What in life isn't a spectrum?
If time was measured in sunset or not sunset, when would we meet for lunch?
If guilt was measured in killer or not killer, where will self defense put you?
If school was pass or not pass, what would you do for a living?
Is humor binary?
Does tall or not tall make sense on a basketball card?
In the age of even gender fluidity, has the spectrum of sexuality sent ripples throughout the physical world?
Why then, when the question at hand is removing a statue of Robert E. Lee, a nationally registered historic place, is the only possible assessment of those protesting the removal, racist or not racist?
What is the most valuable binary assessment in America?
My guess, racist or not racist.
My next guess would be homophobic or not homophobic.
My next guess would be, sexist or not sexist.
With how ever many guesses I'm allowed I would systematically move down a self compiled list of emotionally based assessments that could in theory, cost someone their job, their significant other, and any other associations that are subject to substantial social influence.
What these binary assessment have in common is their emotional basis. They're quite literally triggered assessments.
You don't often hear someone say, "Okay everyone let's see what happens next and revisit this next week before making a decision."
These are one and done valuations.
What else in life is that easy?
Isn't that suspicious? Aren't you suspicious?
"America's Got Talent" at least requires multiple nationally televised performances to make a final judgement.
The show isn't called "Singer or Not Singer".
"America's Got Racists" only requires a single photo to vote you out of your job.
"America's Got Sexists" doesn't even need a photo to get you fired if you submit a contentious letter to Google.
My opening salvo dances with the spectrums of measurement.
Seemingly everything we measure has a range:
But "hate" is apparently binary. How convenient.
Is it possible, that perhaps binary complex evaluations are as worthless in the hate speech world as they are in every other aspect of the universe?
Don't get me wrong. I'm a big 1s and 0s guy. These black and white decisions are the fundamental basis for the very technology on which platforms like the Internet are built.
Binary has a place, but that place is not in deciding the fate of statues built for men who fought for their home commonwealth during our Civil War less than 200 years ago.
The presence of the Robert E. Lee statue is so nuanced, so rooted in the very fabric of American history, it would be fair to speculate that the integrity of American history might be compromised by the recent widespread upheaval of this statue and many others like it.
It would be fair even to ask those decision makers to read his biography before voting.
It would also be fair to take it down, assuming they followed the agreed upon procedures in place to remove such a statue.
If there is one seed I would like you to take away from this article:
Doubt binary conclusions.
Dig deeper. Ask more questions. Formulate your own thoughts based on the feedback the sensible world is giving. And when you pass judgement, pass judgement with more than a single word.
Unfortunately I have to end this article by saying something that should go without saying, I AM NOT DEFENDING RACISTS. I AM NOT DEFENDING WHITE SUPREMACY.
Is simply challenging the oversimplification by a majority a defense of the condemned?
Where are the thought rebels? Has the social climate changed so much that it's not even safe to ask if there was any merit at all for those who showed up to protest the removal of that statue?
I can offer my answer. This is not a safe time for a diversity of thought in this country. Even the simple thoughts I've written here could be grossly misconstrued to impact my employment.