“The shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.”
A writer for the Huffington Post named La Sha has found an upside to the story of the American college student being imprisoned in North Korea. He’s finally been stripped of his white male privilege.
I wish I could say this is parody, but it isn’t:
North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal
“That’s what the hell he gets. Good for him!” My mother had uttered those words in her typical matter-of-fact tone one morning as she watched the news. “He” was Michael Fay, an 18-year-old from Ohio who had confessed to vandalizing cars in Singapore, and was subsequently sentence to six lashes from a rattan cane. I was in sixth grade and all I could imagine was how horrible the pain would be. My mother was unmoved at the thought, remarking, “He earned that.”
I thought about my mother’s words a few days ago while watching video of 21-year-old Otto Warmbier, another man from Ohio who last week was convicted of subversion for stealing a propaganda banner in North Korea, and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. Just as in Fay’s case, I was shocked by the severity of the punishment. I’ve tried to imagine spending a decade and a half performing what the North Korean state deems hard labor and I can’t. But I’m not 11 anymore, and now, my mother’s callous reaction to Micahel Fay’s sentence is my reaction to another young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.
The writer, who is a black woman, even compares his imprisonment in North Korea to her life in the U.S.
What a mind-blowing moment it must be to realize after 21 years of being pedestaled by the world simply because your DNA coding produced the favorable phenotype that such favor is not absolute. What a bummer to realize that even the State Department with all its influence and power cannot assure your pardon. What a wake-up call it is to realize that your tears are met with indifference.
As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.
This is what passes for writing at the Huffington Post? Stunning.
Twitchy has rounded up some reactions to the piece:
This just might be the dumbest thing ever written. https://t.co/HC6FHPBCVJ
— Michael C Moynihan (@mcmoynihan) March 23, 2016
@mcmoynihan Speechless. I'm afraid if I click on the article it will induce a "Scanners" head implosion within 3 seconds of reading.
— Sam-a-Da-Man-a (@SamaDaMana) March 23, 2016
sweet jumping Jehosephat https://t.co/xG7Cf8zXv1
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) March 23, 2016
— ultron hubbard (@Ulthub) March 23, 2016
The Huffington Post must be so proud.