Covid-19 Accidental Release Theory: Maybe Not So “Batty” After All…

Advanced Warning: This article is longer than usual and contains more technical language and concepts. I created a glossary at the end to help with new terms and concepts… If anyone is more scientifically versed in this subject I’d love to hear your perspective and expertise! Also any scientific corrections if I misunderstood something 🙂

Since Covid-19 emerged a little over a year ago, it’s been pretty clear that while the virus poses a significant public health risk, much of the hype has been overblown for political reasons, many of which I covered in detail before in previous posts. Now, with several vaccines rolling out and many becoming fully vaccinated, the country is starting to open up again and becoming more cautiously optimistic. However we are not out of the woods yet, and the scientific community is doing research not only in stopping the current pandemic, but preventing future ones. This all sounds like great news, except for one not so little hurdle: Pressure to reach politically desirable conclusions! Science should be an impartial, politically neutral process of discovering more about our world and bettering humanity, but as it’s done by people it is tainted with our all too human bias more than many care to admit. Questions still remain about how the virus was able to become such a virulent strain and infect the globe.

There are two main theories for how Covid-19 originated:

1. It was transmitted naturally from a non-human animal species, in this case a bat, to humans: This theory is the “mainstream” one and supports the idea that in Wuhan, China bats being sold in the wet markets over there had the coronavirus and it jumped to humans. Many viruses do this naturally and there are numerous examples with other coronaviruses such as the earlier SARS1 which causes an outbreak in 2002 and MERS which caused an outbreak in 2012, both originating in bats. As it is very common for viruses to mutate or recombine and evolve changes so they go from one species to another, on its face, this theory seems very plausible (and the mot politically desirable!).

2. It was accidentally leaked from a laboratory studying novel coronaviruses during research: This theory is considered the conspiracy fringe theory by the mainstream media and liberal organizations such as the CDC and WHO. Why then, is it even worthy of consideration then? This is where more scientific evidence comes in, as well as political motives for favoring the natural theory. Despite mainstream rejection, there are several compelling arguments supporting the lab accident theory enough to while not “prove” it, strongly favor it.

Gain-of-Function Mutation Experiments Explained | Freethink

An article from The Bulletin titled “The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?” lays out the case for it most likely being a laboratory accident in deeper scientific detail and is worth the read! As it has some very technical language and concepts, I’ll lay out some of the most compelling arguments they make to support the possibility it could have been accidentally released.

The Point of Origin

The mainstream theory argues that Covid-19 originated from bats in the wet market in Wuhan, China. Cases did indeed begin in Wuhan, however there is evidence potential earlier cases in Wuhan were not linked to the wet market or bats. However, the Wuhan Institute of Virology is in Wuhan, and studies coronaviruses similar to Covid-19. Other geographic concerns arise too as the closest variants of coronaviruses to Covid-19 are in a species of bat in Yunnan. Evidence would support a naturally occurring jump if people around Yunnan were among the first cases, and that species of bat doesn’t travel too far. Wuhan is 1,500 km away from Yunnan, way too far for those bats to travel. Of course, someone who was in Yunnan could have traveled to Wuhan that was infected, but why then was no one infected by them along the way for a fairly infectious virus? Geographically speaking, it is possible, but less plausible for Covid-19 to have originated in bats so far away then come to Wuhan, whereas there is a lab studying viruses just like it in Wuhan.

Wuhan, Center of Coronavirus Outbreak, Is Being Cut Off by Chinese  Authorities - The New York Times

One of These Things is Not Like The Other?

Some argue that there are no signs the virus was manipulated by humans. Indeed, in the past it was more obvious for scientists to tell if a virus’ genome was “cut and pasted”. Now however, it can be done undetectably through what is called “seamless” methods or a process called serial passage, where viruses are grown in a series of cell cultures until the right changes are made. With both methods of engineering a virus one can’t tell it whether was made in a lab or not. This sounds like evidence for the natural occurrence theory, but it also means that you can’t conclude it wasn’t lab made due to the absence of detectable signs of artificial creation. This simply means it can be done in a lab without being detected.

