Once again McArdle has been held up in traffic and once again she is outraged. The economic protests in DC made her sit in traffic, the president's motorcade made her sit in traffic, and Ferguson protests made her sit in traffic. Since Megan McArdle thinks the world is constantly trying to win her approval, she makes sure she vents her petulance to teach those dumb African-Americans a lesson.
Making someone sit in his or her car for an hour or so in order to hold a rush-hour protest may indeed get you on television. And if that person was already in sympathy with your cause, maybe they’re happy to do it out of solidarity. On the other hand, what if that person is part of the big, messy middle who hasn’t been paying much attention to the details of Ferguson? Now that person hates you, and by extension, your cause. It’s a flashy protest that gets you on television, of course -- but are the folks in the big, messy middle imagining themselves in the place of a) the protesters, or b) the poor person who is going to have to skip lunch all week to make up the time he lost stuck behind your protest?
If the answer is b), then congratulations, more people are paying attention to your cause than ever before, and instead of being apathetic, they’re actively against you.
Now look what you've done, Dark-Skinned America. You've pissed off white-skinned Megan McArdle by making her wait in traffic and now maybe she just won't care about your little dead teenager protest thingie that you are making such a big fuss about. That'll teach you.
Now, I’m going to get some angry pushback on this from people who say that I’m ignoring historic wrongs in favor of grubby calculations about public opinion. To which I reply: I am not ignoring the historic wrongs, which are both historic, and wrong. If you want to change them, however, you are going to need a public that supports you, or at the very least, does not actively oppose your cause. This is a lesson that the Tea Party has been busily learning over the last few years.
If you are nice to the rich white lady she might support your cause. Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on your demeanor. If you inconvenience her or make her skip lunch she might even fight to support racism and economic exploitation! Not that she needs encouragement to do the latter, heheheh.
Protesters need to ask themselves a similar question: “Do you want to express yourself, or do you want to actually make changes?”
Maybe in an ideal world, there would never be a tradeoff between those two things; in the real world, however, there often is.
Righteous fury is hard to transmit to someone else who doesn’t feel it. And when protesters escalate their tactics in a bid for attention, they run the risk that they will inspire someone else to righteous fury -- aimed at them, not the injustice they are trying to right.
So make sure you show the proper respect and deference to the nice white people or they might get angry at you and do something in retaliation like, I don't know, shoot one of your sons. We wouldn't want that to happen, would we?
What an asshole.