On one of the bloodiest weekends in recent American history, a reported white supremacist gunman took 20 lives in an El Paso Wal-Mart. Only 13 hours later, a reported Antifa sympathizer in Dayton, Ohio killed his sister and her boyfriend as well as seven others at a popular nightspot, though his personal motivation is still unclear. These two young men who seemingly followed opposing ideologies both saw mass violence and death as the solution.
This kind of violence doesn’t stem from either an exclusively left or right perspective, but from an undercurrent of tribalism in our society that can cause young people to feel worthless and hopeless. When people feel isolated, they reach out desperately for somewhere to belong.
Over the same weekend as this numbing violence, the young socialists of America gathered in Atlanta for an annual convention. They bickerered about the gendered use of the word “guys” and how clapping is too triggering and must be replaced by jazz hands. The live streams for the four-day event are a tragicomic, yet stunningly accurate depiction of the self-parody that has become the American left. These ideologues are eating themselves alive, while completely ignoring the effect their divisive language is having on society at large.
However, divisive language is not the sole purview of the left. The right has its fair share of alienating talking points. Fox News anchors miss the mark when they spout off about the dangerous video games pose in radicalizing those like the young El Paso gunman. Xenophobic, identitarian, anti-immigration language doesn’t help either. It’s almost as if there are bad actors on both sides.
While the left blames “white supremacy” for the problem, and the right thinks that a permissive culture that advocates for violence is at fault, often refusing to acknowledge the problem of white supremacists, neither is looking at the issues that are truly tearing us apart. At the root of both the vile scourge of actual white supremacists and the fevered Antifa activist’s dream that everyone who disagrees with them is a white supremacist is the desire to categoize and group people. To put it more simply—identity politics.
Tribalism is a substantial threat to the peaceful fabric of North American life. It leads to censorship, panic, and conspiratorial thinking. We have abandoned our commonality in favour of elucidating and entrenching our differences. We point fingers and otherize, telling those different from us exactly why those differences make whatever our group is better than whatever their group is. When we box and package ourselves, we make it easier to be divided. We assemble according to shared characteristics, and bond over how different our group is from other groups. It isn’t long before groups take pride in those aspects of self that they all share, and it isn’t long after that pride in shared characteristics within the group morph into feelings of group superiority over others.
White supremacists subscribe to identity politics. They use the prevalence of cultural tribalism to be culturally tribal themselves. The left uses identity politics to unify the members of a group, and then to ascertain, identify, or invent commonalities among groups of groups. This is why the left has the appearance of being comprised of groups of groups, while the right appears to be a solid voting block. Media ideologues vie for control of the narrative, pitting labels of white supremacy against armchair diagnoses of mental illness while real life bodies pile up.
People who murder innocents do it for the same purpose: to terrorize a community and instill fear. That’s what these men were doing. Despite reasons given, whether the manifesto of the El Paso shooter, or whatever reasons we may never know from the Dayton shooter, they picked up weapons with the intent of mass murder because they felt this was the only way to assert power. It goes without saying that these were horrible, terrorist acts. But the fact is that they keep happening, with young people radicalizing on both the right and the left.
Is it likely that a boorish, politically incorrect president or hyper-realistic video games or heavy metal music (to invoke a previous social panic) are to blame for the violence of young rebels without a legitimate cause? It seems more likely that the identity politics that dictates ideological safety and group identity as more important than individual freedom and equality under the law has played a major factor.
Identity politics on the left and the right has become so insidious that people of all races, genders, orientations, and religions are afraid to find commonality. We know culture is polarized, but doesn’t have to be that way between individuals.
When people receive the message from culture at large that they’re worthless, whether for reasons of race, immigration status, or gender, how do we expect them to react? Are they just supposed to take it?
While pundits and pontificators have been quick to blame the recent violence on everything from gun laws to Trump to video games, the lowest of the low have used the recent tragedies as cudgels in order to score cheap political points. Violent tragedies like this predate any of the supposed causes that the talking heads put forward.
Every time this happens the response is the same. Calls for things to change, for gun control, more mental health education or access to care, impeaching Trump, twirl on, media. At the memorial for the victims in Dayton, the crowd chanted “do something!” That is a desperate call. What no one says is that this is definitely going to happen again.
We could clamp down on everything, but until young people feel valued by a society that seems more willing to throw them under the bus, this problem of radicalized, ostracized youth will keep getting worse.
We need to face facts. Mass violence has been around longer than Donald Trump, video games, rock music, guns, and all of the other purported causes. But the one thing that’s been around as long as mass violence is tribalism. And let’s be loud and clear about it: identity politics is tribalism. We need to understand that our differences do not make us better or worse than anyone else. If we want to live in a safer and more civil society, tribalism, on the left and right, needs to end.
