

But the most jarring part of his piece was this bit of naïveté: “But I am a conservative and I oppose judging any person based on a group. Each man is entitled to his own dignity, not the dignity he gets by virtue of being a part of some group. To think otherwise is not conservative.”

It’s naïve because everyone belongs to some “group” — and yes, I mean everyone. In fact, we all belong to several groups, whether racial, ethnic or cultural and all with some kind of history (which often includes some social injustice in which the wounds have yet to heal). I have to admit that I didn’t appreciate that myself until I was a teen because I’ve been crossing racial and cultural lines since I was 6.

And it’s that history that Erickson ignores. Indeed, the vast majority of Americans have ancestors who emigrated from other countries and in many cases, especially in major cities, have kept those respective heritages alive.

Of course, when you don’t acknowledge someone’s heritage you don’t get an idea of his or her thought process, which might differ from yours — which is why we’ve needed a “diversity” movement in the first place but that, I suspect, Erickson fears. In other words, the basic message is that “We don’t want or intend to change our views,” which is a major issue.

During my first year of college I read an article in the now-defunct HIS magazine, published by the Christian missions-focused ministry InterVarsity. The article’s subject was racial and cultural diversity in South Africa, and one white South African student was quoted as saying, “You must have your own culture — and love the other one, too.” I didn’t appreciate it at the time but certainly do today, and I hope Erickson gets that someday.

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