The NY Times published an op-ed Friday titled “I Don’t Need ‘Love’ Texts From My White Friends.” Here’s how it opens: “My book is coming out in a few months, and I don’t know if I’m going to be alive to see it, because I’m a black man.”
That combination of humble-bragging and self-pity gets repeated for a dozen or more paragraphs with the author repeatedly saying he’s tired of white friends texting to express their support which he sees as just a way to express guilt. He doesn’t want them to say they care about him as a person, he wants them to do something practical for the cause. And one of the things he recommends is to text their relatives and let them know they are being cut off socially and emotionally unless and until those relatives show support for “black lives.” [emphasis added]
So please, stop sending #love. Stop sending positive vibes. Stop sending your thoughts. Here are three suggestions on more immediately impactful things to offer instead:
Money: To funds that pay legal fees for black people who are unjustly arrested, imprisoned or killed or to black politicians running for office.
Texts: To your relatives and loved ones telling them you will not be visiting them or answering phone calls until they take significant action in supporting black lives either through protest or financial contributions.
Protection: To fellow black protesters who are at greater risk of harm during demonstrations.
Yes, these actions may seem grave. But you insist that you love me, and love requires sacrifice. Text messages are unlimited on most data plans. Emojis are not sacrificial.
I can’t take credit for noticing this. It was pointed out on Twitter by Quillette editor Jonathan Kay who compared this to the demands made by a cult.
The @SenTomCotton piece reflected the view of most Republicans and ~ 1/3 of Dems. But that was seen as too extreme. OTOH, the view that grandpa should be excommunicated unless he pays money or risks getting COVID-19 at a protest is probably held by about 0.1% of Americans….
— Jonathan Kay (@jonkay) June 6, 2020
He’s not wrong. This is exactly the kind of thing Scientology does, requiring those inside the cult to cut themselves off from those outside, even close family members. In fact, in Scientology those on the inside are denounced for failing to distance themselves from friends and family who aren’t supportive.
Even apart from the cultic nature of this, it should strike people as obviously wrong. The author isn’t recommending an appeal based on reason or empathy, he jumps directly to emotional blackmail. It would have been one thing if he’d merely said, ‘talk to your friends about why this matters.’ But he’s gone beyond that to saying anyone who really cares should demand compliance. The creepiest part is his justification of this demand, i.e. “love requires sacrifice.”
If you love me, you’ll sacrifice your relationship with your friends and parents.
This is the point at which adults should suddenly realize they’ve been asked to join a cult and should tell author Chad Sanders they aren’t interested in his “friendship.” Seriously, have any of your friends ever told you to cut yourself off from your own parents? What would you say to them if they tried it?
This author is so self-involved he doesn’t seem to spare a thought for anyone else. Imagine being an elderly parent or grandparent whose child calls to say that they’ve decided they can’t speak to you again unless you send money to Black Lives Matter or go out in the midst of a pandemic to join a march. The author doesn’t even hesitate. He’s far more concerned about the vanishingly small possibility that he’ll be murdered (before his book comes out).
Last night Tucker Carlson opened his show with a segment on the cult-like extremism of some Black Lives Matter supporters. He points out that some parents are now getting attention by making little children hold up signs describing themselves as privileged. This NY Times op-ed is one more piece of evidence that he may have been on to something.