NIH researchers identify key genomic features that could differentiate  SARS-CoV-2 from other coronaviruses that cause less severe disease |  National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Mousey In The Middle?

Viruses that jump from non-human animals to humans often have an intermediary host. This is another species the virus evolves to infect before going onto infecting humans. In the SARS1 outbreak that host was an animal called a civet. For the MERS outbreak the intermediary host was a camel. It is less likely for viruses to do one big leap from animals such as bats, directly to humans. However, no intermediary host was found for Covid-19 in nature. The more likely explanation could be that if the virus was designed to target human cells such a leap wouldn’t be needed and there actually was a known host: Laboratory grown “humanized” mice processing the (human) target protein for the virus! The natural way for the leap to occur is not impossible, but much more implausible.

A SARS-CoV-2 Infection Model in Mice Demonstrates Protection by  Neutralizing Antibodies - ScienceDirect

Signs of Artificial Manipulation

Every virus has a very specific structure that binds to a target protein on the surface of the cell it wants to infect. It is like a key to a specific lock to get inside a locked door, in this case, a cell. Once inside, the virus insets its own genetic code into the cell so the cell itself will make more of the virus. Viruses then burst out of the cell, killing the cell and go on to infect more cells repeating the process again, and again and again throughout the body. For Covid-19, it has a specific spike protein as its “key” to bind to a specific protein on human respiratory cells called ACE2. Another part of the spike protein then helps Covid-19 fuse with the cell’s membrane once let inside. These two components, called S1 and S2 respectively, need to be separated for each to do its task and the site where that happens is unique to Covid-19 compared with other coronaviruses. This very specific spot where both parts are separated is called a Furin cleavage site, but other coronaviruses split their spike proteins in a different location using a different way. Human cells have a protein called Furin that cleaves both hence the name. A mutation could have happened to Covid-19 to give it this unique site, but it is highly unlikely and not common in viruses like it. If it evolved gradually there would be evidence in case histories of people who got sick. As other viruses don’t need a Furin cleavage site to do the exact same thing, there is no evolutionary pressure to naturally select for such a site. However, the virology community is very familiar with well known literature on how to make more virulent strains by creating a Furin cleavage site in experiments to develop vaccines and get ahead of the game in anticipating naturally occurring deadlier strains.

Further oddities are in regards to the structure of the Furin cleavage site itself. As you may remember from school, DNA has four nucleic acids: Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine represented by the letters A, T, C, and G (RNA has Uracil, or U instead of T for Thymine). A codon is a combo of three of these letters and stands in for an amino acid. Stringing several codons together which make up different amino acids, gives the instructions or recipe for a protein. In short, three nucleic acids make a codon, codons make amino acids and amino acids make proteins. Think of it like letters make words, and words make sentences and so on. Different organisms can have preferred codons for making amino acids as several different codons can code for one amino acid. A part of the Furin cleavage site has the amino acid arginine, which can made with codons CGT, CGC or CGG in humans. CGG is the least popular codon to make arginine in other viruses but is popular for humans and guess what else? Covid-19! Why does Covid-19 share a preferred codon that humans use but not viruses related to it? In fact, it has two CGG codons in a row in the Furin cleavage site and this is not found in any other coronavirus like Covid-19! Guess which codon is also popular to use in labs studying viruses in humans? CGG…

Hidden states of the COVID-19 spike protein | EurekAlert! Science News

Laboratory Safety Concerns and Other Cases of Escapes

Laboratories that work with such dangerous biohazards like deadly virus strains have varying degrees of stringent safety levels depending on the risk level. These go through levels 1 through 4 with 4 being the most stringent. Most scientists work in conditions below level 4, as level 4 requires a full hazmat suit and working in closed airtight chambers making work cumbersome, hard to see and twice as long to do. The labs working on coronaviruses can have safety levels around level 2, the same as the average dentist’s office in terms of biohazard safety! Even in more stringent labs, viruses have escaped and cased real harm including smallpox, and SARS1 which escaped not one, but four times from a lab in Beijing! It is very plausible for an accidental escape to happen even in the best labs, so even more so in a lab with less stringent precautions. Wuhan’s lab had level 4 facilities but these were subpar upon inspections and researchers try to work at a levels that are less stringent for convenience.

