Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Earlier this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he resigned from his position with the company, and will be replaced by Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal. Shortly after the announcement, it came out that in 2010, Mr. Agrawal tweeted, "If they are not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists?" This tweet is wrong on so many levels. First, the claim that all whites are racist is completely false, and lacking any credible evidence. The next is the lie that anti-Muslim hate was promoted during the war on terror. Following the 9/11 attacks, America bent over backwards, separating the religion of Islam from Muslim extremist terrorists. Less than a week after the attacks, President George W Bush told the country that, "Islam is a religion of peace," and "not only did terrorists hijack planes and destroy life; they also hijacked the beautiful religion of Islam." He also encouraged religious, racial and cultural tolerance when he said, “no one should be treated unkindly because of the color of their skin, or the content of their creed.”
But the biggest danger in Parag Agrawal tweet was the way he drew a moral equivalency between two forms of racism, which only serves to legitimize racism regardless of the form it assumes. This was the exact opposite of what President Bush and many Americans stood for post-9/11 – the elimination of bigotry in all forms which led to the attacks. A small group of Muslim terrorists decided to hijack planes, blow up buildings and kill thousands of innocent people, and we non-Muslim Americans were on guard not to label all Muslims as terrorists or impugn the religion of Islam. We were told that those few extremists, regardless of their motivation or how much harm they caused, were not representative of Islam. So, if all Muslims are not terrorist because a few Muslims are terrorist, then it only follows that all white people are not racist, because a few white people are racist. Yet, here is a man who is taking over one of the most powerful social media companies in the world, who believes that it is right and just to label all white people as racist because a few white people said racist things. He failed to learn the lesson of 9/11 that bigotry and prejudice are wrong.
But this type of prejudice is becoming more and more prevalent in our culture. ABC legal analyst Sunny Hostin on "The View" this Monday said, that the Republican's “big tent party includes insurrectionists, it includes white nationalists, it includes fear mongers”. She attacked all Republicans based on false accusations against a few. This type of rhetoric, the punching down at people, has been going on for years. During the 2008 campaign, President Obama, with much disdain in his voice, disparaged working class people in Pennsylvania when he said, “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.” In 2016, candidate Hillary Clinton derisively called tens of millions of Americans, “a basket of deplorables.” In 2021, Joe Biden continually calls people who didn’t vote for him, or who do not support his far-left wing agenda as white supremacists.
More and more each day, we are becoming a supercilious society – a society filled with arrogant, scornful people who believe that they can look down on their fellow Americans with contempt and disdain because they are different from them. Increasingly, this is the society we are living in. People who are perpetually offended, perpetually judging each other for even the smallest transgression. There are throngs of people hanging on the edge of their iPhones who believe they are the only one’s privy to the truth, itching to destroy someone on social media who happens to post the “wrong” thing. The complete lack of humility in our society is almost as great as our lack of self-awareness.
And the twist in all of this, is that many people use accusations of racism to justify their own racism, claims of being offended in order to offend others, and charges of entitlement to assert their own entitlement. Only a society that takes itself way too seriously is as perpetually offended as ours. Counting every “micro-aggression”, and minor slight as if it is the gravest injury is the height of arrogance. We are so sensitive to offense that we are becoming like the young woman in the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea who could feel one small pea beneath 20 mattresses.
And the height of our societal arrogance is shown in our lack of capacity to forgive for even the slightest transgression. Many in our society believe simultaneously that others have no capacity to grow, while they have no need to because they have already reached full maturity. Only self-important people offer no forgiveness because they believe they are so perfect that the concept to need to be forgiven is foreign to them.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.