Cities demand that we walk like a (white) man.
The life of a leftist journalist is a curiosity to behold. Their job appears to be one of being on a never-ending quest to find social aggrievement and cause for outrage in the most benign and unintentional aspects of our life. In this case we have a writer who was literally looking for signs of oppression, and managed to find them in an area that is rather pedestrian — literally.
Over at Medium.com writer David Kaufman struggled to make himself relevant in this era where EVERYone gets to be relevant, so long as you are out there hectoring about racial abuses. David must have been feeling left out of all of the fun, so while he was out walking he hit upon his entry into the Triggered Class. He was about to cross a city street, waiting for the automated cue to permit safe access to the opposite curb, and then there it was — the indication of white supremacy, flashing before him.
But as a Black dad, I was struck by the language at play. How is it possible that well into the 21st century, parents all over Manhattan — well-meaning, #BLM-marching parents — are teaching their children to ask “little White men” for permission to cross the street? And why doesn’t this seem to bother them?
Yes, Kaufman has become triggered by the illuminated stick figure we all are familiar with in urban areas. Something everything thinking person would not give a second thought to has Kaufman ruminating to an extent of seeing an electronic hate-crime exhibited on every street corner. This is where we are as a society these days; the benign and the innocuous all has to have a hidden, pervasive meaning behind it. This is no way for a society to function.
More astounding that this emotional idiocy is that Kaufman actually explored the reasons behind these signs, and when presented with a sound motivation he still proceeds with his wailing missive. His research took him to learn there was some firm logic behind the hate he sees in the street lamps.
My quest first led me to traffic light manufacturers, who then led me to pedestrian safety consultancies, who finally led me to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) — which is where things got interesting. Because it turns out that the “little White man” who raised my ire isn’t exactly white. He isn’t even really a man.
The instant reaction here is to blurt out an expletive, but professionalism dictates that I simply retort with a, ‘’ No kidding,’’ response.
So the “little man” is actually a little person, but that little person is still white. Right? Close. It’s “lunar white,” according to the FHWA: a shade of white with yellow and grey accents that mimics the color of the moon. Lunar white wasn’t chosen because it sounds cool. According to FHWA research, the agency spokesperson says, moonlight offers “the peak sensitivity for the rod cells in the human retina.” In other words, our vision is predisposed to favoring the clarity and intensity of moonlight.
This explanation only partially mollified Kaufman’s outrage. What truly sent him down this rabbithole of distemper was hearing a friend who he was with explain to their child to wait for ‘’The little white man’’ to tell you it was safe to cross the street. So even when given the sound physics and data behind the imagery, he sees a cause to have social meltdown. Bearing this in mind, we on the right who are said to disregard science, have to shake heads in amazement as science has not quelled the outrage.
And so, as I begin teaching my boys survival basics like riding a bike, waiting in line, and… yes… crossing the street, I’ll work hard to avoid phrases like “little White man.” Obviously “bright light person” rolls off the tongue far less mellifluously, but a bit of extra verbal labor is worth the price of not conceding our power to even one more little White man.
Looking over this lesson in race, I suppose there is a reason for a white person like me to be offended. After all, anytime I am out walking near a construction project, I have to suffer the indignity of a black man telling me where it is appropriate for me to walk, right David?
I take this to mean it has been racially insensitive for generations that we have long been told where to walk by black men, if this logic is to be followed. https://t.co/YG0WyP6MgO pic.twitter.com/mduQEe3xD8
— Brad Slager: aka Wuhan Solo (@MartiniShark) July 9, 2020