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The crime of noticing

It’s all too prevalent, this “crime” of noticing. You start looking at things. Digging into statistics. Monitoring trends. Delving more deeply into the historical accounts and data. Pattern recognition becomes ever more the norm. You can’t un-see what you’ve seen or un-know what you now know. It bothers you, but it also awakens you. That’s your first mistake.

The second is that you start to verbalize what you’ve noticed. The information you have seen. The wider context. The connections. The ongoing, consistent reality that certain people, certain groups are disproportionately a part of what’s happening, whatever that may be. It’s not just some narrative being spun, but facts. Unavoidable, inexorably linked facts. Something one avoids only if he consciously refuses to break free from the accepted position, the norm. The overarching belief that must never be questioned. Yet, when you verbalize it, when you write it down for others to see, you’re told you’re overstating matters, you’re an extremist, you’re a bigot — no matter how tight your position is or how overwhelming supporting facts may be.

It’s not always a left or right thing. It can even overlap between them, depending on what you notice. You may be able to get around the inevitable condemnation with an off-the-cuff remark or, more likely, through memes — but even then, tread carefully. Am I able to express my findings with a friend, a close family member, any confidant? Will he reject what I say? Will he reject me? Must I stay silent when the reality is staring me in the face every day of my life? Speaking freely is not really permitted. There are always limitations; censorship is always involved from across the political spectrum (as well as internally via base fear of rejection and social alienation).

If I do finally decide to speak up, will I just receive a condemnatory reaction? A damning response: “Did you say something about [fill in the untouchable subject]? How dare you! You’re clearly a bigot.” Now you must be denounced. Now you must be vilified, marginalized, isolated, and silenced. Now you must be destroyed.

The “crime” of noticing. It’s unpardonable.
h/t Cam Brown, Monty Pelerin

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