I study coronavirus in a highly secured biosafety lab – here's why I feel  safer here than in the world outside

Research into Viruses Like Covid-19 is Becoming More Common

With all the extreme risk involved and the easy potential for deadly new strains to fall into the wrong hands, why on earth would anyone want to make more deadly strains? The answer lies in being prepared ahead of time for a naturally occurring one. If we can make a vaccine for a deadlier strain we create, it would likely work on a similar deadly strain naturally occurring in the future, or at least we’d know how to make vaccines faster. The reason why we were able to get Covid-19 vaccines so fast is thanks to this type of research. Many virologists do experiments called Gain of Function Experiments that are designed to make viruses more virulent and transmissible to serve as models to make vaccines against. As explained earlier, there are several signs Covid-19 has of having been used in gain of function experiments in labs such as that unique codon sequence CGG that is commonly used in labs but not naturally occurring as well as its spike protein’s Furin cleavage site also not naturally occurring in coronaviruses like it but commonly used in such experiments. With such research being so popular, it is statistically more probable for more accidental leaks to happen for labs the world over of deadly strains. Just as it is common in nature for viruses to leap species to species, now it is probable for viruses in countless labs to be released by accident. Covid-19 shows several signs of being artificially manipulated like others in labs and while is it possible some could have sprung up naturally it is far less likely several did all at once!

73 Indian Pharmacist Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Science isn’t The Only Thing In This Debate

Sadly scientific controversies are often beyond just scientific: When Galileo had his dispute with the Catholic Church, you can bet it wasn’t just theology on the table! Politics and science have had a very troubled past and science is not free by any means from the desires of others without pure motives of inquiry and discovery. By arguing Covid-19 was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan lab, it puts China in a very bad light and had deep political ramifications for international relations with China. As it was clearly seen early on in the pandemic, associating Covid-19 with China at all was deemed politically incorrect including calling it Wuhan virus despite many other pathogens being named after places, such as Zika virus, Ebola, Spanish Flu, Lyme disease etc… Of course unfairly scapegoating one place or people is wrong as said before, ANY lab can have a leak, not just labs in China! However the WHO has ties with China and others who denounced an accidental release theory have had conflicts of interest with labs like Wuhan’s involving funding and grants which could be jeopardized if they come to unsavory conclusions. However covering it up to protect the interests of one group only hurts the global community as if it is true it was accidental and not naturally occurring, other labs around the world should learn from their mistakes so it won’t happen again. With so much pressure to deny an accidental release possibility, the adamant refusals to even consider such a possibility are not based in science but political bias and unethical coverup.

These are just a few points brought up in that very long but excellent article! To read further into the arguments in detail and probably explained better than I’ve done, go take a look 🙂 I’ll leave you with this though: They clearly state from the beginning there is no conclusive proof either way for Covid-19 being naturally occurring or a laboratory leak. Just strong evidence pointing towards what they argue, to be an accidental release by a lab. So I’ll leave it with you to decide for yourself what you think happened. You can easily find arguments against their analysis by any mainstream media, the CDC and WHO. But don’t let arguments from authority sway you: Let the science do the persuading!


Glossary

ACE2: The protein on the cell’s surface Covid-19’s spike protein binds with to infect the cell.

Amino Acid: Building blocks that make up proteins, made with codons. Humans have 20 different types to make our thousands of proteins.

Biohazard Level: Laboratory safety levels according to risk of biohazards such as deadly pathogens. These levels go from 1 to 4, 4 being most stringent.

Codon: A string of three nucleotides that code for an amino acid. Importantly in this case, different organisms can have different preferences for which codons to use to code for specific amino acids. Example: CGG is preferred to code for arginine in humans but not naturally in other coronaviruses except Covid-19, and it is common in labs to use human codons.

Coronaviruses: A family of virus species Covid-19 is part of along with others such as MERS and SARS. Research has been done pre-Covid with other coronaviruses that helped with Covid-19 research.

