Thursday, June 01, 2017

White Artists Grovelling

So...
You're a white artist. You're pretty social justicey...so you make some art commemorating the murders of several non-white people. Good for some social justice points, right?
Wrong, Becky
You have just like...I dunno...appropriated something or microaggressed or some shit.
What it really comes down to is: you are white, and you said or did or made something or other that had something or other to do with somebody or other who was not white...and that is NOT OK.
So what do you do?
Why, you debase yourself to the point of asking whether you can disassemble your own sculpture and help the group that is irrationally criticizing you burn it...and then you offer to meditate on your own horribleness for having the temerity to say something against white people killing non-white people.
Of course.

This is how powerful faux victimhood is now, and this is how corrupt the victimologists have become. They can basically make certain people do whatever they want just by invoking the power of their helplessness. And there are spineless, guilt-ridden white people who are only too eager to comply...and debase themselves to the maximal degree...
And so....what? Is everybody going to keep pretending that this is all within specs?

4 Comments:

Anonymous John Plato said...

I was wondering if you were going to get around to this one. This is from my part of the country, so I know the story well. It's a layer cake of insanity.

You could start with the purpose of the art, which creator Sam Durant says was meant to be a space for “meditation on capital punishment and white supremacy." Casting the men hung on the gallows as innocent victims of white race-hate.

The Dakota 38 that this work of art commemorates were 38 murderers and rapists, part of what used to be called the Sioux Uprising, a month-long campaign of genocidal slaughter as the Dakota rode down the Minnesota River Valley, killing every white they could reach, including over 100 children. They razed white settler homes to the ground, lit their fields on fire, killed their livestock, kidnapped and raped women that caught their fancy. They toyed with and tortured their captives in ways that would make ISIS blush. Most of the able-bodied men -- the supposed white supremacists -- were off fighting the Civil War, risking their lives to liberate the country from the scourge of slavery.

But you won't find this story in any modern news coverage, because Dakota activists and their allies have recast the 38 as the symbolic victims of the very crimes they engaged in.

One NPR article I read said that the War “occurred”, that there was an “outbreak of hostilities”, that the men were “hanged for their roles in the brief U.S.-Dakota War”, that “the war had taken the lives of more than 600 white people and as many as 100 Dakota.”

All the kind of passive-voiced, euphemistic mush that any decent J-school would punish you for writing. The 38 weren't hanged for their "roles in the war", they were hanged for rape and murder, for example. So we're left in this topsy-turvy world where rapists are martyrs, no one is allowed to speak about the past, and art museums are literally burning their art.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Holy shit, I had no idea...

Things are even crazier than I thought...and I thought they were pretty damn crazy...

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, question for John Plato. (A real question, not bait for some kind of ripost. I doubt Wikipedia is much good on this topic right now, and you seem to know something about it.) Were the 38 Dakota men hanged tried and convicted of crimes they individually committed, or were the convictions for collectively participating in the war in which the crimes occurred? The reason I ask is that it's a common pattern in the 19th century for a group of Native Americans to murder a settler or burn a farm and the local authorities to use the crime as a pretext to remove an entire tribe, imprison or execute the tribal leadership for resisting encroachment on tribal land, etc. If the 38 were executed simply for participating in the war during which the atrocities occurred, not for acts they individually committed, then their execution was still unjust.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous John Plato said...

There's a lot of backstory to all this, but yes, each of the 38 were charged with specific crimes and convicted by eyewitness testimony. At least one Indian outright admits to raping the woman who identifies him in court, after giving a detailed narrative of her abuse and captivity. Other Dakota defendants acknowledge firing their guns at white settlers, but then defend themselves by saying they had sore eyes or bad aim and that many Dakota were shooting at the man in question and it’s impossible to say which bullet actually killed him. One says, "All the Dakotas have killed whites. If the guilty are punished, there will be none left!"

Strictly speaking, this wasn't true – several Dakota befriended white settlers, helped save them, or otherwise did not participate – but it gives you a sense of how widespread the violence was.

Dakota activists and allies often focus on all the ways the trials were unfair, and in many ways they were unfair. The defendants had no lawyers. Some were convicted on hearsay. But they were a great deal fairer than the Dakota themselves had been to the settlers they killed, and this never seems to come up in the discussion. Pregnant women who had their bellies sliced open and the fetuses ripped out and dangled in front of their dying gaze did not receive the mercy of a trial. They weren’t charged with a crime, given a chance to explain themselves and be exonerated, as almost 99% of the Dakota were.

In historical context, the hanging of the Dakota 38 represent an incredibly merciful and lenient response to unimaginable atrocities.

Out of the nearly 2000 Dakota who were taken into custody after the battle was won, 498 were tried by military court; of those, 300 were sentenced to death, and President Lincoln commuted or pardoned the sentences of all but 38.

38 out of 2000. Not one man executed for every 20 white settlers murdered. That’s an act of extraordinary mercy in my book. Multiple acts, really. The story of them won’t fit in a web comment, but at least one part involves Lincoln reviewing hundreds of court transcripts by lamplight in the middle of the night, refusing to allow the deaths of those he did not feel had been judged fairly.

Yet Lincoln is hated by many Dakota activists for hanging any Dakota at all.

To me, these are discussions worth having. I think what would come from it is an understanding that neither side was blameless, either purely virtuous or purely the victim. This is healthy for a multicultural society where we all must live together.

But instead, the Dakota and the modern progressive left have chosen a co-dependent sort of symbiosis, where the Dakota are treated as ever more fragile victims – and only victims – and the left gets to be ever more theatrically outraged on their behalf.

“White people will never understand the cellular level of pain that the death of our people evokes. How could they? They don’t carry that trauma in their bones. Their ancestors were the ones pulling the lever and buying commemorative postcards of lynchings, not the ones swinging. They cannot understand the hurt we feel.”

This is an actual quote from a Native activist in a recent article about the sculpture. What room is there for dialogue in that?

12:22 PM  

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