The Vision

Lewis: ‘Civility’ in Politics is White Privilege

Timothy Lewis, Opinions Editor

As the current hurricane of American politics continues to strengthen, you will often find people on both sides of the two mainstream American parties crying for “civility” and to “coexist.” Civility is, in short, a convenient buzzword that allows (usually white) liberals and conservatives to shut down political discussion that makes them uncomfortable.  After all, what Republican politician wants to hear about how their party and reputation are sinking faster than the Titanic?  What Democrat wants to hear how they serve corporate interests just as much as the Republicans, and do nothing to actually help the working class?

It’s not like I blame these groups for trying to silence uncomfortable discussion – we’ve all cringed when we hear something that makes us feel guilty – however, that is obviously absolutely no excuse to shut up about relevant politics.  “Civility” gets us nowhere when failing to act gets people killed.  If we discussed the rising tide of right-wing vitriol and antisemitism in America, maybe the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting would still be alive.  If we had earnest discussion about race relations in America and how the justice system discriminates against people of color, maybe the Keebler elf in charge of it would be out of a job.  If we talked about the continued American wars in the Middle East, perhaps people would see that every president – including fan favorites like Barack Obama – have committed heinous war crimes in the Middle East in order to further corporate interests.

Crying crocodile tears about the need for “civility” is also a way to keep the Overton window of politics towards the right.  Left-wing politics are met with extreme hostility, while far-right ideas and their proponents are praised by the President of the United States himself.  The most left mainstream American politician is Bernie Sanders, who is a solid centrist, and whose ideas were ignorantly ridiculed and decried as being “communist” and “dictatorial.”  Meanwhile, when white nationalists like Richard Spencer get beaten up in the street, white liberals cry about how his free speech rights are being infringed.  This is exactly why I claim that civility is a white privilege – white liberals and conservatives have no stake in politics.  They aren’t people of color, who face the risk of being shot by police officers are traffic stops for no justifiable reason.  They usually aren’t members of the LGBT+ community, who face continued refusals of service, bathroom bills, and the occasional horrific murder.  What kind of discrimination does a white conservative or white liberal face?  Absolutely zero, which is the same level of interest 99% of them maintain in politics.

 

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About the Writer
Timothy Lewis, Opinions Editor

Hiya, I'm Timothy Lewis, Opinions Editor at The Vision. Some hobbies of mine include knitting, reading, chemistry, and studying medicine. Sleeping is also...

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