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On December 26th, establishment mouthpiece the New York Times ran a disturbing story about a Virginia teenager who was forced to withdraw from college after a half black high school classmate posted a video of her using a racial slur several years prior.
What was disturbing about the story was not just the incident itself but the way the Times celebrated it and celebrated the student who posted the video, calling the incident “a racial reckoning.”
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LEESBURG, Va. — Jimmy Galligan was in history class last school year when his phone buzzed with a message. Once he clicked on it, he found a three-second video of a white classmate looking into the camera and uttering an anti-Black racial slur.
Jimmy Galligan held on to a three-second clip of a White teenage girl saying the N-word while singing along to a rap song for years. He posted the clip publicly when the girl had been admitted to a university in order to ruin her life. https://t.co/UA84HkMYXg pic.twitter.com/J9FJcf6hjK
— Billy (@billygerent) December 27, 2020
Four paragraphs later, after a stylized professional photograph of Galligan in a designer blouse, the New York Times gives the context of the video.
Ms. Groves had originally sent the video, in which she looked into the camera and said, “I can drive,” followed by the slur, to a friend on Snapchat in 2016, when she was a freshman and had just gotten her learner’s permit.
They neglect to mention that the slur Mimi Groves used was the “soft a” variant of the “n word”, commonly used as a term of endearment or as a synonym for “you guys” and not the more offensive “hard r” n word. Even with this omission, however, it’s still clear that Groves (a Black Lives Matter supporter, incidentally) was using the word in a celebratory manner, not a hateful one and that it was not directed at Galligan. Incidentally, one of the Time’s own writers tweeted the soft-a variant of the “n word” in a very similar context.
It seems wrong to try to ruin someone’s life over a word they said as a child. It seems even worse though to try to ruin their life over a colloquialism that wasn’t even intended to cause offense. For that matter, the very hierarchy of taboos that elevates the use of a nasty slur as more evil and damaging to one’s reputation than being a thief, liar, murderer, or traitor is deeply unjust and wrong. One has to question the prospects for any nation so deeply unserious that it would adopt this framework as the operating principle of its political discourse and policy making.
In any case, Galligan admitted to the New York Times that they had been friends, which further supports the assertion that Groves meant no offense:
In the months since Mr. Galligan posted the video, he has begun his freshman year at Vanguard University in California and Ms. Groves has enrolled in online classes at a nearby community college. Though they had been friendly earlier in high school, they have not spoken about the video or the fallout.
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Galligan doesn’t limit accusations of racism to former friends though. He also uses the country’s most famous newspaper as a platform to denounce his own white father:
Mr. Galligan thinks a lot about race, and the implications of racial slurs. He said his father was often the only white person at maternal family gatherings, where “the N-word is a term that is thrown around sometimes” by Black relatives. A few years ago, he said his father said it aloud, prompting Mr. Galligan and his sister to quietly take him aside and explain that it was unacceptable, even when joking around.
No official word yet on whether Galligan has contacted his father’s employer.
Shortly after his 18th birthday in July, Mr. Galligan asked his father, a former law enforcement officer, what he thought about white privilege. “The first thing he said to me is that it doesn’t exist,” Mr. Galligan recalled. He then asked his father if he had ever been scared while walking at night, or while reaching into the glove box after getting pulled over by the police. He said his father had not. “That is your white privilege,” Mr. Galligan said he told him.
The New York Times also misrepresented the nature of Groves’ withdrawal from school, stating in the intro to the piece:
A white high school student withdrew from her chosen college after a three-second video caused an uproar online.
It is then revealed thirty-five paragraphs down:
Ms. Groves’s parents, who said their daughter was being targeted by a social media “mob” for a mistake she made as an adolescent, urged university officials to assess her character by speaking with her high school and cheer coaches. Instead, admissions officials gave her an ultimatum: withdraw or the university would rescind her offer of admission. “We just needed it to stop, so we withdrew her,” said Mrs. Groves, adding that the entire experience had “vaporized” 12 years of her daughter’s hard work. “They rushed to judgment and unfortunately it’s going to affect her for the rest of her life.”
For anyone interested in letting the University of Tennessee, Knoxville know what you think of their cowardly decision, the phone number for Chancellor Donde Plowman is 865-974-3265 and her email is [email protected]. Always be polite and respectful, of course.
Mimi Groves’ experience is sad but it’s also increasingly commonplace. It’s becoming more and more commonplace in part because our nation’s corrupt ruling-class, including the New York Times, side with people like Jimmy Galligan. The piece ends with Galligan gloating:
For his role, Mr. Galligan said he had no regrets. “If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened,” he said. And because the internet never forgets, the clip will always be available to watch.
“I’m going to remind myself, you started something,” he said with satisfaction. “You taught someone a lesson.”
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This whole episode brings to the mind the concept of the “Scapegoat Mechanism” as developed by French philosopher René Girard. Girard described the process by which early religions were formed; when too many people were competing for scarce resources, one competitor would be blamed and become the first human sacrifice. The resources were still scarce afterwards but people felt better.
In many cases, weaponizing America’s insane racial sensitivities offers more cynical, material advantages over and above the self-righteous satisfaction of lashing out at a “heretic.” It is a commonplace, for instance, for the unprincipled to strategically use “weaponized wokeness” to gain a leg up on business rivals — just look what happened to poor Papa John. In the case covered in this piece, Mr. Galligan seems to have gained self-righteous satisfaction and the benefit of taking out a rival he had it in for all at once, killing two birds with one “scapegoat.”
Jesus Christ was supposed to be the last scapegoat, with His resurrection serving as a victory over the Scapegoat Mechanism and showing its futility and cruelty. In an increasingly post-Christian world though, many want to return to a system of scapegoats.
The scarce resource we compete over today is the vague concept of social prestige, often demonstrated by being the most “anti-racist”. In this new secular religion of BLM, New York Times writers are the priests and they are more than happy to celebrate the sacrifice of a new scapegoat.
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