August 26, 2010

All bigotries are similar

Here's another debate with critic Michael Cooke--this time on Yesterday's Cherokees = Today's Muslims:As the Black experience is not the same thing as the Gay experience, the bigotries against each are dissimilar as well. So it is with Cherokees and Muslims and the bigotries that challenge their rights and liberties, real but dissimilar.My thesis statement and putdown of Cooke: All bigotries are similar, including these.

Someone else agreed with me:The plight of the Black American and Gays is so overrated Mike. And its even thoughtless to say the problems we confront are different from each other or worse. Like Rob said and has been saying, we all have similar problems. And like I had to tell a co-worker of mine that its selfish to think of one's importance and significance as a single struggle without considering multiple neighboring bodies. These are one of the tools that aggravates hate by playing the "who had it worse" card.But Cooke wasn't buying it:The realities that Black people and that Gay people have to face are not in any way overrated, but at the same time they cannot be compared. No Black person has been rejected by a birth parent for being Black, No Gay person can be determined to be gay because of how they look.

The "who had it worse" card cannot be played once the reality that the experiences ARE DIFFERENT is established. If you are a Gay person, a Black person, an NDN, a Woman--it's not selfish to know your own struggle better than those of other people because no one that isn't you is going to be motivated or able to learn as much or as well as you about you, your people.

It's when people like Rob, claim that all bigotries are the same, that the 'who had it worse' card is summoned inevitably. The problem is that all suffering is personal, isolated and subjective, thereby "My" suffering is greater than yours because my suffering is real to me and yours is not.

The fundamental nature of all bigotry may indeed be singular. But when applied to different people in different contexts, the nature of the bigotry is different for each community targeted, and the experience is at the same time unique.
Victims are different but victimizers are similar

You're talking about the different experiences of the people experiencing bigotry. I'm talking about the mental processes of the bigots.

All bigotries are similar (not the same). They all stem from fear and hatred of the "other."

Too bad you spent an hour addressing the wrong question. Now try again.Even the bigotries are distinct Rob.

People that hate Gay people do so often because they are Gay themselves, or because abstractly and subjectively they feel it is "gross."

People that Hate Black people do so often because the culture is racist and a presumption of entitlement due to being white.

You can distinguish bigotry as taking a stereotype and emphasizing the negative. And in this sense bigotries are alike. But as stereotypes are distinct and rarely alike, so too are the prejudices and bigotries associated distinct and rarely alike.

As a Black man--people may assume I mean to rob them out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Gay man--men may believe I mean to seduce them or look at their ass with lust, out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Native American--people may simply assume I'm an alcoholic out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Jew--people may assume I must be of a privileged economic class by unscrupulous means because of a bigoted prejudice.

Bigotries are not the same, the experience of being a victim of bigotry is dissimilar as well.
"People that Hate Black people do so often because the culture is racist and a presumption of entitlement due to being white." People who hate gays do so often because the culture is heterosexualist and a presumption of entitlement is due to being heterosexual. These people think we should allow only "normal" (heterosexual) people to run for president, serve in the military, teach our children, or marry. Which is exactly what they thought about blacks and other minorities before.

"As a Black man--people may assume I mean to rob them out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Gay man--men may believe I mean to seduce them or look at their ass with lust, out of a bigoted prejudice." White Christian heterosexuals think both groups are out to take their jobs, redistribute their income, and impose an "agenda" that will make them second-class citizens. In other words, that these groups intend to eliminate their historical power and privilege.

White Christian heterosexuals think the same about Indians, Latinos, Muslims, and other minorities. Hence all bigotries are similar.

Bigotry is like fruit?Rob. Have you been physically assaulted for being liberal? I have for being openly Gay.

First, I'm observant of all kinds of racism. You just don't appreciate that I don't also have your point of view.

Rob, your insistence that all bigotry is the same is like saying all fruit is the same. All fruit is and isn't the same, at the same time. It depends on where you want to take the conversation.

What I can do about racism is what I can do about homophobia: not be racist, not be homophobic, instead be openly Gay and call people on their racism when they express it.

The Gay thing really does stand apart. No other prejudice is so closely related to as being no less than an article of religious faith! (Not considering racist cults like 12 tribes and the Mormons.) Is so explicitly supported by "sacred scripture."

