When former Trump attorney and insider Michael Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee, people just knew sparks would fly. And fly they did, although not in some expected ways. One controversy that came from the circus…I mean hearing involved Lynne Patton, an official from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a friend of Cohen’s who appeared at the clown show…I mean hearing. Patton, who just happens to be black, caught the attention of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and used Patton’s appearance to accuse Congressman Mark Meadows of being racist by using Patton as a “prop.” This accusation has evolved into Patton being called a “token” by Leftists.
“Token” is a racially-charged adjective, to put it mildly, because of the implications around it. Yet, it seems to only be used in one direction. To better understand the controversy (and to complete my weekly obligation to you), let’s delve deeper into this word
What the Left thinks it means – a minority who is dragged out by the Right to distract people from their racism, a minority denied agency by the Right
What it really means – a minority who doesn’t subscribe to Leftist ideology
And you thought it was just a character from South Park!
The Left is obsessed with identity politics, or as I call it bean-counting for votes. By targeting certain groups of people, the Left can energize those people into potential voters, which in turn translates into money and power for the Left. These tactics usually work, too, as the election for Congresswoman Tlaib suggests. It usually works to keep people within these minorities allied with the Left.
The operative word, however, is “usually.” Sometimes, members of a minority group (or perceived minority group as is the case with women) will deviate from the Left’s agenda and find their own way. Once you break away from the Leftist hivemind, you become an “other” to the Left, and all the surface courtesy you get while dancing to the Left’s tune gets replaced by a deep scorn that rivals that of the closest betrayed lovers.
That’s where using “token” comes into play. By suggesting those minorities who break away from the Left are only being used by the Right and are too dumb to see it, the Left not only reinforces its message that they care about minorities, but also shows what will happen to them if they don’t follow along. After all, a little negative reinforcement never hurt anybody, right? Not so much, as we’ll see in a moment.
The funny thing is the Left doesn’t give minorities agency in the first place. If anything, it’s white Leftists who are the ones who take up “the struggle” on behalf of minorities, even when said minorities don’t want them involved. Take Black Lives Matter, for example. Once white Leftists got it off the ground and helped it to gain prominence, BLM decided they no longer needed or wanted white assistance, or at the very least they wanted whites to get behind the black leaders. (Ms. Parks, Ms. Rosa Parks, call for you on the Black Irony Phone.) As Leftist movements gain momentum, the members tend to purge their roles of white supporters, thus discovering their own agency in a way. The thing is they already had all the agency they needed to speak up without white support or assistance. They’ve always had it; they were just convinced by white Leftists to not use it.
On the other hand, any minority who uses their agency to speak out against what the Left is doing isn’t even considered to be human, let alone a “real” member of that minority.
And it’s the Right who are the racists?
The fact the Left resorts to calling blacks “tokens” when confronted with the inconvenient fact that they have the ability to speak without using a white Leftist mouthpiece speaks volumes as to how backwards the Left is on race relations. They will give Black Lives Matter a platform while denying people like Patton even exist. That’s where I differ with the Left. (Well, that, and I like to bathe more than once a Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign.) I want both Black Lives Matter and Ms. Patton to speak their minds, even if I don’t agree, because I respect their rights to speak. I want them to speak, if for no other reason than it potentially gives me more material for blog posts, but ultimately it’s because I don’t have the power nor the authority to deny them the agency they already have.
As far as Ms. Patton is concerned, she is no more a token than I am eligible to be Pope. She is a human being with thoughts, feelings, and opinions, just like me. That to me makes her as much of a human being worth even basic respect as anyone. She was motivated to be at the Cohen hearing for reasons I will not begin to try to articulate, but the fact she was there presumably of her own free will (at least, that’s what she’s said after the Leftist smear job against her) means she is neither a token, nor a pawn. She is an American exercising her freedom of association, not some “other” who should be derided for no legitimate reason.
And that’s exactly what calling her a token is: deriding her for no legitimate reason.
But tell me again how you Leftists are more open to diversity…