What’s in a Name?
Sometimes, social cleavage, anti-diversity, and other assaults on wokeness.
by Joe & Faye King – October 6, 2020
(Joe and Faye have been touring the country for decades in their motor home, playing gigs at traditional fairs and festivals. Their much loved act combines comedy, illusions, and homespun wisdom. Between gigs, they keep themselves occupied researching and writing up their thoughts.)
A famous old white guy once said: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That’s pretty good stuff; he should have tried writing as a profession.
There are all kinds of names. The most basic is the “birth name” we normally use as our first name….names like William, Mary, Gustav, Charles, and thousands of others. Then there are pet names like Rufus, Bowser, Snoopy and such. While you may be able to find a book somewhere that lists the “meaning” of each of these names, seldom do we couple that meaning to the giving of that name and it’s use in our lives. A name is a name is a name; sometimes nicknames apply. (Except for those who embrace the social justice fad of going by their “lived names.”)
Another type of name is that of a business or organization. Sometimes the name is descriptive; for example, ACE Hardware, or Whole Foods. You see the name, and you know what they do. Other times, the names are kind of cryptic, with the reality of what they do limited to those with whom they do business, or those who have learned of them through long history and public knowledge. These companies and/or organizations seem like they could care less whether the sign in front of their facility gives any “drive-by” clue as to what they do. Names like Sweetser; Unum; WEX; and Spurwink.
Then there are those entities whose name is a declaration – more of a proclamation or assertion of what they stand for. Take Planned Parenthood, for example. Those familiar with this national enterprise know that the last thing they do is encourage Parenthood or help you “plan” it. In fact, their most commonly known service is help in “un-planning” parenthood after the client has screwed up at doing it on their own. One could say that the group is named in a way calculated to deceive the general public, with little shame or remorse for doing so, or how they derive their revenue.
A more prominent and rising organization whose name is a proclamation intended to evoke an immediate sympathetic response is “Black Lives Matter,” along with their numerous chapters and sub-organizations. In our travels here and there across this land, we see their yard signs and banners everywhere, including on some Churches. Having studied the organization and what they believe, what they stand for, and what they “demand,” we are confident that the vast majority of those displaying these signs and banners have done so out of a good heart but with an utter lack of awareness.
Spend an hour or two on their web site, followed by perusing articles describing their founders, origins, and activities, and you’ll see why we say those posting their “proclamation” have been deluded into providing free advertising for an underlying “cause” they likely don’t support. Remind yourself of the rioting and looting and other destructive chaos going on across our country for months now. And their marching chants, like “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!”
Need we say more? The fact is, “Black Lives Matter” has pulled the wool over the eyes of the social justice warriors on the left, who blindly help them promote the cause and raise funds. Aging lefties and retired activists flock to the latest “movement” for one more chance to “change the world.”
The “Woke” culture, and the Social Justice Warriors being churned out in our public schools and public and private institutions of higher learning for decades now, have been reconstructing common language to celebrate their grievances and demands. They’ve been supported in this endeavor by the larger attitude formation segment of our society, led by news media, entertainment, sports, and especially academia, among many others….including government.
One such “social construct” is “othering.” Othering, as we understood it, is when an individual or group makes you (your identity group, to be more precise) feel marginalized. In fact, it is now a core concept of, wouldn’t you just know it, an emerging institutional specialty. UC Berkeley plays a leadership role:
Bless their little hearts, they’ve even coined a new use for the word cleavage; we needed that. You can find more on this subject here: http://www.otheringandbelonging.org/about/
It’s obvious that the proclamation “Black Lives Matter” is clear, profound othering on a global scale. In the U.S. alone, it “others” 87% of our population. Globally, it creates a social cleavage of a staggering scale. World population is 7.8 billion, and if the Black cohort is similar to that in the US, 6.8 billion of the population has been intentionally marginalized by BLM.
Similarly, it’s impossible to avoid the drumbeat of “diversity and inclusiveness” in America today, and presumably everywhere else. You may be having it imposed in your workplace, school, and college training. In this context, Black Lives Matter as an assertion (as compared to All Lives Matter) is exclusionary, and a direct, grand assault on the woke notion of inclusiveness. It is as well, a backhanded slap at diversity, since it glorifies racial uniformity.
So it’s plain as day: “Black Lives Matter” is the epitome of othering; it argues for identity group cohesion, the very opposite of diversity. It is the antithesis of the “racial integration” goal of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. What would Martin Luther King, the recently departed John Lewis, and so many other giants of that decades long struggle say now?