So the Gay marriage issue, it really is the last 'untouchable' prejudice. People that really need to put someone down to feel good--the faggot has always been a safe target! You try to take that away, and many American will (and do!) complain of "Religious persecution!"
I never used the word "same" in this discussion, Mikey. Quit misquoting me and learn to read.

All fruits are similar just like all bigotries are similar. That's why we classify them as "fruit" and not "random plants that have no similarities."

After initially claiming all bigotries were "dissimilar," you now admit they have enough similarities to be grouped together like fruit. Thanks for proving my point.

Have I been physically assaulted for being liberal? No, but blacks and other minorities have been assaulted just like gays. That's because the bigotry against each group is similar enough to provoke physical attacks.

Both blacks and gays have faced discrimination in employment, the military, healthcare, church, sports, and marriage, among other fields. How is this possible if sex-based prejudice against gays is so different from skin-based prejudice against blacks? Why would blacks and gays have to fight the same battles to serve in the military and to marry?

Answer: Because white Christian heterosexuals think both groups are out to take their jobs, redistribute their income, and impose an "agenda" that will make them second-class citizens.

Religion is source of many prejudices

Religious prejudice against gays is similar to religious prejudice against Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hare Krishnas, Wiccans, and Satanists. The prejudice against Asians and American Indians is also partly religious, which is why we've called them "heathens" and "pagans" so often.

And religious prejudice is similar to non-religious prejudice against blacks and Latinos. Obama provides the perfect example of that. People hate him because he's black, but that's socially unacceptable these days. So they invent lies about how he's a Kenyan or a Muslim to disguise their racial prejudice.

In other words, prejudice against race is similar enough to prejudice against nationality or religion that one can easily "switch" prejudices. Whether Obama is black, Kenyan, or Muslim doesn't matter to white Christian bigots. Again, because all bigotries are similar. Whatever prejudice bigots admit or deny, they still hate Obama.

By citing the Bible or the Constitution or whatever, white Christian bigots are inventing excuses for their bigotry. If they actually believed the Bible, for instance, they'd obey Jesus's commandment to "love thy neighbor as thyself." That they don't practice what they preach shows they don't believe what they're saying. They hate first and justify their hate second.

In reality, I think you can trace most Christian-based prejudice against skin color back to the Bible. God talks frequently about his "chosen people," which white Christians assumed meant them. How could God's chosen people inherit the earth if Asians, blacks, Arabs, and Indians owned whole continents? Answer: We had to demonize them as savages, beasts, and devil worshipers so we could justify taking their possessions.

In short, our religious bigotry led us to invent racism as another excuse for subjugating the brown-skinned subhumans. So religious and racial bigotries come from similar sources and exist for similar reasons: to rationalize the rulers' superiority.

Pundit agrees with Rob

The Anatomy of Intolerance

By Robert ReichAmericans who feel economically insecure may even become paranoid, believing, say, that the President of the United States is secretly one of "them."

Economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance. It's used by demagogues who redirect the fear and anger toward people and groups who aren't really to blame but are easy scapegoats.

It has happened before.

Economic crises animated the pre-Civil War Know-Nothings and Anti-Masonic movements, the Chinese exclusion acts, the Ku Klux Klan in the economically-ravaged South, and the anti-immigrant movements of the early decades of the 20th century.

In different places around the world, mass economic stress has had far worse results. At its most extreme it has spawned genocide.

We are far from that. But it's important to understand the roots of America's growing intolerance. And to fight the hate-mongers and cynical opportunists who are using the fears unleashed by this awful economy to advance their own sordid agendas.
"Economic fear" is another way of saying "fear of losing power and privilege." Because scared Euro-Americans don't just want to be equal with everyone else. They want to be superior, as they have been in the past. That's why they aren't criticizing the military-industrial complex, as liberals do, but are criticizing blacks, Latinos, Indians, gays, and now Muslims.

For more on the subject, see Time's "Brief History of Intolerance" and Religious Freedom for Everyone, Except Indians.

Below:  Religious-based racial bigotry in action.


Rob said...

I could find thousands of examples showing that people prejudiced against one group are often prejudiced against another. For instance:

Beck Rally Attendee:  'Homosexuals' and 'Affirmative Action' Keep Me From Moving Up

Minuteman PAC--Now With More Islamophobia?

Rob said...

I bet it would be harder to find examples of people who are prejudiced against one and only one group. For instance, people who dislike blacks but have absolutely nothing against Latinos, Indians, gays, Jews, or Muslims.

And why is that? Because all bigotries are similar.