Divide and Conquer

Arthur Waterbridge’s letter (“This Should Go Over Well,” 3/21) takes issue with the phrase “toxic masculinity,” used in the previous week’s cover story about axe throwing. In the cover story, the teenage son reveals (tongue in cheek) that his technique is to aim the axe at “toxic masculinity,” a reference to the manliness of axe throwing and masculinity’s undesirable elements.

The letter to the editor satirically calls it a “hate term” against Latinos and African Americans, claiming that certain behavior is endemic to “their culture.” He completely ignores slavery, Native genocide, U.S. takeover of Mexican territory, etc., etc., implying instead that the traditional American view is that of white gentility: “To our traditional American view, the way Latinos and African Americans treat women might be seen as objectionable.”

For proof, Waterbridge suggests we listen to rap music, and he points to the disproportionately high arrest rate of people of color — for rape, he claims. He doesn’t discuss the oppressive origins of multigenerational poverty among minorities, along with the issues of profiling, inequitable prosecution of equal crimes or the cross-cultural-ness of sexual assault.

This is white supremacy, of course. Membership in white nationalist groups went up 50 percent last year, reports the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Over the dinner table, we just discussed what we’d say after hearing someone stereotype people of color as being inherently anything, or as being inferior somehow. I’d fact check them, and point out that the White House is employing classic “divide and conquer” tactics: instilling fear and hate to wield control for personal profit.

Erica Walla


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