Sad Fact

One of the sadder realities that all radicals or reformers must grapple with is the harsh discovery that most people—including one’s most cherished friends and loved ones—won’t start openly opposing any grave injustice until it’s cool or safe to do so. That is, until a collective tipping point has been reached. What makes this realization so difficult is knowing that you’re surrounded by well-meaning and kind people who nonetheless possess a cautious or conformist cast of mind that would have likely retained its essence in virtually any context: Not only in Michelle Alexander’s “New Jim Crow” America, but in the old Jim Crow America too. Not only in the old Jim Crow America, but in antebellum slave America. Not only in antebellum slave America but in Apartheid South Africa. Not only in Apartheid South Africa, but in Stasi East Germany. Not only in Stasi East Germany, but (yes) in Nazi Germany…

This doesn’t mean the bulk of us are would-be Nazis. But it does mean the bulk of us aren’t would-be anti-Nazi partisans. And that’s a really depressing thought the more you think about it.

P.S. There are folks to my left who think I’m a sell-out. They might be right.

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