The science argument is a two-edged sword

Every time I see a white liberal and a white conservative having an argument, inevitably the liberal will say something along the lines of, “Well, I believe in science!” If this is one of your go-tos, stop it.

You don’t believe in science. You believe in “science.” You talk like every time curiosity strikes you don your trusty lab coat and goggles, fire up the ol’ Bunsen burner and let your beakers do the talkin’! But in reality, right now you’re looking at a screen that for all intents and purposes as far as you’re concerned might as well purely be a function of magic.

Now, before we get too far, no, I’m not saying science isn’t real. This isn’t some kind of anti-vax/climate denial/woowoo bullshit. I’m just saying that you probably don’t know what science is. In fact, right now there’s a replication crisis happening, so not only do you not know what science is, science doesn’t even know what science is. That’s OK, though. You’re not supposed to. That’s the point of society. We all learn separate and different things for the shared benefit of the entire group. Ideally, anyway.

But I digress.

The point is that science isn’t so much The Truth as a weapon wielded in the name of The Truth. And while we all associate ourselves with groups we feel share our truths, power is the only thing that gets to define The Truth. For example, here are…

5 Perfectly Good Reasons Not to Believe in “Science”

1: Eugenics

Google defines eugenics as “the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.” I’m sure it’s possible to look at that definition and think that the key word is “science” but I’m pretty sure it’s “desirable” as in who thinks which characteristics are and why? In case you’re not familiar, eugenics was a big deal in America for a long time. In fact, it was such a big deal over here that Hitler heard about it from us! Then he committed genocide. Then he lost the war and we decided eugenics wasn’t such a good idea anymore. While this may seem somewhat irrelevant because it was such a long time ago, don’t worry! Our president is a believer in eugenics, so it’s a very contemporary concern.

2: Resurrection Men

Much of our medical knowledge came out of the study of corpses. Unfortunately, in the early days of this country not a lot of people were in a big hurry to donate their bodies to science. And so up rose the industry of body snatching! Steal a corpse out of a fresh grave, sell it to a university and walk away proudly knowing that you’d done your part for “science”! Just one thing: guess what color those snatched bodies usually were?

3: Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

The U.S. government deliberately experimented on Black men with syphilis in Macon County, Alabama from 1932-1972. That’s right, it went on for 40 years. It would’ve gone on longer except they got caught. For more details, you can read all about these men’s contribution to “science” on the actual CDC website.

4: Vertus Hardiman

Did you think the Tuskegee syphilis experiment was the only time Black people were experimented on by the U.S. government? If so, then you must never have heard of Vertus Hardiman. He lived to be 85, but in 1928 when he was just five years old, Vertus was one of 10 children who were the subjects of a radiation experiment. For his contribution Vertus’ head would be horribly scarred and a very real hole burned through his skull. “Science” knows no bounds when it comes to unethical human experimentation.

5: The AIDS Crisis

Think about our current climate crisis. Think about how Black and brown people have been suffering under the causes of our climate crisis for decades. Now think about how our conservative leadership laughs and balks at the very idea of science. At the edges, you can see belief starting to set in. You can see that once enough people or maybe just the right people start to feel the effects, leadership will start to take action. Now think about all of the people who soon will be or already are displaced or dead. Think about how many lives of marginalized people will be lost because of “science”? Think about all of that while you watch this horrifying Vanity Fair video on the Reagan administration’s shockingly cruel reaction to a different crisis effecting a marginalized people.

So, the next time you’re arguing with some conservative fool about climate change or whatever, don’t. Just don’t. It’ll save you, your time and your blood pressure. Just accept that there is a moral difference between the two of you that cannot be overcome by argument. But if you absolutely, positively just can’t seem to help yourself in any possible way, don’t weaponized your belief in “science.” It’s been weaponized enough.

If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

Photo by Artur Kerkhoff from Unsplash

Reaching for racists before Black people is a bad look

You don’t have to take a population’s rights away in order to suppress them. You can just nullify the rights. We’ve been doing it in this country a long time. For instance, Black peoples’ right to vote is on the books, but literacy tests, poll taxes and gerrymandering are all tactics used to nullify that right ever since we attained it. While those are all great tactics, they’re not the best. The absolute best way to nullify our vote is to not give us a candidate who actually represents our interests. Problem solved.

This brings me to Mayor Pete. As of this writing he’s neck and neck with Bernie in the disastrous Iowa Caucus recount and he may well be the front-runner very soon. He did this by moving from a progressive candidate to a moderate candidate. While that move may have worked in Iowa, it doesn’t work on me. And by judging from his polling numbers, it doesn’t work on anyone who looks like me.

