“…Wake again, Bagheera. For what use was this thorn-pointed thing made?” Bagheera half opened his eyes—he was very sleepy—with a malicious twinkle. “It was made by men to thrust into the head of the sons of Hathi, so that the blood should pour out. I have seen the like in the street of Oodeypore, before our cages. That thing has tasted the blood of many such as Hathi.” “But why do they thrust into the heads of elephants?” “To teach them Man’s Law. Having neither claws nor teeth, men make these things—and worse.” – From The Kings’ Ankus by Rudyard Kipling

The jeweled elephant goad, the ‘ankus’ of Kipling’s story – was indeed a thing made by men, intended to control elephants; a thing used to threaten and inflict pain, to make the elephant do what the man wielding the ankus do what was commanded. I have begun to think of late that the threat of being called a racist is much the same kind of instrument. It’s a means of control, wielded to enforce silence and obedience. Consider the various local police in English towns and cities, who were so bludgeoned by the threat of being viewed as racists that they turned a blind eye, over and over, and over again, to deliberate and organized grooming and sexual exploitation of white English girls by Pakistani gangsters.

Recollect the various Americans who confessed in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, that they had been somewhat alarmed by the odd behavior of the Saudi perpetrators … but who hesitated because they did not want to be considered racists. For decades, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have wielded the threat against whatever body they wished to extort concessions from; monetary and otherwise. They are by no means the only ones; just those who were the most naked in using it as a tool.

This threat is a blunt and ironically an indiscriminate weapon, even on those occasions when it might be justified. The social and professional penalties to being called a racist, most especially if you are of the Caucasian variety of human are sufficiently damaging to discourage most inadvertent social displays. Indeed, I suspect that most such displays are either of the micro variety and are more in the imagination of the offended, or that massive quantities of alcohol – or some kind of provocation on the part of the offended have been involved. In the larger sense, the threat is more a means of social control – a weapon to be used with a free hand in social media, in academia, among news organizations, political campaigns, and in government; wherever there is something to be gained by its’ use. We might yet be at a point where it is blunted by overuse; in that a lot of white people may just not care anymore.

I suggest this, because the accusations have become so ear-splittingly shrill of late. White people who are not in the arts, academia, the media, employed outside of the government or a large corporation, who have lives outside of social media – it is possible they do not care any more if some shakedown artist on Twitter says they are a racist. What will happen, do you think, when the old reliable tool, the accusation of racism doesn’t work anymore?

In the story quoted above, the cobra guardian of the trove where the ankus originated, claims that death follows the bejeweled elephant goad. It turns out that the guardian is correct. Discuss, as you wish.

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