FAIR Spotlight is where we share the reasons our members give for supporting FAIR’s pro-human mission. If you would like to share the reasons you support FAIR, please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we are spotlighting FAIR member Henry Gonzales and his reasons for supporting FAIR.
My name is Henry. I am a husband, a father, a human.
My name is Henry. I am a husband, a father, a human.
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. My early youth in a developing country taught me that life is hard and full of suffering—I’ve seen abject poverty first-hand. I am also keenly aware that the societal ills of intolerance and racism are not unique to the United States, nor endemic only to those labeled as “whites”—it is a human frailty.
Emigrating to the United States as a teen in the mid 80’s was difficult. It opened my eyes to the reality of what it is like to be an outsider in society; to not be adept at speaking the native language and to be subjected to ridicule because my accent. Sometimes, looking a certain way led to feeling stripped of my unique, individual nationality and being lumped in with other peoples, not American, not always in a favorable way.
Dr. Pauli Murray, an American civil rights activist, lawyer, women's rights activist, Episcopal priest, and author, beautifully and eloquently expressed: "When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them.” Over the past 36 years, I have drawn that bigger circle to embrace the culture and people to whom I was a stranger—they, America, in turn took me in, saw me for who I am and accepted me as one of their own. I am an American, both in citizenship and in spirit.
I am of Latino extraction and my skin is brown, but that isn’t what makes me me—nor is that the determinant of my successes or failures in life—not in this country. My father taught me that I am not a victim of circumstance, only of the limits that I place on my own potential. He wasn’t wrong.
Frederick Douglass, whom I think is deserving of the title of Founding Father, exclaimed in his seminal essay, Self-Made Man:
From these remarks it will be evident that, allowing only ordinary ability and opportunity, we may explain success mainly by one word and that word is WORK! WORK!! WORK!!! WORK!!!! Not transient and fitful effort, but patient, enduring, honest, unremitting and indefatigable work into which the whole heart is put, and which, in both temporal and spiritual affairs, is the true miracle worker. Everyone may avail himself of this marvelous power, if he will. There is no royal road to perfection.
Certainly no one must wait for some kind of friend to put a springing board under his feet, upon which he may easily bound from the first round of their ladder onward and upward to its highest round. If he waits for this, he may wait long, and perhaps forever. He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else.
The lesson taught at this point by human experience is simply this, that the man who will get up will be helped up; and the man who will not get up will be allowed to stay down. This rule may appear somewhat harsh, but in its general application and operation it is wise, just and beneficent. I know of no other rule which can be substituted for it without bringing social chaos. Personal independence is a virtue and it is the soul out of which comes the sturdiest manhood. But there can be no independence without a large share of self-dependence, and this virtue cannot be bestowed. It must be developed from within.
Today I live the life of my dreams: as a husband, father of six amazing children, and as a captain at a major U.S. Airline—I am not the victim of systemic oppression, I AM AMERICA! This society has availed me access to opportunity and educational resources, sufficient to attain my professional aspirations and live my dream as a professional pilot. I had to put in the work, but that is the beauty of this land of opportunity—everyone is allowed full participation in the pursuit of happiness .
You can only imagine, then, my alarm and dismay as I witness our noble society lose its way in a disastrous tailspin of moral panic and foundational disorientation. In the wake of the racial discord that has infiltrated our body politic, we seem to have lost sight of just how far we’d come as human beings getting along with one another.
The tragic death of George Floyd pierced a point of weakness in our moral immune system and into it, with unrelenting force and blinding rapidity, came a mind virus much more virulent than the one presently threatening our corporeal health. Our nice little social project of barely 245 years, namely the American experiment, is nearing an unreconcilable schism, bifurcated along two primary philosophical outlooks.
On the one hand, there’s the philosophy that one could reasonably track the gradual progress of race relations in America along the arc of justice, to a place very near in resemblance to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had envisioned in his historic “I have a dream” speech. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty darn close.
On the other, is the position that asserts that American society has, not only never really progressed beyond its white-over-black ascendant attitude of the 15th century but has, as a matter of course, been able to deliberately and surreptitiously embed its bigotry, through power and discourse, into the fabric of a cultural hegemony in ways that, anymore, simply feel normal and just. That whites have, not even intending to, marginalized entire outgroups of people as “other” (not-white), all the while duping them into internalizing their own oppression, leading them to develop a ‘false consciousness’ and blindness to their own state of subjugation; that racism never really went away but had, in fact, merely hid itself under the masks put forward in the form of the Civil Rights Act, the integration of blacks and other minoritized groups into full participation in American civic life, and even the election of a biracial man to the presidency of the United States of America—for two full terms, no less.
In the prescient words of Ayn Rand: “the uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side, and constant retreat on the other—until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.”
These two visions cannot, do not play well together. When one faction changes the language and abandons reason—liberalism’s most effective means of conflict resolution—the conversation ceases. Professor Jordan B. Peterson perhaps warned best when he said “when conversation ceases, war emerges.”
For the past year, I had been listening to myriad voices of worried intellectuals and experts that I felt spoke reasonably, and that came at the subject of Wokeness from a place of informed, honest analysis. Peter Boghossian, Coleman Hughes, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Steven Pinker,Douglas Murray, Shelby Steele, Abigail Shrier, Christopher Rufo, to name a few.
In my exasperation to find answers to what I had been witnessing, I came across the story of Jody Shaw. Her words expressed what I had been dying to yell out loud—I wasn’t crazy. My instincts were spot on. Something hideous has infected our body politic and we need to act.
I longed for the existence of an organized group—like-minded, influential voices to join mine to, so that I can begin the fight to reject the reinvention of racism by means of cultural subversion—enter F.A.I.R. Not only did I find the magnificent thing I’d been longing to find, all of the voices of reason, rationality and hope that I had been listening to were gathered together as its Board of Advisors. This could not be more perfect!
More importantly, they are people of all races and walks of life seeing what I’m seeing—the need to abandon the restoking of racial discord, and an urgency to come together as humans. F.A.I.R. is the embodiment of the very thing I had been looking to find. I want to reclaim Antiracism by truly being against racism, not a Kendian antiracist.
I worry that the ideology of resentment and grievance has affected my children through Critical Pedagogy in public education. For some of them, the mentality has already set in. That hurts deeply.
I am not a victim of oppression. My wife and children are not oppressors of anyone because of their race.
I am not an avatar of an identity group or race. I refuse to have my skin color linked to victimhood ideology; to expectations of how to act, think or behave; to mouthing empty platitudes.
I am human. That is why I support F.A.I.R.
FAIR Transparency is the "Glassdoor" for civil liberties, civil rights, and tolerance. Its aim is to help move our institutions towards the pro-human vision of Dr. Martin Luther King by encouraging anyone to submit reviews and reports for schools, corporations, universities, foundations, and other workplaces regarding policies, trainings, or incidents that are inconsistent with civil rights laws or divide rather than unite us.
A great many reports and reviews have been submitted thus far, and we are heartened by the positive response. As one example, a concerned parent reported that Spokane Public Schools plan to create school clubs whose leadership will be chosen based on skin color, and to hire a consulting firm based on skin color. FAIR wrote to the school district, expressing concern that these plans violate various civil rights laws and the U.S. Constitution. The district's general counsel responded within a few days, stating they will provide a substantive response by September 21.
We are encouraged that the district appears willing to engage and is taking our concerns seriously, and are hopeful that other organizations will do so as well.
See the parent’s initial letter (left) and a preview of FAIR’s response below (right).
Download the parent's letter and FAIR's full response to Spokane Public Schools below.