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Culture War Roundup for the week of December 12, 2022

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Google, the most influential and powerful search engine in America, which most Americans use when searching for product information, released a propaganda music video advising everyone to only buy from black people. Buy what, only from black people? Everything. During a specific day as a kind of protest? No, every single day of the year. This follows Google’s decision to artificially boost black-owned businesses on their Maps app, giving these businesses a special eye-catching symbol.

Buying All Black - Ludacris feat. Flo Milli (A Google #BlackOwnedFriday Anthem)

“It’s time to buy black. All day, every day. Choose black 24/7, 365.

The music video goes on to tell the audience to “buy black” thirty times, while the Google-funded music video showcases individuals searching for black-owned businesses of every variety, from restaurants to salons.

I for one, am less than enthusiastic about the hegemonic consumer search engine producing propaganda advising consumers to never shop at a white-owned business. I’m less concerned with the music video, which received 15 million impressions on YouTube alone (a Google product), than with the underlying sentiment that clearly permeates through the business. I’m afraid of what Google is doing behind the scenes in terms of showing services, and whether they are going to artificially reduce exposure to a business owned by the ancestor of an Irish slave, in favor of a wealthy and privileged Nigerian immigrant whose ancestors owned many slaves.

2.4% of US businesses are black owned, even accounting for significant fibbing on those surveys by businesses trying to claim to be black owned.

This just doesn't matter. It isn't going to hurt anyone, it probably won't really help anyone either. It is not at all comparable to a boycott of white owned businesses, let alone a boycott of Jewish owned businesses.

On one side of the Overton window, a thing is unthinkable, and only crazy people would worry about it.

On the other side of the Overton window, a thing is unquestionable, and only crazy people would try to oppose it.

If the definers of the Overton window narrow it enough, a thing can jump from unthinkable to unquestionable without debate about it ever being permitted. Sometimes the Overton window can even be shrunk past zero width, so that a thing can be unthinkable and unquestionable at once for a time. (You can notice this when a side argues that something could never happen and also that only monsters could oppose it. Of course, it's rarely the same individuals, but often they hold arbitrarily-similar views otherwise.)

So there is very little that gets my hackles up more than hearing somebody say that something someone brings up as worth worrying about is too unimportant. To me, it sounds very much like being told that "there's nothing to see here, go about your business, this is too unthinkable to lead to anything, the bounds of the Overton window will protect you! We'll let you know when you're allowed to think for yourself." Because I strongly suspect that time will be "never," (for why should important matters of basic human decency ever be subjected to the vagaries of public debate?)

The bounds of the Overton window will not, in fact, keep their shape unless people actually do care about maintaining them. And if caring makes me a crazy, well then, so be it.