As this is my first post for the Trad Youth blog, I’d like to say a few things about my connection to the TYN. I am a student at Indiana University where we have an active group of students who align with traditionalist values. I have been a member for a few months now and wanted to address the opposition to our group on campus.
The people that oppose us come in many kinds and many of them claim to be anti-hate, anti-intolerance, and anti-fascist. First off, I can say with confidence that the TYN is not a group that promotes hate or intolerance. By many people’s definitions, traditionalism is not a fascist philosophy either, but I will get to that in my next post. These opposers profess diversity, love and freedom. Now, you may read these things and be thinking to yourself, “Hey, these sound like pretty good things. What harm could they be doing?” Well, love, freedom and diversity ARE great things. The only problem is that the groups that oppose Trad Youth have picked the wrong enemy.
During the past several weeks, we have embarked on a chalking campaign on campus to raise awareness for our group. This was a source of quite a bit of hostility. Someone even started a petition on change.org demanding that we be removed from the list of official student groups at IU. The petition boasts a whopping two signatures and promotes acceptance of all races, sexual orientations and photo editing abilities. Students Against Intolerance popped up on Facebook this month and had a similar goal of banishing Trad Youth from the IU campus, but has moved to the broader battle of fighting intolerance. While this is where the greatest followings of people can be seen, they offer little in terms of action or dialogue.
The ones who resist TYN the most verbally are the mobs that flock during activism such as painting the bridges on Jordan Ave. For those who don’t know, the two concrete bridges are the only place students are permitted to spray paint on campus. I have never been involved in one of these confrontations, but I have followed these events with some interest and have found that the language that they throw around is humorous, yet also touches some really important subjects.
While confronting us on campus, Anti-Trads called us racists and “crypto-fascists”. They said we were committing things called “microaggressions”. These words may have seemingly obvious meanings, but others are more cryptic (no pun intended) to the common ear.
This is a weird topic and is a term that has become a heated topic in recent years. The term “microaggression” is used to describe a particular kind of seemingly harmless racism (or sexism or any type of discrimination for that matter). I can tell from personal experience that they do exist; if I had a penny for every time I’ve been asked, “Where are you really from?” I’d have enough money for a plane ticket to Korea (the desired answer), a country I’ve never set foot in. It sounds like a small issue, and the individual faux pas generally is. Just go to microaggressions.com to see how feeble these remarks tend to be. However, the real issue that people (of no race in particular) face is the shear volume of these aggressions that one might experience in their lifetime.
This article is not for me to complain about these microaggressions. Just do a quick Google search to find multiple websites where people complain about the “injustices” done to them. What I’d like to address is the relationship of Trad Youth to the microaggression. We do discuss the ideas of race in this group. There may even be a sentiment for racial separation, which may be the only way to effectually end the phenomenon of the racial microaggression. So if the TYN is not committing these aggressions, then you may be wondering why someone would accuse them of such. To answer this question, we must analyze another term.
Okay, racism has been a hot topic for the better part of the last century. The idea of race has probably been around longer than civilization itself. In America, a nation built on equality and freedom, we have tackled the concept of race in a way that no other country has. Americans have this unique experience with race because there is so much diversity in this country. Projections show that during the next three decades, America will become a plurality nation. With this greater racial “consciousness” comes a deeper sensitivity to racism and racial disparity.
So what is a racist? According to Merriam-Webster, racism is a “belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” It follows that a racist is someone that subscribes to these beliefs. Since TYN is not a supremacist organization, we cannot be racist according to this definition. This definition may not be sufficient though. Racism is not always the belief that a particular race is superior. Racism can be an acknowledgement of racial difference. Sometimes acknowledgement isn’t even necessary. Someone once told me that anyone who engages in the “system” is a racist. As I interpreted it, they were referring to the general benefits/disadvantages that certain groups of people experience in the workplace or other everyday settings.
The problem that one must confront is that everyone is a racist. Whether consciously or subconsciously, everyone that experiences race experiences racism. And because racism is such a bad thing (I say this with all sincerity, as anyone that has taken high school history would), it is only natural for the public to need a scapegoat. What is happening when people call TYN racist, is they are using to blame so that they don’t have to look at their own racist tendencies. This brings me back to microaggressions. What do people do when they try and point out a racist, but that “racist” is amicable and probably not guilty of anything worse than anyone else? You use a term that means “racism that doesn’t really hurt that bad”: microaggressor.
Are Anti-Trads using this term correctly? Probably not. Will they continue to use words they don’t understand? Maybe so. What you’ll find is that when you get people riled up enough, they’ll begin to sling words that don’t really mean anything. Stay tuned for my post about the use of “crypto-fascist” as the hip new insult.