Some people see becoming moderate as a smart move, but I don’t. I see it as disingenuous. It means he’s not a man out to bring his vision of the country to the people. Instead he’s someone who’s interested in presenting himself to the world, and he’ll tell people whatever he thinks they want to hear in order to do that. That on its own is bad enough, but it’s actually much worse.

Right now the Republican Party is more openly racist than any other time in my memory. Mayor Pete’s lack of Black support leads to him becoming more moderate which means he’s trying to get Republican votes. In other words, including Black folks is too hard, so welcome in the racists!

The thing is, it’s actually pretty easy to get my vote for president. All you have to do is say what I want to hear. That’s what the whole system is based on, unanchored promises. Unfortunately for Pete, you have to listen to people in order to tell them what they want to hear. While he seems to have no problem doing that with “moderates,” he doesn’t really do that when it comes to Black people. Not to put too fine a point on it, but now is when it’s actually easy to support Black people. Now, when it’s just listening and unanchored promises. If he can’t even do that now, what chance could we possibly have if he’s actually got to face down the bigot army of Mitch McConnell? And now as I look at the potential for Nominee Pete, I think about walking into the voting booth, and having to choose between two motherfuckers who prioritize racists over me. Again. I think about all the white liberals who would want me to vote myself into oblivion for the sake of things like climate change despite their silence while people who look like me suffered under its causes and effects for decades. I think about voting on every other race and issue and just leaving the president boxes blank. Then I think about how some people would view that as not doing enough, as though voting for president could in any way fulfill your social obligation in 2020 America. Then I think about the 4.4 million people who think just like me and I genuinely wonder how long this thing can actually hold together.

If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

That which divides us: Could it be…um…racism?

The impeachment is so frustrating. It’s a foregone conclusion that the Republicans in the Senate will acquit the president. Watching the Democrats stride toward the Pyrrhic victory of leaving a mark of shame on a shameless man makes my face hot. But the thing that personally frustrates me the most is the daily stream of books and think-pieces and social media threads in which white people openly wonder how we got where we are. “How is he the president?” “Why are we so polarized?”

If you were to start at the beginning, if you google it, you’ll find this:




prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

I hate that definition. It’s just so…white. It makes an assumption that race is a neutral and natural thing. It is written as though at the beginning of humanity people from all corners of the globe gathered together in one sacred meeting space in order to name themselves according to what made white people comfortable.

“What do you call yourselves?”

We call ourselves people.

“Well, that won’t do. That’s what we call ourselves.”

We can all call ourselves the same thing.

“I don’t think so.”

Why not?

“I got it. You’ll be called ‘Africans’.”

What’s that?

“Africa is a giant land mass. You’re from there, so you’re African.”

But that giant land mass is a home to countless cultures and languages, most of which have nothing to do with one another. By no means do the millions upon millions of people living on that giant land mass think of themselves as one people. We don’t pray like each other or cook like each other. We don’t even look like each other.

“Close enough.”

Excuse me?

“Anyway, who’s next? You? You’re from Asia, right?”

There was no grand coming-together. It was not a community decision. In fact, the idea of race as it is commonly understood in this country, was actually designed so that one particular group would be superior. The idea of race itself is prejudicial to everyone except white people. This is why who’s allowed to be white changes (see: Italians, Irish). And this is one of many reasons why it is not possible for white people to experience racism.

Whiteness not only allows itself to define the actual word but each and every example as well. For instance, accusations of racism often lead to the white proverb. If the accusations can make it past that test, the inevitable conclusion is often, “I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way.”

(So, look. If you try to make racism about your intent—a thing only you can know and therefore only you can decide your own guilt—just know that we see that as an admission.)

Where this all goes wrong for white people is that while they are not able to actually experience racism, the behavior itself is incredibly self-destructive. But since they define it to their own exclusion and accept accountability on a strictly voluntary basis, they can’t see when they are being destroyed by it. That is how we end up with one political party functioning almost wholly as an agent of racism and the other political party wondering how we got here, how he’s the president and why we’re so polarized…Or why self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives could possibly back a man with a very public record of being the most financially irresponsible American alive…Or why self-proclaimed Christian conservatives could possibly back such a milquetoast, wannabe Caligula…Or why 53% of white women would support a man accused of sexual misconduct by at least 25 other women.

If there were only some common thread…Perhaps we’ll never know.

If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.