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic Acid. The “building block of life” and carries genetic instructions for organisms.

Furin Cleavage Site: The site where Covid-19’s spike protein can be split into two separate units, one to bind with the target protein on the cell’s surface and the other to fuse with the cell membrane afterwards. Other coronaviruses use a different site than Covid-19. Furin is the protein on human cells that separates both parts.

Gain of Function Experiment: An experiment done in laboratories to make a virus more potent and contagious so it can be used to develop vaccines for deadly strains.

Humanized Mouse: A laboratory bred mouse that has the human version of the ACE2 protein Covid-19 binds with to infect the host organism used in research. This is an ethical alternative to testing on human subjects.

Intermediary Host: An animal that is the organism between a virus jumping from the initial host species to humans. This was not found yet for Covid-19 but known for other coronaviruses. Example: SARS1 jumped from bats, to civets, then to humans. Civets are the intermediary host.

Mutation: A change in the genetic code of an organism often by accident that alters it. Viruses mutate often creating various strains.

Natural Selection: A process where certain traits are selected for in nature if they give an organism an advantage over others without the trait. Viruses can develop traits that give it an edge over a competing strain, but it is more random and less precise than specifically targeted traits created in labs.

Nucleotide: Basic building blocks of DNA and RNA, three make a codon to code for an amino acid. They are Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine. Uracil takes the place of Thymine in RNA.

RNA: Ribonucleic Acid. Some viruses use RNA instead of DNA. RNA can be coded into DNA and vice versa so scientists take advantage of this as it is easier to work with DNA.

Seamless Methods: Ways to alter viral genomes without it being obvious the virus has been artificially manipulated by scientists.

Serial Passage: A method in laboratories for developing viruses by growing them successively in a series of cultures until desired traits are achieved. Both seamless methods and serial passage can make it unknowable if a virus has been altered by humans so one cannot conclude it was not altered simply by lack of signs of human intervention.

Spike Protein: A specialized protein on the surface of a virus to allow it to gain entry into a cell.

Target Protein: A protein on a cell’s surface the virus binds to in order to infect the cell.

Virology: The study of viruses.

We Need to Cancel “Cancel Culture”…

By now pretty much everyone has heard of the term “cancel culture”. From your favorite stores, restaurants, movies, books, public figures, and even famous historical figures, no one is immune! One misstep or slip dredged up from your past, one “wrong” idea, that stupid thing you did you have a pic of from literally decades ago, and boom! you’ve been cancelled by the mob! “Off, off with his/her/their head!” is the new rallying cry in the Left’s woke cultural revolution. Some prominent examples include cancelling various books by beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, cancelling public figures because they wore an ill thought out costume decades ago as a young and dumb college student, tearing down statues and erasing history out of school curriculum, deciding that classic literature and movies aren’t woke enough for not holding contemporary woke ideas, boycotting various businesses and brands and essentially wanting to eliminate anything one can possibly think of that isn’t woke enough for the Left.

Is 'Cancel Culture' Killing Free Exchange of Ideas? | Voice of America -  English

It’s one thing to think of a well thought out boycott for an actually relevant issue or to choose not to be consumers of products that will directly go against your values, but the thing that defines this new cancel culture craze is just how insane and insignificant the reasons for these boycotts are. This is especially important for things produced before many of our contemporary ideas around “social justice” formed. Is it really fair to judge someone based off cultural values that they were never exposed to? Is it reasonable to disregard the reasons why that person was so important to our history and all the good they accomplished just because they weren’t necessarily a saint? Just because someone who lived in a different era and culture had an opinion we now find outdated, or even immoral doesn’t mean we should refuse to see what we can learn from them that still will help us today. What is so wrong with acknowledging the bad but emphasizing the good? There is a middle ground between undue glorification and demonization.