Yet another woke record store has decided to ban British pop icon Morrissey from its shelves. This time, the Glasgow Evening Times reports that Glasgow’s “Monorail Music said it would continue to sell records by the Smiths but ‘like many of our colleagues’ would not be selling the singer’s 13th studio album, ‘I am not a dog on a chain.’”
This follows last year’s indie music store ban on Morrissey’s last album, “California Son.” Cardiff’s Spillers, which calls itself “the oldest record shop in the world,” declined to carry the record in retaliation for Morrissey’s political views. These views include support for Brexit, saying that the word “racist” is meaningless because it’s used so liberally, and that crime in London cannot be properly dealt with if the perpetrators are viewed as victims.
Morrissey responded to the last round of smears and bans by saying, “I straighten up, and my position is one of hope. The march backwards is over, and life has begun again. With voice extended to breaking point, I call for the prosperity of free speech; the eradication of totalitarian control; I call for diversity of opinion; I call for the total abolition of the abattoir; I call for peace, above all; I call for civil society; I call for a so-far unknowable end to brutalities; ‘No’ to Soviet Britain.”
Of course, the bans and smears don’t work. These kinds of actions will not stop Morrissey’s fans from buying the new album. The Guardian has consistently tried to smear Morrissey, and in response, Morrissey wore a t-shirt reading “Fuck The Guardian.” Fans know that Morrissey being able to speak his mind means that they are free to speak theirs, to hold opposing views, and to still listen to the new tracks Morrissey releases with consistent quality year after year.
Bookshops and record stores are not required to carry anything that they don’t wish to, obviously, but there is something sinister in the refusal to carry selections by such a popular, long-standing pop star, whose music on last year’s “California Son” was not political, and who lifts other artists through collaboration, simply because he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Writer Fiona Dodwell responded to the ridiculous ban by tweeting: “How about businesses stock and store products and let customers choose what they want? This achieves nothing, Morrissey will still sell albums—with or without your company “banning” his records. People simply go elsewhere (and learn where NOT to shop next time!)”
How many pop stars have heterodox views but don’t say them out of fear of retaliation? Probably plenty, they just don’t say it, because they don’t want their work to suffer the same fate of being banned by distributors.
Morrissey has made his entire career out of being an iconoclast who “will not change and will not be nice.” So much the better for his fans, who strive to lead lives according to their own value systems, and not those imposed by a hypocritical society hell-bent on squashing free thought and individuality while claiming to uphold those very qualities they persistently deride.
When the new album drops on March 20, it will be interesting to see which other shops signal their virtue by refusing to carry it, and which ones instead cater to consumers and offer it for sale. Not carrying “I am not a dog on a chain” has more to do with the owner’s false sense of righteousness than punishing Morrissey. Time and time again, Morrissey has shown that he can’t be shelved and forgotten. His work is too essential and beautiful for that.
Notorious trans rights activist and alleged child sex predator Jessica Yaniv has made yet another dubious claim. This time, Yaniv has accused The Post Millennial’s Amy Eileen Hamm of sexual assault.
In a post to Twitter late Wednesday night, Yaniv accused Hamm of misconduct at a British Columbia courthouse. The misconduct would have taken place while Yaniv was appearing in court on weapons charges.
In the tweet, Yaniv also accuses the B.C. Provincial Court, the B.C. Sheriff’s department, and the B.C. RCMP of doing “nothing” about the assault.
“They are investigating that, but put that BITCH behind bars,” tweeted Yaniv. “She HURTS PEOPLE and the #LGBTQ Yes I am furious.”
Yaniv falsely accused Hamm of photographing her in the women’s washroom during a recess in her recent court appearance—an accusation that the authorities on the scene were quick to dismiss.
The weapons charges stem from a livestream with YouTuber and TPM columnist Blaire White where Yaniv was attempting to clear her name of allegations against her for sexual misconduct with minors and ended up brandishing illegal weapons.
The Post Millennial reached out to Hamm, who said,“During court recess, I entered the women’s washroom and saw JY standing in the common area. I immediately backed out of the room, fearing for my own safety and not wanting to be confined in a small room with this person.”
This latest false allegation comes only days after a video of Yaniv actually assaulting reporter Keean Bexte went viral on Twitter.
Yaniv rose to prominence after filing 16 human rights complains with the provincial human rights tribunal wherein she accused numerous salons and salon workers of transphobia for their reluctance and eventual refusal to wax Yaniv’s male genitalia.
