Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s defense of tweeting support for flag kneelers during athletic events is a prime example of what’s wrong with many white people today when faced with conflicts over race.
When I wrote an article criticizing the racing star for throwing NASCAR owners under the bus when they said they’d fire any employee who protested on the clock, he responded by sending me a link to his most recent podcast. In it, he explained why he sent out this tweet to support the protesters: “All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK.”
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017
Earnhardt began by saying, “I like to please people.” He then agreed that the owners who threatened firings are “entitled to say this. … [T]hey were speaking for themselves, which is fair and they can do that.”
But when NASCAR didn’t come out with a statement in support of the protests, Earnhardt was concerned that the world would think owners Richard Childress and Richard Petty were speaking for everyone in their industry.
“I kept seeing a lot of negativity about NASCAR on social media,” Earnhardt said, “and it’s the same tired stigma that we’ve dealt with for many years, and I didn’t feel like Richard’s comments or Richard Petty’s comments were the way the entire sport felt. … They were talking for themselves and through North Carolina law they have the right to do the things they said they would do… and they have the right to their opinion. … I just didn’t want anyone speaking for me.”
“With that said, I stand for the flag during the National Anthem, always have and always will,” Earnhardt added. “We go above and beyond to show our patriotism and what it means to be Americans and how proud we are of that and the flag and what it stands for. It was no surprise to me that everyone at the track stood and addressed the flag … but I also understand that the man next to me that if he wants to do something different, that’s his right. I might not agree with everything somebody does, but it’s their right to have that opportunity to do that and I can’t take that away from them. I don’t want them taking it away from me.”
He concluded, “If you look at any time we’ve really chimed in on social issues, it’s from a place of compassion. That’s my first reaction. I hate conflict, confrontation and argument. I always try to keep my mind on to this other person’s point of view. … I don’t rush to judgment on anyone’s choices and I would hope they wouldn’t rush to judgment about my choices.”
This all sounds warm and fuzzy, but as I said in my previous post, people don’t have the “right” to use someone else’s time and platform to protest. It’s not an employee’s right “to have the opportunity to do that.” If an owner wants to shut down these protests, he can do it — he isn’t constrained by anyone’s perceived rights. If he chooses not to, then so be it. He’ll have to suffer the consequences of that choice when the customers aren’t happy.
While I agree we should show compassion and try to see from another’s point of view, sometimes their point of view is simply wrong. Sometimes their views are based on a lie. This is not a rush to judgment — it’s a well-considered judgment. This doesn’t makes those of us making it less compassionate — it makes us more so, because no one benefits from a lie. Will wrongs make a right? Will a lie bring unity? Will a lie bring peace?
And this is the point Earnhardt and any white person who’s afraid of racist stigma needs to realize. These protests are based on a false premise: that America is a racist nation, that our judicial system is racist, and that the black community is oppressed by white overlords.
Despite the claim that this is all about police brutality and blacks being disproportionately imprisoned because of racism (a claim that has been debunked), the truth is these protests are the fruit of years of American culture being steeped in the leftist propaganda that the United States (i.e., white people in the United States) are racists, that white people are guilty of their ancestors’ sins (whether they owned slaves or not), that white people are privileged simply for being white, and that white people are collectively responsible for any crime committed by a single, deranged white person against individual blacks.
The goal of these protests is to make whites feel guilty, to squirm under the accusing gaze of self-made race-baiting inquisitors, and to repent of their racism, their privilege, and their original sin of slavery.
These protests are a mass effort to perpetuate white guilt to empower groups that hold to a leftist ideology. It’s ultimately a campaign to make individual Americans smaller and government bigger, because only government power can bring about the egalitarian changes these protesters demand.
Through intimidation, bullying, threats, and vicious labeling, people who don’t value individualism and personal responsibility seek to silence, manipulate, and control those whom they perceive as having privileges they don’t have. They are willing to rob others of freedom to gain equal outcomes, coerced through government intervention.
To achieve these ends — ends that are rooted in cultural Marxism and not democratic principles — stigma is used to force dissenters or do-gooders into submission. Shelby Steele, the black author who wrote White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, said the effort to paint America with the brush of racism is “manipulating stigma.”
Since the civil-rights movement and the rise of “black power” groups, “whites, and particularly, institutions, have lived under threat of stigmatization,” says Steele. “White guilt is a powerful, powerful force. Not because people feel guilty, but because people are stigmatized, and again have to prove the negative all the time, and living forever under threat of being stigmatized.”
Trying to prove that “I am not a racist” is impossible, and those making the accusation know it. It puts the accused in chains, and that’s where they want them.
Earnhardt says he was worried about how NASCAR was being perceived — that he was tired of the stigma of racism placed on his sport. So what did he do? He ran from the stigma by supporting the very action and people who are manipulating the stigma. In doing this, he is allowing the premise — that whites as a group are racists — to stand, even though it isn’t true.
People who cower to stigma fail to realize that no matter what they do, no matter what they tweet or how much “compassion” they show to people who are wrong in their message and methods, they will still be branded with the label of racism. They will be stigmatized.
Earnhardt did nothing to change the minds of those intent on beating whites up with white guilt, continually blaming them for the past and the actions of others. This is because white guilt and the stigmatizing that goes with it is the power of leftists. They can’t let it go.
These owners are not racists. Their actions have not been racist. The accusations, the anger, the collective labeling that has been unleashed on them and much of society is not rooted in reality. It’s all fabricated for power, not justice.
Opposing these protests isn’t racist. Saying our nation isn’t racist is not racist. Saying it’s wrong to blame an entire group for the racism of individuals, past or present, is not racist. Doing anything that defies the liberal agenda that feeds on collective guilt is not racist.
When anyone gives into the manipulation of stigma, they are only perpetuating a big lie. Earnhardt said he doesn’t like conflict. Sorry, but in this environment of labeling and scapegoating, conflict is unavoidable. And in this instance, by affirming collective white guilt he is giving legitimacy to false claims and actors that deserve no moral authority. In doing this, he is inadvertently and foolishly continuing conflict.
It is time for anyone who has been falsely accused of racism, who has been hounded by the sins of others and sins of the past, to say “Enough!” If you run from stigma by affirming those who are stigmatizing you, you’re a coward and you’re causing more harm than good.
These are times for men and women of strength to step forward, to stand together in the face of false accusations, manipulation, and lies and say, “No, I am not guilty of bigotry. No, my country is not guilty of racism. No, I am not guilty of sins of the past or the crimes of others. I am moving forward, free of guilt, free of blame, and free of stigma. And I do not, and will not, support protests that perpetuate white guilt and the hostilities it feeds.”