On a related note, what are we to make of those who are still with us who have in their past, made an un-woke move? Must we cancel them because they wore an insensitive costume to a party 40 years ago in college? Or had a faux pas but owned up to it and apologized sincerely? We all know now that what you post online stays forever, and that your actions can easily be carved in virtual stone by others, but think about when these decades old “offending” pictures were taken. There was no internet before surprisingly recently. A goofy pic in a yearbook from the 70’s was never expected to circulate beyond you and your classmates and come on, tell me with a straight face you never made an off color joke, or did an off color thing in the presence of your close friend group in your youth. Can you? Really? Now one could argue that just because people accepted certain things doesn’t make them any less hurtful, but think of it this way: some things that are considered socially taboo now weren’t then. So there is a good likelihood that the person who did whatever “insensitive” thing it was that makes you want to cancel them today wasn’t intending to be deliberately offensive. Until the whole frenzy over cultural appropriation came out in recent years, did you think twice about dressing up as another culture for Halloween, or an Indian at Thanksgiving as a child? Did it even cross your mind it could be offensive before the Left started making an issue out of it?

What about when the mob decides it’s a stellar idea to cancel people who contribute to the world though science and scholarship? Anyone in modern academia knows the peril they face if they have research and conclusions that don’t support the Left’s narrative. Just look at cases where transgender research with un-PC conclusions against the gender ideology narrative are supported, an evolutionary biologist was blacklisted from academic circles for asserting biological sex is not a social construct or even COVID research against the current agenda. What a shame it is when real knowledge that could help people and help us understand reality (the actual reality!) is squashed in the name of a socially engineered agenda. There’s no doubt science has been misused and politicized throughout history, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue the trend!

Cancel Culture' Comes to Science - WSJ

Another dimension of cancel culture involves businesses and products. I personally prefer businesses trying to sell us stuff be politically and ideologically neutral, but in this increasingly polarized country, some feel there are profits to be made by catering to a specific ideological group. I also feel that it is okay to choose which companies you buy from and support and choose ones that don’t do something that offends your values. However, the Left takes this to an unhealthy extreme, where even the slightest provocation to them calls for a boycott! A prime example is the Left’s smear campaign against Chick-Fil-A due to the owner being a traditional Christian and alleged anti-LGBTQ stances. I personally am not against same sex relationships or marriage, and disagree with religious reasoning behind their objections, but am not about to throw a fit that some people disagree with it on religious grounds. If you personally don’t want to eat there because you feel strongly about LGBTQ issues that’s fine, but when entire cities try to ban Chick-Fil-A from their borders I think that’s way over the top! Who are these mayors that think they should have the right to dictate which opinions and stances everyone else has too on the matter? For more mundane reasons, recently CVS was in the cancel culture firing line over guess what? A dispute with a vendor over birth control costs that got turned into a women’s rights issue. Even the Left leaning magazine Slate acknowledged that the issue was not deserving of the knee jerk reaction to cancel CVS. On the flip side, I am annoyed with just how many businesses that decided to go woke to try and bring in more sales. Does Oreo really have to lecture us on trans-pronouns and browbeat in our heads that biological sex has no relevance? Does an ice cream company like Ben and Jerry’s really have to condescendingly tell me just how un-woke I am if I don’t subscribe to the (left)most extreme version of any social issue? Does a men’s razor company need to tell men how to be a better man?

Conservatives Attack Wrong Group for Oreo's LGBT-Inclusive 'Pronoun Packs'

Those are just three examples out of hundreds that send their self-righteous woke messages about how privileged you are, and that our country is infested with racism, sexism, etc… There’s a time and place to engage in these big and relevant issues, but is it the time when I buy your product in order to wind down and simply enjoy myself and escape the world’s troubles? That said, being more Left-leaning alone is not grounds for me to boycott them. I don’t cancel people simply because they happen to disagree with me. This entire mindset of the knee jerk reaction to anything that challenges our views is unhealthy and unproductive to produce positive changes in society. It only makes us more divided and polarized. I do have certain limits though: I won’t buy anything directly benefiting a Leftist cause I object to. I still buy Ben and Jerry’s and Oreos in general because I like to eat their products. However, I won’t buy anything from them with special packaging advocating wokeness or Leftist narratives (sorry Ben and Jerry’s “Pecan Resist” flavor). Also, if I can find alternatives that have more neutral or conservative messaging I’ll jump to those, such as buying from the Ivanka Trump clothing line over a left leaning fashion brand for example.

