January 20th, 2020 – 481

Target done and it feels so good. I had a bit more of a rushed morning today and work comes first, so I didn’t journal yet, but feel like I have a good handle on the day. I’m on my way to Lewes for a few Google tutorials, so I had a moment to update.

So I wrote 1,100 more words of WHT, but it’s a scene I’m going to write later that I want to talk about today. This is a bit less of a fun entry. How much less fun? We’re going to talk about eugenics. Yeeeeah.

There is a scene in WHT where Taft is confronted by his assistant on his stance when it comes to civil rights. I read far too many books that feature historical figures and whitewash their less desirable characteristics. I believe flaws are what make a character interesting, and Taft has a couple of huge ones, though some not revealed until years after the story.

He waved off early civil rights activists telling them to paraphrase to wait for their time, which is a bit dubious. However eugenics was his worse problem. I won’t go into huge detail here, as I’m no expert on the minute details, but to see how flawed Taft was, look up Carrie Buck. It’s a devastating story of what humans can do to one another.

I wanted to mention this here because I saw Doctor Who – a show I grew up on – whitewashed their portrayal of Nicola Tesla in this exact way, which I find a bit disappointing. People are products of their time. It’s not about going ‘oh look how horrible this person’s beliefs were’. It’s about taking a hard look at ourselves and thinking where we might be in the wrong, or hold ‘normal’ views that cause harm and suffering. Taft had bad opinions, and the Carrie Buck case caused severe harm. He was also human, and the story is at its core about how far from infallible humans are.

Sorry for the more bleak post, but I wanted to put this in writing because I’m so sick of the argument being between ‘they’re a product of their time so it’s fine” and “this is unforgivable and means they were a horrible person“. Call this, a call for empathy and reflection. Anyway that’s all for now. Catch up tomorrow.