You’re doing an entire article on the word “freedom”? Can’t people just look it up in the dictionary?
No. This isn’t about freedom. This is about freedoms.
Isn’t that just the plural form of freedom?
No, my friend, this is an entirely different subject. Everyone deserves freedom but “freedoms” are invisible things that only exist in white people’s imaginations—like rhythm...
Or not seeing color...
Or the tiny voice that whispers in unmelanated ears about what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted.
Whenever unshowered Americans are confronted with something they don’t want to do, they immediately begin blabbering about their “freedoms.” It’s like the “race card” for white people. While you and I know that the word “freedom” only makes one appearance in the Constitution, apparently there’s a second Caucasian Constitution that I haven’t seen that clarifies this murky terrain.
As you can see, it doesn’t even have to make sense. More importantly, they will never say exactly which specific freedom they are talking about. They won’t cite a specific law or clause in the Constitution that supports their position. That’s because there isn’t one.
Inserting “freedoms” into a random sentence makes one seem more patriotic, like randomly mentioning “the troops.” Basically, “freedoms” is a conservative dog whistle used to justify police brutality, pro-gun legislation and even blackballing Colin Kaepernick.
Why has this term become so popular recently?
Well, currently, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers and people who are adamant about their right to inhale coronavirus-laced droplets are crying that mandates preventing the escalation of the COVID pandemic violate their “freedoms.” In the absence of any peer-reviewed evidence to support their conspiratorial claims that the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci are working with Moderna, the Illuminati and the New World Order to infect you with facemask-tainted carbon dioxide, the one-trick GOP ponies have resorted to their failsafe, citing their “freedoms” as the reason for their pro-coronavirus position. I’m not saying they’re crazy...
I’m just writing it.
Which of our basic freedoms will be ruined by medical science? Most Americans were vaccinated at birth without their consent. Why were our parents so comfortable giving up their freedoms then? Why doesn’t McDonald’s “no shoes, no shirt, no service” policy erode these freedoms? Make it make sense!
But what’s wrong with standing up for your freedoms?
As someone once said: “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins.”
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asserting one’s rights. These people absolutely have the right to not wear masks or refuse vaccines. That’s not what they’re arguing. They’re arguing that they have the right to ignore science at the peril of others. Their kids’ right to go to facemask-free schools can’t infringe upon the rights of parents who don’t want their children to die coughing up coronavirus phlegm. They are insisting that their personal liberty is not just worth their health, it’s more important than your right to choose to be healthy.
It’s the ultimate act of privilege because what they are essentially saying is: “Give me liberty or give you death.”
Why do they think they have these “freedoms?”
Because they are stupid.
You may have noticed that their explanations are curiously devoid of facts and science. Instead of listening to medical experts, researchers or data, they are willing to entrust their health to their political allies or random Facebook memes. Their arguments also are all strangely similar. None of them have presented a unique viewpoint that they came up with; they’re all spouting stuff they heard on Parler or at whatever the white people’s version of a barbershop is (I’m pretty sure it’s antique shops). There’s no other fathomable reason for their positions except that they lack the ability to think critically.
But why are they so adamant about this position?
Well, ultimately, it’s because of whiteness.
Generally, white people don’t have to consider other people because they don’t have to face the consequences of their actions. It’s easy to oppose tax increases when you live in a country that ensures your children will get the best education. You’d probably “back the blue” if you never had to worry about police violence. If you didn’t have to consider the possibility of your vote not counting, you might be willing to ignore voter suppression.
These people believe in “law and order,” except for when it applies to them. They genuinely think their kids have the right to attend school without abiding by the rules the school boards set in place. They want to open up the economy but they want to ignore the COVID protocols businesses and cities have put in place to make sure the open economy is safe for everyone. They insist that COVID only affects kids with preexisting conditions, but don’t want to abide by the laws that protect those children.
For white people, living in America is like having skin that can’t burn. If you didn’t have to worry about being consumed by flames, you might think fire codes are overregulated. Why should your hard-earned money be spent on a fire extinguisher if you’re fireproof?
But all the anti-maskers aren’t white. What’s up with them?
They are victims of what I call privilege envy. Using our previous analogy, imagine if you were rich enough to move into a neighborhood where all your neighbors had fireproof skin. You might start to think that the key to a nice neighborhood is not spending money on fire departments and sprinkler systems.
Sure, you’d enjoy low property taxes, public parks, and good schools because—instead of paying for a fire department fire sprinklers—they put their money into education and playgrounds. Over time, you might start to believe that they’re right when say that the hullabaloo over fires is overblown. You might even forget that your skin is different and believe that protecting your family from the possibility of a fire should be a personal responsibility.
So how do we solve this controversy?
Maybe we can’t.
They are impervious to fire, so we can’t force them to care about the people who aren’t. But we also can’t forget the fact that the role of government is not just to protect our individual rights; it also must protect our collective rights.
We pay taxes so that our children can be safe when they’re at school and those collective rights are just as important as our individual rights. The reason every individual has the right to vote is that a true democracy represents the collective, not just individuals. You don’t pay school taxes so that your kid can get an education; you pay them so you can live in an educated community. You don’t pay the cops to keep you safe. You pay police departments to keep your community safe. If your neighbor is robbed or killed, you should want the cops to catch the criminal so that your community doesn’t become a high-crime area.
No one wants to wear a mask. We do it because we want to be safe. All children deserve to be protected from this deadly pandemic, and those who don’t want to wear masks don’t have the individual right to infect the children who cover their mouths for the sake of their fellow Americans’ health. That’s how a society works.
So is this why you don’t like freedoms?
Oh, I can’t say that I don’t like “freedoms.”
When I get some, I’ll let you know.