Call Out Hate, Not Faux Pas
"A related concern was raised by Ezra Klein and Chris Hayes in a podcast conversation where they agreed that while objecting to racism or other bigotries is important—as deBoer would agree—the left must take care, as the universe of things deemed problematic continues to expand, that it doesn’t stray into enforcing elite manners against people who mean no harm and harbor no hate when violating them. What’s more, it must be better at clarifying why some of what may strike observers as mere elite manners is, in fact, a substantive good that deserves to be emphasized.
As they put it:
Hayes: Issues of social justice have been understood by large parts of the populace as essentially elite manners.
Klein: Which, they sometimes have that dimension.
Hayes: Those two things are bound together. So if you watch a farce, the person at the dinner party who doesn’t know which fork to use, that’s who you root for. And in our politics a huge part of the population has understood what I think are––what are––genuine struggles for social justice and equality as essentially elite manners. Michelle Goldberg makes this great point. And it was my experience as well. She was like, ‘When I would go to rallies, a lot of people told me about political correctness and almost no one told me about NAFTA.’ It was the violations of the taboos that people liked, at least the hard core supporters who would go to the rallies, more than trade. Because at some level, their understanding of it, it was the person at the dinner party with everyone with their fine china and their 9 different kinds of forks just drinking the soup out of the bowl. And it was like, that’s my dude.
And precisely for the reasons you identify.
Precisely because there’s been this way in which the cosmopolitan elites, the guardians of culture, the people that cluster in these urban centers, have a set of social values and social taboos that I think are informed by genuine commitments toward justice, but also have this aspect of elite manners and that are understood by huge parts of society as elite manners."