I made a group called The Science Enthusiasts initially as a “writer’s group” for the page to help with content for the page. While the group is quite large now, at the time of the original post, it only had a few hundred people in it.
I posted this meme into The Science Enthusiasts group (which is a private, closed group) on Wednesday to encourage discussion as to if/why it’s racist. Followers of my page know very well that I’m a huge fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson (and equality/civil rights in general), evidenced here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Here, too. Oh, and I also did a blog post.
The graphic itself is a quote setting of something clearly Dr. Tyson never actually said himself.
The caption was something along the lines of “Am I a horrible person for laughing at this?”
Hold onto your rage there, Internet! Let’s talk about the graphic itself first:
The “but it do” meme originated from Oscar Gamble, a former Major League Baseball player. Oscar was commenting on racism prevalent in MLB at the time. The putative meaning of the phrase is “They incorrectly believe that this is an atypical state of affairs.”
What the creator of the meme (Black Science Man– not me as Tim led you to believe) did was take the original quote, “They Don’t Think It Be Like It Is, But It Do” and put “the universe” in it. Intentional or not (it’s completely intentional), this exemplifies the central theme Dr. Tyson attempts to communicate.
A few quotes from Dr. Tyson:
The Universe doesn’t care what you believe. The wonderful thing about science is that it doesn’t ask for your faith, it just asks for your eyes.
The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.
The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.
The meme posted above, paired with the original “but it do” quote, exactly describes these thoughts. The Universe does not care about you or what you believe in; the Universe exists and does not owe you anything.
The meme itself was created by a former admin for the page Tysonism (a great page dedicated to Dr. Tyson) who currently runs the page Black Science Man (it should be noted that BSM has never had any affiliation with Tysonism). Black Science Man’s page makes fun of people that are racist in a satirical manner. It is the antithesis of racist. That’s what the humor is- the ridiculousness of racism, mocking how racists think about non-white people. We’re laughing at racists. Satire isn’t always easy for some to understand.
Finally, the absolute absurdity of the statement itself in the graphic clearly identifies it as a joke. The graphic is funny. It’s making fun of racists.
A Tiny Bit About Tim
Tim Wise is an “anti-racist” author who touts that he has done over 600 speeches about “methods for addressing and dismantling White racism in their institutions.” Tim has written eight books on the subject and made a DVD about it as well.
Tim also has YouTube videos, where he sounds more like a televangelist than an informative speaker. Tim attempts to present himself as a moral entrepreneur- an apologist for white people. And I agree with him on many of these ideas. Racism is still an issue in the US. There are countless stories from just this year (like the ones herehereherehere and here) that illustrate this.
Tim is a social justice warrior (or SJW). He thrives on the opportunity to make somebody look bad in an attempt to self-promote himself and make himself look good so he can sell more books.
That time I got doxed.
Doxing is when you broadcast someone’s personal identifying information over the internet. Basically, it’s cyberbullying.
The noble Tim Wise decided to dox me last night. I don’t think he knew I had a page and a website (though one click on my profile on the “A Science Enthusiast” link would have given that away). At the time, Tim had about 138,000 followers on his page.
Unbeknownst to me (as it went to my “other” inbox on Facebook), prior to the doxing, Tim issued a stern warning to me:
Tim let me know that I am a “pathetic fuck.” He also thought I was a child at the time, and not even that could hold him back.
i [sic] hope black folks run your ass off of FB.
So Tim, a self-proclaimed champion of people of color (POC), has called upon his followers to do his bidding, and he refers to them as “black folks.” How ironic.
His followers weighed in on that thought.
The backpedalling began by Tim almost immediately. So Tim’s message is now “run him off of Facebook with knowledge, insight, and clarity” (after the very first thing I said to him was to call him a pathetic fuck). Got it.
And then it becomes evident that this is not actually about racism to Tim – it’s about his ego.
I had quite a few people leaving comments on a post that was public on my personal page. I deleted the post, leaving only these two posts showing publicly:
… And to my surprise, the comments on my personal page stopped. Interesting what context can do, no? The post on the left is on my site here.
A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on.
A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on. I’m not saying Tim is a fraud, but he sure as hell seems like a fraud.
In life, knee-jerk reactions are often not the most intelligent ones. Take note, Tim.
Life must be exhausting for you Tim, constantly searching for something to be outraged by.
(And as a little side bar here, can we address the “marching band shaming” that Tim and a select few of his followers engaged in? What’s the attempt to ostracize me for an activity I was involved in about here? Doesn’t that seem a bit ironic, engaging in talk about a stereotype for musicians? Tim, you’re a hypocrite. I’m a former music educator. Tim, doyoureallynotknowthecountlessbenefitsofmusiceducation? It’swelldocumented. Also Tim, that is an ad hominem attack.)
So let’s recap:
1.I posted a graphic (which I did not create) to a closed group that I run.
2.The graphic was posted to encourage discussion of the graphic itself and racism.
3.Someone within the group shared it with Tim, or Tim deliberately sought it out. Tim went out of his way to try to bully me in a private message.
4.Tim then doxed me without talking to me about it.
5.Tim referred to his followers as “black folks” and instructed them to do his bidding (the irony).
6.Tim double downed on his statements and instead of apologizing, said “I’m sorry for my tone, but not really.”
No, Tim. That’s not good enough. You can’t treat people like that.
For one, you’re trying to represent yourself as a moral entrepreneur, which you’ve clearly demonstrated you’re not.
As a self professed expert on dismantling the institutions of white racism, you are precisely the sort of person who should know better than make use of its most terrifying tool of maintaining power: mob violence.
Beyond the sheer overreaction on your part, it is the very fact that you, in the name of fighting white racism, immediately and without reservation reached for the tool that it has most effectively used to silence its victims and detractors.
Tim, you can’t hear 5% of a conversation and fill in the blank with the rest of your imagination. You can’t attempt to start a dialogue with insults and a threat, then expect to have a constructive discussion. You can’t try to be a keyboard warrior against “some marching band kid” (but you’re willing to go after and dox a child? Good on you, Tim).
I had quite a few of Tim’s followers message me on my personal page, and I made it a point to respond to every single one. The ones that replied to me were all calm and apologetic for you, Tim. You have good followers. They deserve better than to be manipulated like this.
In science, we form opinions based on evidence. If we do not have sufficient evidence to support our opinion, or especially if we know we have incomplete evidence, we don’t form an opinion. My favorite part about science is its willingness to change based on new evidence.
You formed your opinion with 5% of the evidence. That’s not how intelligent people conduct themselves.
You were a bully while trying to champion against bullying.
You’re better than this, Tim.
Here are some other comments left on Tim’s page hosted on Imgur.