What should you be selectively apathetic about today? Revisionist history attempts from lazy people.
Lazy? Wait, what does that mean? These are people who have suffered injustices at the hands of the majority for generations. Yes, that’s right, they have. They have every right to see a statue or a painting or an image of someone from the past, and have that image conjure up feelings of pain, anger, and resentment. And that, dear friends, is the first step in the conversation which must take place before healing and useful change can begin. That is the starting point to empathy, and the foundation from which positive change is born.
I’ll start off by setting up a very specific definition: Inclusiveness. Look at the root of that word: INCLUDE. The assignment of value only to those people who the “purist woke left” deign worthy is impractical enough on its own. The more insidious side-effect of trying to “erase” anyone who doesn’t pass that test is an international tragedy. Worse, the hypocrisy of someone saying “Our history must be inclusive of all people” and those same people then tearing down statues or “cancelling” the contributions of imperfect people is just that – hypocrisy.
Inclusiveness cannot occur through the exclusion of some. At that moment, it is no longer inclusiveness. “Liberty and justice for all” is not “Liberty and justice for those we happen to feel are worthy and righteous enough in this moment in time.”
Whenever I see people defacing or tearing down a statue, all I see are lazy people. Yes, they’re justifiably angry people, but they’re being lazy and myopic. I describe them as lazy because they are choosing not to participate in two very important and beneficial actions:
1) They are not using the existing statues to engage in productive historical dialogue that could actually make a difference in how we understand and sympathize with each other.
2) They are not adding statues of historically relevant people to represent those who have not been included up until now.
I would rather see a statue of Robert E. Lee AND Ulysses S. Grant AND Harriet Tubman AND Chief Joseph AND Norman Mineta AND Sojourner Truth AND Christopher Columbus AND Rev. Martin Luther King AND etc.
Erasing history means we don’t get to talk about it. When we don’t talk about it, we miss out on opportunities to learn about and better understand each other. Tearing down a statue because you’re unwilling to accept that an important person from the past happened to be a flawed person that might have done terrible things, is just lazy. Use that statue as a springboard for conversation. Use that statue as a reminder to inspire continuous change and progress. Use that statue as a companion to another statue which lifts up the achievements of a great American from another group. Add, don’t subtract. The melting pot doesn’t work when the addition of one ingredient requires the subtraction of another.
I write this in hopes that if and when you encounter an “Inactivist” who only wants to tear things down in the name of “inclusivity” that you ask them the following simple questions. Challenge their inactivism.
“Why are you tearing something down instead of adding to the conversation by building something else up to join it? How can inclusion be possible if there is exclusion?”
If they are unable to answer these questions rationally or logically, choose to be Selectively Apathetic to their “contribution” to the world, because they are nothing more than a lazy, hypocritical, inactivist. They are not worth your attention, time, energy, or continued thought.