Ben & Jerry's calls on Americans to defund the police in Juneteenth message  – Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

These examples don’t cover the full extent of this problem. Cancel culture is pervading every facet of our society, bringing with it an atmosphere of hostility and walking on eggshells lest someone be “triggered”. More serious consequences beyond just ideological warfare include the loss of a person’s livelihood over one “wrong” opinion or simple mistake being twisted into character defamation, our next generation learning a distorted version of history and then going on to having a distorted view of our country and end up despising it, a collective purge of our cultural heritage when classic literature and films are cancelled in the name of wokeness to name a few. In this climate of political and ideological hysteria, no one is safe! On a final note, you can’t advocate for cancel culture then mock conservatives for deciding to boycott all those virtue signaling companies that go against our values! Cancel culture may be justified- Until they cancel you! So, how do you like being on the other end of it?

If we have to cancel something, let’s cancel Cancel Culture!

Cancel culture's guillotine

What Does it Mean to Be “Affirmed”?

I’ve been thinking on this a while: What does it mean to be affirmed? You know, like the buzzword the Left loves to use to get everyone on board with one of their latest agendas. The official definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

Affirm (verb)
af·​firm | \ ə-ˈfərm \
affirmed; affirming; affirms

1 a: VALIDATE, CONFIRM
He was affirmed as a candidate.
b: to state positively
He affirmed his innocence.


2: to assert (something, such as a judgment or decree) as valid or confirmed
The court affirmed his conviction.


3: to show or express a strong belief in or dedication to (something, such as an important idea)
laws affirming the racial equality of all people

I think the closest definitions the Left uses is #1. to validate someone, such as their identity. The Left loves to speak of how the “affirm” this group or that group based on identity, or “affirm” their commitments to diversity and the like. Now, I think we can all agree that affirmation of identities we hold personally significant, or the affirmation of a fair minded principle is no cause for objection. By human nature, we all want to feel welcomed and respected by others, and feel included. We want our values and choices affirmed by others. If that is all affirmation is, then why hold objections or reservations? Thing is of course, there’s always a catch 😉 Perhaps the better question is what isn’t affirmation?

For the first common use of what it means to be affirmed in the eyes of the Left, affirming one’s identity, they make it sound like one can only be “affirmed” in society if their group is given complete deference free from any sort of criticism or critique and that their opinions are treated as infallible edicts! A common example is the use of “affirm” in relation to LGBTQ groups. Many people and institutions declare they’re LGBTQ affirming, and most moderates interpret it to simply mean that LGBTQ people are welcome there, and won’t be discriminated against and treated with respect. Now the majority including myself, have absolutely no objections to that definition of affirmation for any group. I don’t object to same-sex marriage or to the existence of LGBTQ people and believe they deserve the same respect as everyone else. However, I draw the line at special privileges such as taking affirmation to mean that if someone has a criticism of the LGBTQ community, such as the nature of its often far left-leaning political activism for one example, they are automatically “homophobic” and non-affirming! Just because someone critiques LGBTQ as an identity to use in identity politics doesn’t mean they’re against people choosing same sex relationships or marriage as a personal life decision.

On a related note, regarding the “T” for transgender in LGBTQ, affirmation should not mean bending biological facts or enacting laws that disregard physical gender differences or the opportunity for non- transgender people to take advantage of trans-friendly laws for their own nefarious intentions (i.e. women’s bathrooms opening to biological males). Transgender people deserve respect and compassion and the right to be free from harassment and persecution as much as anyone else. I am not arguing for segregation or ostracism of transgender people from society. However, affirming their “right” to deny biological, physical and physiological realities as genetic males and females despite their new gender identity is where I draw a line. Sure, many transgender men and women can live lives that for the most part, harm no one or impede upon anyone else’s freedom. That does not mean issues such as bathroom access, or sports for trans women, or certain careers for trans men that require increased physical strength and stamina don’t exist and whose implications and unintended consequences can be denied. Do I think genuinely trans men and women have some nefarious intent in pushing for breaking these boundaries? No. They want a life according to their gender identity and I can understand that. However unintended consequences such as non-transgender (regular old cis-gender) men taking advantage of transgender laws to gain access to women’s spaces, or be able to beat every other female in an all women’s sport are still here regardless of intent. What about a trans man wanting to be in an elite SEAL unit but not having the requisite physical strength and stamina as other men? Must we admit him or lower the bar so “he” can get a spot on the team? Does affirming the transgender community mean we must affirm even the unintended consequences of their desires? Can we show them respect and affirmation without infringing on other’s rights?

