By Jake Baum
For the Mitzpeh
Now that December is almost upon us, ‘tis the season for another round of conservatives stirring up outrage over a Starbucks cup. This time, however, the alt-right has taken the bait that Starbucks somehow manages to put out every year.
Starbucks recently released its unity cup, a green cup depicting about a hundred different people drawn in a single pencil stroke in order to bring the world together in the midst of a divisive election. However, Conservative Christian groups jumped on the opportunity to criticize the corporation for its omission of an explicitly Christmas-themed cup from its lineup again this year, even though it was only the beginning of November.
This time the alt-right movement, given its propensity to claim victimhood with the reasoning that “white identity is under attack,” decided to join in. They somehow managed to associate the unity cup with support for Hillary Clinton, making any sort of excuse to be outraged at a company that has done nothing but promote altruism, sustainability and international harmony throughout its time as the favorite coffeehouse of many.
While Starbucks already had a plan, even before the conservative backlash, to release a whole line of Christmas cups based on consumers’ alterations of last year’s red ones, the damage is already done.
Why do these conservative groups get so outraged over a cup? Well, in a country marked by its immense progress in the area of minority rights over the course of the Obama administration, conservative Christians and alt-right followers alike have attempted to play the role of the victim. In a world that was entirely set up by them and for their benefit, somehow, they see minority progress (LGBT rights, acknowledgement of other religions and values, etc.) as a fundamental attack on their rights. This idea was perfectly embodied in the contradiction that is President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan – “Make America Great Again.” What time period do they mean by that, exactly? Before same sex marriage was put into law? Before the doctrine of “separate but equal” was determined unconstitutional? Before women had the right to vote? When was America so much greater in their eyes?
As a Jew, I’m constantly dumbfounded by the obsessive backlash (or “whitelash”) put on by conservative Christians that is so characteristic of every era following dramatic minority progress. During the Holocaust, Jews were mercilessly sent to their deaths in a system bent on exterminating them, and you take offense that the US government is finally taking down your historically-present (and frequently used) right to discriminate? Playing the victim because someone has dared to challenge your ability to victimize others isn’t reasonable,it’s nonsense.
This is not a white country, it is not a Christian country, and it is not a country that is out to get you. The so-called “globalist agenda” is not out to get you; it is only there to show you that there’s more to the world than what you can see from a religious point of view. The fight against “political correctness” (or human decency) has created a false narrative in which the historically oppressed have been somehow painted as oppressors because they’ve dared the question the oppressive system into which they were born.
Isn’t it ironic, though, that those who claim the left has become “too sensitive” or “too politically correct” are the same people whose belief is so fragile that it can be threatened by a Starbucks cup? That’s hypocritical, and not a narrative that I want anything to do with.
Jake is a senior international business major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.