All salons that Yaniv accused of transphobia had specifically told Yaniv that they only provided their service to female genitalia. At the time of the waxing conundrum, Yaniv was still using her given male name on social media, which could have caused all the more confusion for the estheticians
Navigating dating and being transgender is something that most people tend to find difficulty with. The media has imprinted in our minds the caricature of the very “obvious” trans person who you probably recognize quickly at a dinner date may not have been born the gender they’re presenting as, but what happens when trans people have reached the point of “passability”? Is it their responsibility to disclose their trans status to their date? If so, when is the right and wrong time? How serious is it? Let’s break it down.
I’m transgender myself, but I’ve also been a public figure online throughout my entire transition. Because of that, I thankfully have never gone into a date or relationship with it as a secret—how could I? One Google search spills all my beans! However, I’ve witnessed a huge amount of trans people within the community completely mishandle love, sex, and their trans status. Make no mistake—it is absolutely deceptive to lie or omit your biological sex to your romantic partner.
As far as sex goes, you absolutely must disclose that you are transgender before being intimate with someone. Get it out of the way! It is your partner’s right to know that sort of history before proceeding with anything physical. Far too many trans people, particularly trans women, have experienced beatings or even murder for the age-old cliché of “tricking” a man and having sex with him. You should be prioritizing not only honesty for your partner’s sex but for your own safety. Anything can happen in the heat of the moment, and the harsh reality is that not everyone wants to have sex with a trans person. Even someone of the folks that do want to have sex with a trans person may still be struggling with their attraction and lash out. It’s not about victim shaming, either- it’s about avoiding this danger altogether.
Of course, there’s nuance as well. A simple, wholesome dinner date isn’t the same as sex. Many trans people struggle with the right moment to disclose their history. Should it be on the first date? The second? The third? Here’s my opinion—honesty is always the best policy.
It’s in the best interest of you and your date to tell them before you even sit down and meet. This has become increasingly easy with the rise of online dating. Put it in your bio or send it as a text from the safety of your own home! You should want to weed out the people who wouldn’t be interested in dating a trans person in the first place. Any type of relationship, whether it’s romantic or even a friendship, is built upon honesty. If you go into a situation with someone with secrets at the very beginning, you’re dooming the relationship.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and get away with not disclosing your history at the beginning, but maybe you’re setting yourself up for a dangerous situation that could have been avoided had you just told your truth. Remember that!
Students can now get paid to snitch on their peers at the University of Sheffield. The students will earn £9.34/hour to be “race equality champions,” and their training for the work will include teaching them how to “lead healthy conversations” on racism, microaggressions, and how to deal with those peers who commit infractions. Hours range from two to nine hours per week, like any part-time work-study job. But Sheffield University’s foray into “snitch culture” sounds alarm bells.
Following a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission that cautioned about the “common occurrence” of racism for some students on campus, the University decided to combat the problem by weaponizing other students. Twenty, lucky kids will get this job, and it’s probable that plenty more would have done it for free, as have their authoritarian forebears.
This new job, such as it is, is rightfully being hailed as completely authoritarian and crazy. Anyone who has studied 20th-century history knows that the worst dictators and totalitarians of that era counted on citizens to report on one another, under threat of punishment if they did not.
Citizens in the Soviet Union, Germany, China, Spain, and other nations with brutal, paranoid leaders impressed upon their citizens how important it was that they rat out their friends, family, and co-workers.
Now that trend has some to the ultimate allied nation, the U.K. The students who take these jobs will undoubtedly think they are doing the right thing in carrying out their duties. But in trying to overcome racism, they are dividing them further.
Part of the job description is for students to call out their peers for microaggressions.
If a fellow student says to another “Stop making everything a race issue,” that’s considered a microaggression and is a reason for reporting under this new plan. If a student says “Why are you searching for things to be offended about?” That’s considered “not okay,” and that peer must be punished. The question “Where are you really from?” is apparently out of bounds, and other geographical infractions like “I don’t want to hear about your holiday to South Africa. It’s nowhere near where I’m from” is a reason to call out a kid for being racist.
Students complained about the microaggression of “Being compared to black celebrities that I look nothing like,” which would be pretty annoying for the kid who got that wrong, but is it a reason to be reported?
The University of Sheffield claims that they are just “opening up a conversation” by paying students “to help their peers understand racism and its impact.” In 2018, the University suffered some racially motivated incidents, with racial slurs found written on a whiteboard, and slurs yelled at games.
Of course, there’s no place for racism on campuses, but the way to root it out is through education and conversation, not monetized McCarthyism. Call-out culture, snitch culture, and the reframing of the conversation around how to control our thoughts does not alleviate racism; it buries it where it can fester.
Fighting racism is a positive project, but it’s not done through dividing us, through pitting peers against each other, but through a culture of egalitarianism and equality. Knowing that we are different is not as important as recognizing all the ways in which we are the same.