Once the submissive masses realize the extent to which they have been cleaved, we expect personal accusations of triggering, threatening, and micro-aggression to multiply exponentially. Local officials, social welfare agencies, and mental health services will be swamped with demands for help. Which will no doubt lead to increases in substance and alcohol consumption and domestic abuse. College students will find themselves even less able to cope then before, and engage in indiscriminate hook-ups at record levels, increasing the spread of social diseases, including Covid 19.
It’s not only Black Lives Matter who will drive this pandemic of othering victims. The national pastimes of football, basketball, baseball, and hockey (among others) have decided to go all in on public displays opposing diversity and inclusion, heightening the sense of cleavage between the elites of those sports and the others in their potential fan base. Other cultural institutions of every sort have blindly jumped into the parade, because, well, many of our countrymen will follow anything that marches. The numbers are so vast as to elevate one-on-one level micro-aggression to societal macro-aggression.
So, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and all the rest, don’t you think it’s time you stop ‘othering’ the rest of America and the world, and stand down on your opposition to diversity and inclusion?
Sadly, we’ve got to take this one step further, and we can summarize our point with a new sign that would replace the omni-present one.
It looks like this:
BLM Believes That SOME Black Lives Matter; OTHER Black Lives Don’t
Why do we say this? Because a review of BLM and BLM related web pages, and their public pronouncements, demonstrations, and riots, make it clear. Their entire approach to stirring up public support and agitation is based on one affront to their sensibilities: the killing of a black person by a law enforcement officer. Those are the SOME black lives that matter, they receive tribute and mention in their organizational materials, and in the signs and shouts and demands of their “peaceful protesters.” You know, the ones that assault others while they dine outdoors, and demand they “say her name” or “say his name,” or drink your drink, or otherwise try to pluck your magic twanger.
The OTHER black lives that don’t matter include the following; they receive no tribute or mention or marches or shouts or related demands. Instead, they get implied disrespect.
- Murdered/injured black law enforcement officers
- Injured black business owners
- Black business owners whose livelihood is destroyed by rioters and looters and burners
- Blacks killed by other blacks in street gang warfare, including children
- Blacks shot week after week by other blacks in major cities
- Blacks denied a good education by opponents to school choice
- Innocent black lives taken by abortion
- Black families struggling without fathers
- Black lives ruined by drug dealers and others who only see them as easy marks
- Black lives ignored by politicians keeping them on virtual plantations
- Then, of course, there’s all the “other than black” lives taken by blacks; none of their lives matter
Let’s not forget the “street art,” previously known as vandalism, that now adorns the major downtown thorofares of our cities, and will be there for who knows how long? Even our so called “elected leaders” join in the public “othering,” and seek adulation for doing so. Woe be to those who don’t maintain the “art” in pristine condition, even after salting and snow-plowing.
We’ll wrap things up with this passage from a recent article we read:
Only by knowing the correct translation can one avoid violence when speaking to “peaceful” rioters, “peaceful” vandals, and “peaceful” rapists. Only by understanding the correct interpretation can one begin to comprehend why the phrases “White Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter” cause such a sharp, violent reaction from the Leftist ersatz-revolutionaries. Indeed, in the language of the revolutionaries, “All Lives Matter” means “Anti-Communist Lives Matter” — which is very offensive and defiant for all Leftists.
(This is an excellent article, and if you have time please read it, including the comments.)
Now that we’ve finished our first draft, and are reviewing it with a glass of wine in hand, it occurs to us that we’ve told a sad tale of “what might have been.” Black Lives Matter could have been an organization dedicated to the uplifting of black families and lives by opposing all the pathologies that held them back. They could have stood up for really improving educational opportunities; for advocating for policies that strengthen black families and the nurturing of black children; and for leaders that focus on eliminating systemic crime and neighborhood decay. They could have joined in the effort to increase black employment and business ownership, instead of plundering businesses and neighborhoods that are vital to the day to day existence and tranquility of all lives.
In short, they could have embraced the principle that All Lives Should Matter in America, and helped lead the effort to realize that ideal. They could have been a force for unity, instead of division and violence in the streets. They could have been a voice and a force for good, instead of discord, destruction, and chaos.
How sad, and ultimately, how detrimental to America’s future, that they are not.
For further reading, we recommend these: