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Cult of Outrage: Touré Attributes Holocaust Survivor’s Success in America to “Power of Whiteness”

Is it hypocritical to rail against someone in the Cult of Outrage, who seems to demand that everyone phrase statements – especially those crafted in anger – perfectly and then, when that person says something stupid, call them out on it? MSNBC’s Touré is one of those culture warriors who is often only focused on race issues, even calling out his fellow culture warriors when they don’t meet his standards.

Like all good speech scandals nowadays, it all started on Twitter. Mediaite.com aggregated the relevant tweets, but essentially after Touré shared a link to an article about reparations Twitter user @hope_and_chains responded angrily. In the exchange, he referenced how his grandparents survived the Holocaust and “came the US w/ nothing, LEGALLY, and made it work.” To which Touré responded “The power of whiteness.”

If we are to give Touré the benefit of the doubt – something he rarely does in these cases – it is safe to assume that he meant “the power of whiteness” helped this person’s family make “it work” after immigrating to the U.S. Yet it is understandable how many could think that Touré was suggesting that “whiteness” somehow helped these people survive the concentration camps.

Also, a quick scan of @hope_and_chains’s Twitter timeline suggests that he is both a conservative and has something of a problem with race. He frequently equates the Democrats and the KKK, claims that Don Sterling is an active Democrat, and mocking women’s/gender issues. Oh, and he also blogs on a site called “Yo, Dat’s Racis’!!” He also claims that the South was still mostly Democrat until the 1992 election, saying Reagan “barely” took the South during his two campaigns. This is, of course, all incorrect.

What’s ironic about this is other than opposing obsessions with skin color, Touré and @hope_and_chains are mad about the same things. They both have decried, in one way or another, police abuse of power, the moneyed interests in politics, and seem to care about the ways in which the black community is disenfranchised by the current system.

Instead of arguing with each other over reparations, privilege, and whose history is more tragic, they should be expanding their own perspectives by the commonality of their struggles. They have fare more common ground than they realize, but people in the Cult of Outrage only seem to know how to answer anger with anger.

 

Photo via screengrab

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.

  • James Anderson

    And so you’re saying minorities in this white Christian male dominated society shouldn’t be angry, especially as this country seems to have gone in a full speed back pedal in regards to civil rights? BTW it is quite clear to anyone with a brain that Tourè’s statement, “power of whiteness”, is speaking to success in America, and not anything to do with the Holocaust. The difference between white minorities and brown minorities, is that brown minorities can not hide the fact that the are brown. For anyone to pretend to not understand Tourè’s statement as a counter point to understanding the very unique struggles of brown minorities in America, that person is being either quite disingenuous or quite ignorant.

    • James,

      Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion. Firstly, while the real implication behind the “power of whiteness” statement was obvious to you, it wasn’t to everyone. Especially those for whom the Holocaust remains every bit as raw, painful, and ultimately more likely to happen again than, say, slavery. Yes, I think it was obvious, but people miss a lot of obvious things.

      Secondly, to my larger point here, I am saying that people are so blinded and excited by their own outrage that they miss both obvious intended meanings and the common ground they share just for the sake of arguing with each other.

      And to your last point, I would argue that there are a lot of visual cues to someone’s racial/ethnic make-up beyond skin color that can make “passing” very difficult.

      Thanks again, James, and please keep reading IssueHawk!