Bari Weiss, Othering, and Journalism’s Cannibalization: why a profession makes a mockery of itself.

The New York Times’ Bari Weiss wrote something very bigoted when she quoted a line from Hamilton on her Twitter feed:

“Immigrants: They get the job done.”

It was in reference to an American-born Olympian whose parents were born elsewhere.

As someone who is a first-generation Canadian, I can tell you that I am sick and tired of othering: an act of micro-aggression where people let you know in no uncertain terms you are not one of them.

I was born in Canada. I lived in Canada all my life in a city with a population of half a million people. I did not exclusively hang around other immigrants.

I have people asking where do I come from because they say they detect an accent.

No, you don’t. No one asks me over the phone about my accent. In fact, people have asked about my accent even when I never opened my mouth.

They see my Eastern European features, and then ask something bigoted, and when I point out that I am Canadian, they ask about where my parents came from.

Even if I have an accent, listen to what I am saying, not how I am saying it.

Because it is an act of othering.

And Bari Weiss was othering, and it is a very bigoted thing to do. She was wrong to do it. For all the talk about how bigoted Donald Trump is, he twice married women who were born in other countries than the United States.

We have people on the Left, who in 2018, still make bigoted comments, even when they are pretending to be praising the little “foreigner” in question. Left-handed compliments from a Left-winged person is still bigoted. Stop making reference to a person’s nationality, accent, and skin-colour. Do not put yourself on the top of the pecking order where your praise puts you on top.

Praise is fine. Just make certain you are not misusing praise to insult someone else as you lecture him on not doing the very thing that you are doing with your fake kudos.

So Weiss isn’t as clever as she thinks, but the rest of the news media has been feasting on the New York Times.

The New York Post was gleeful with the fallout of this mess.

The Huffington Post reported on leaked transcripts of the affair with their own snarky spin on it.

Meanwhile, various fragmented and rambling pieces from banally titled The Outline to the equally banally titled The Forward either defend or wax poet in their disdain.

The problem is opinionists actually do not understand their jobs anymore. They let the title go to their head, and they never bother thinking about what they are supposed to do. Other opinionists jump down their throats when Twitter (which is not the entire world, by the way) gets in a tizzy, even if opinions expressed in that venue do not always reflect the consensus at large.

Journalists have always been othering. It is a byproduct of a patriarchal structure: if you are not The One, then you are The Other.

It is time to quit that game in a world where information is global. Stop othering, and stop trying to make your own dysfunctional outlet seem superior with your own take on it. Journalism is broken beyond repair, and it needs more than stomping on another ignorant columnist whose arrogance blinds her to the obvious.

 

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