Skinny jeans are here to destroy you by insisting you be slightly less racist

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:14 EDT
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Stop oppressing conservatives, denim-wearing hooligans!

Via Whiskey Fire and Lawyers Guns and Money comes this hilarious tantrum thrown by oversized baby Erick Erickson over the Washington Vile Racial Slurs. Never one to decide a hill is too small to die on, Erickson has decided to dump buckets of tantrum tears over the encroaching possibility that the D.C. team might have to pick a slightly less racist name. And you know what happens when the world becomes slightly less racist, don’t you? Well, hard to say, but something bad. Maybe fairies lose their wings or something.

After telling some highly dubious stories about how Native Americans used to love it when you made fun of them for being a marginalized people subject to genocide, he goes on:

An honest person would concede that most Americans do not find the word redskins offensive and an honest person would concede that at its creation the trademarks for the Washington Redskins were not considered offensive. But these are different times. The United States now has a black president. The nation, as older generations pass and newer generations take power, is moving beyond race as an issue. Professional victims must now work even harder to find racist things to get worked up about.

As bspencer points out, the only person getting “worked up” is Erickson. If it’s not a big deal, then the quickest and easiest way to demonstrate how not a big deal it is?

The only real reason to cling to this ugly name and ugly logo is if racism pleases you, especially at this point. If racism isn’t a value you hold dear, then at best, the nickname is an unpleasant distraction, and at worst, you can see that the critics have a point that having white fans run around in red face is grotesque behavior best eliminated.

Indeed, Erickson can’t actually make a legitimate argument in favor of the name, so he pivots into a generic rant about the supposed evils of diversity, by castigating people who are “guilt ridden in skinny jeans”.

The professional victims teach and preach a shallow diversity that is skin-color deep and intellectually homogenous. This is most easily seen on college campuses that have appropriate and acceptable ratios of gay, black, Hispanic, Asian, female and transgendered tenured professors who all view the world through the same lens with the same politics.

Why would all these people of color, women, and LGBT people have to feel guilty about straight white male privilege? Interesting that Erickson doesn’t even pause to consider the possibility that all those various people he resents have feelings and motivations outside of “guilt”, such as, I don’t know, wanting access to the same education and jobs as straight white men. And what does this have to do with the name “R*dskins”? The only way this has shit-all to do with the name is if you believe that it’s wrong to have that kind of racial inclusivity and you see racial slurs as a way to exert white supremacy. But since the official stance of Erickson is Not A Racist®, then this little rant about diversity makes no sense. The only reason to bring up racial diversity is if you’re just generally butthurt about all the various ways that people of color are making inroads towards equality and you see the Washington team name as a last stand for sticking it to the Native Americans.

These guilt-ridden children of privilege and their cousins — the already rich, white liberal — could care less to walk a day in someone else’s shoes. They could care less to connect a world outside their bubble. They have decided they are the standard bearers of a secular moral code and will punish those who deviate. In their desire for diversity they dress the same, eat the same, read the same and tweet “Game of Thrones” spoilers. When the facts do not suit their demands, they conjure convenient new facts that may fly in the face of reality, but anyone who points that out is labeled a bigot, racist or conservative.

Now we get to the crux of it: Erickson’s long-standing grievance against people who look good in “skinny jeans” and who have a long enough attention span to read a book as well as watch a TV show. By characterizing all of his opposition as wealthy and privileged—despite having just established that he believes it’s far worse to shame someone for having privilege than to, say, run around in red face doing a tomahawk chop like an asshole—he can give his insecurity around people that are straight up cooler than he’ll ever be some kind of moral justification. Next from Erickson: Why the campaigns to raise the minimum wage demonstrates the evil of people who make him insecure by being able to converse about the latest bands.

To be clear, the link between wealth, privilege, hipness, and liberal politics is not as clear-cut as Erickson is making it out to be, not the least because he makes more money than most of the people he resents for looking fly in their skinny jeans when he can’t help but look like one of those toddlers dressed up in “grown-up” clothes for comic effect. Here’s a chart from the NY Times coverage of election returns for 2012.

2012 election

The fact of the matter is the Democratic coalition is, in fact, more diverse than the Republican coalition, and not just on the “skin deep” level that Erickson pretends doesn’t matter while frantically swiping at anyone who questions white privilege. There’s more class diversity, more cultural diversity, and I’ll bet you a whole buttload of money that people even speak more languages. Erickson may think that the privileged white people who support the cause of making sports a little less racist must have some sleazy intentions—just as he, in his narcissistic way, assumes they are wearing their skinny jeans at him in order to taunt him—but, in reality, it’s just another example of how the liberal coalition works, with people from disparate backgrounds creating common ground by taking on each other’s issues. I know that caring about anyone but yourself might seem alien to Erickson, but I promise, it happens in the real world.

Also, I personally don’t own a single pair of skinny jeans. Fact! A pair of skinny corduroy pants, but that’s totally it. Pinky swear!

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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