Lanterns: Black or White: It's all Iocane


Black or White: It's all Iocane

It’s Black or White.

Except sometimes, it’s not.  

Sometimes it’s Sea Foam. Sometimes it’s Slate Grey. Sometimes it’s Elephant Skin.

This past week, we’ve struggled to understand the violence in Charlottesville. The media has bombarded us with stories of White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis and our President’s apparent inability to appease anyone in his denunciation of racism. The media has portrayed Antifa as the godsend who stood with conviction against racism while portraying the White Supremacists as a typical sampling of anyone on the Right.

Here’s a reality check for anyone brave enough to question the media narrative: You don’t have to stand with Antifa OR White Supremacists. You can be completely separate from both of these. You can denounce violence and hatred wherever it manifests itself. You can believe in someone’s right to say ridiculously stupid things without believing those ridiculously stupid things are right.

We are being fed a false dichotomy, folks.

A false dichotomy… occurs when an argument presents two options and ignores, either purposefully or out of ignorance, other alternatives.

Now maybe you’re afraid. I get it. I’m afraid sometimes, too. Nobody wants to be labeled a racist or a hater. Nobody wants to be painted as a fool. And that’s exactly what’s happening in our culture. If we dare to buck against the narrative, we are labeled—singled out for humiliation which we probably don’t deserve, because most of us (I suspect) are actually not racist. Most of us are not haters. And most of us are not fools.

Most of us work too many hours a week to bother with despising other human beings. Most of us actually give money to charitable organizations to help and love our fellow man. Most of us cringe to think of the unspeakable history our nation has with racism—not only racism against the Black community, but also against the Irish, the Japanese, the Jew, and the Native American.

In the current matter of racism in America, we are in a Battle of Wits, and like Vizzini, we are scrambling to figure out which cup is poisoned: The cup of White Supremacy or the cup of Antifa. The Dread Pirate Roberts knows the truth—both cups are poisoned. It was a false dichotomy.

So, drink from whichever cup you will, but remember—the only way it doesn’t absolutely destroy you is if you’ve done the hard work in your own life to build up a resistance to the poison. No one can do it for you. And agreeing with some know-it-all's voice on the most-popular-network does not protect you.

Because it’s not Black or White. It’s “iocane,” and both cups are poisoned.

Written by Sarah Moore

Sarah lives and works in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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