What about affirming the “lived experiences” of many minority groups most often, that claim we live in a country steeped in white supremacy and racism? Do I think everyone who has had a bad experience is lying or wrong? No, certainly bias and prejudice does exist! However, there can be other explanations, other factors for why someone had a negative interaction aside from racism and bias. For a few examples:

Someone could have had a bad day and took it out on you unintentionally.

Someone was in a rush so they didn’t see you when you said hi.

Someone had a completely different reason for a disagreement or conflict with you that had nothing to do with your race or ethnicity.

Someone said a comment they had no idea would come off as offensive or insensitive to you.

You weren’t truly qualified for the job you interviewed for or they hired someone they knew or came more recommended. Same for higher education acceptances, scholarships, internships etc… Same for most opportunities. That has happened to everyone including white males…

Your teacher or boss criticized your work because it actually needed improvement, not because you look different than the rest of the class.

You didn’t feel welcome at work or school because maybe, the dynamic between those coworkers or other students/professors didn’t fit your style of socializing or learning. Not every workplace or school is right for you and you should find a better fit. Not that anyone specifically had an agenda against you, but your style of relating just didn’t mesh with theirs. I think everyone has experienced this at least once in their career/education. You won’t instantly connect with everyone you meet.

In the course of your life, you will be in situations where you feel more apart, or even alienated from others around you. Sometimes they are being exclusionary and closed minded and unwelcoming. Other times, you and they simply don’t relate to each other as well. Not every workplace is for you. Not every school is for you. Not every friend group will be yours. Not every opportunity will be yours. Often times, this will have nothing to do with your race or any other identity but is simply one of the many setbacks in life. When we affirm the more identity-oriented interpretations of these events/experiences, to the exclusion of considering other factors before jumping to the worst interpretation, is this what affirmation should mean?

It can be hard as many, including me, genuinely don’t want to invalidate or belittle what others say were painful experiences. We wouldn’t want others to do that to us either! Many who cite negative experiences at school, work or socially are genuine in their pain. I think we should acknowlege that they feel that way, but at the same time, not be obligated to take their every word as infallible truth! How many times have we been upset due to a misunderstanding? That did not make what we felt any less real, but the facts surrounding the feelings were misperceived. Is that distinction, while a delicate balancing act especially when we ourselves don’t know the full story, too hard to understand? We can affirm someone’s emotions as genuine, but not blindly affirm their conclusions. Hear them out, but then seek out the facts before passing judgment.

A final thought, what about affirmation for my identity? Affirmation of my identity as a conservative and other fellow conservatives? In most major institutions such as schools and our workplaces, the mainstream media, much of government, family and friends etc… there is little to none. I and many others have had the “lived experience” of feeling uncomfortable to express our views in the classroom or at work while those around us express their freely. We’ve endured snide remarks from professors, teachers, bosses, even “friends” about how backward people like us are. We see every other group be treated as if they were untouchable, free from any criticism or reproach while we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Don’t call out for affirmation if you happen to be white, male and especially both! Don’t call out for affirmation if you’re a minority who is also a conservative since the Left thinks they own you and you’re a “race traitor”. No professor’s office or boss’ office ever had a “(insert group here)-friendly” sticker for conservatives to show that they too are welcome. The Left thinks of us as a malignant majority, but how can that be when the mainstream media, every school and work place, every authority figure, tv show, movie etc… are all affirming of the Left but not of us?

So, one can safely conclude like all the buzz words they like to use to sway the moderates on the fence who haven’t looked deeply into them, “affirmation” for the Left translates to “agree with our select groups and causes or else you’re a big meanie!”

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