SocraticGadfly: No, antivaxxerism is not INHERENTLY racist

July 21, 2021

No, antivaxxerism is not INHERENTLY racist

The key to the phrase above is in the capitalized word. Paula Larsson, as a graduate philosophy student at Oxford, should be ashamed for writing a piece claiming that it is inherently so, as she should know the extra burden of proof involved in claiming that any social idea, group or movement is INHERENTLY "X." 

The Conversation should be ashamed for running this.

People like Juan Cole should be ashamed for spreading this.

None of them, of course, WILL be.

The "inherently" claim is ultimately a structural claim. And, with that, I see the camel's nose of Critical Race Theory — and its misuse, overuse, stretched use and abuse. As an actual leftist, at least for America, and as one who's read one of the seminal texts of CRT, actually does know something about it, and sees both things to like and dislike about it, I can say this with a high degree of confidence.

To wit, I've actually read Eddie Glaude's Democracy in Black, who is on the edges of the movement, and Derrick Bell, a founder of the theory, whose Silent Covenants was a good introduction. 

I've also read many other books about how the concept of race was developed. And, blogged about the good, bad and ugly of CRT here.

And, Larsson's just not proven her claim AT ALL.

In fact, she's not proven that leading White antivaxxers like RFK Jr. and their organizations are NON-inherently (casually?) racist.

To take a counterexample? Some anti-abortion people target minorities in general and Blacks in particular, claiming abortion is genocide. Does that make them racist? Of course not. AND? It's built on the fact that Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist, among other things. Ditto for antivaxxer pitches to minorities; they're built on facts like the Tuskegee Airmen.

Does that mean they're not distorting facts? Of course they are, and so is Paula Larsson. I've heard many things hurled at RFK Jr., but inherently racist (if the movement is, then he is, as a leader, by default definition) is NOT one of them. As a public figure,  with the "actual malice" standard, there's no way the likes of him could win a lawsuit against Larsson, but, I feel that, ethically if not legally, she's skating on thin ice.

Basically, what we have here, as I see it, is an "own the wingnuts" form of tribalism. It's the same type of tribalism that ignores St. Anthony of Fauci's Platonic Noble Lies and refuses to even talk about the possibility of a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or that, at one time, we did indeed fund gain-of-function research there, or that St. Anthony can even be wrong at any time. (I may feel the urge to blog about this gain-of-function stuff, as it's yet another of St. Anthony's lies, this time done by trying to redefine the most commonly accepted definition of the phrase.)

In other words? #BlueAnon tribalism. Cole's a definite #BlueAnon tribalist. Larsson's Canadian, so we call her the Canadian fellow-traveler or equivalent of BlueAnon.

And, in most these cases, and definitely this one? It's a self-own, at least for us who strive not to be tribalists and who actually engage in critical thinking. Other than that, all it does is increase tribalism and give fuel to wingnuts attacking CRT. Or to wingnuts attacking #BlueAnon over ideas like this.

No comments: