RSSCategory: Bigotry

Welcome to Prom Night

March 12, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More
Welcome to Prom Night

Constance McMillen wanted to go to her high school prom. Like most students in the United States, she doubtless saw the event as the capstone of four years of effort, a gala event for students that represents a reward for getting to the end of their senior year and, presumably, graduating not only from high school but into adulthood. One night of glamor and revelry, dressed at a level of style and affluence many might never indulge again, to celebrate the matriculation into the next level of independence. A party where students can show themselves—to their peers and to themselves—as adults.

It has become something more, probably, than it was ever intended to be. Patterned after high society “debuts” at which young ladies of good breeding (and potential wealth) are introduced to Society (with a capital “S”) in a manner that, when stripped of its finery and fashionable gloss, is really a very expensive dating service, with the idea of creating future matches between “suitable” couples, the high school prom is a showcase, a public demonstration of, presumably, the virtues of a graduating class. Over the last few decades, even the less well-off schools strive to shine in what a prom achieves. Instead of a local band in the high school gym, with bunting and streamers and colored lights to “hide” the fact that normally gym class and basketball are performed in this room, the prom has become elevated to a decent hotel with a ball room, a better-priced band (or a DJ), and all the attributes of a night on the town in Hollywood. Tuxedos and gowns are de rigueur and students’ families spare no expense to deck their children out in clothes they really often can’t afford. Limousines transport the budding fashionistas and their knights errant to the evening’s festivities and you know this cost a fortune.

Students may be forgiven for believing that it’s for them.

In its crudest terms, the prom is for the community, a self-congratulatory demonstration of how well the community believes it has done by its youth. It is a statement about what that community would like to see itself as.

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Another anti-gay reaction formation – a growing list.

March 4, 2010 | By | 19 Replies More
Another anti-gay reaction formation – a growing list.

Here’s the report from Huffpo (with video):

Early Wednesday morning, State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Calif.) was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Sources report that Ashburn — a fierce opponent of gay rights — was driving drunk after leaving a gay nightclub; when the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, there was an unidentified man in the passenger seat of the car.

Based on the constant stream of incidents like this, we ought to just assume that men who disparage gays are gay. Freud calls this type of situation a reaction formation.

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Can you tolerate NAMBLA?

January 25, 2010 | By | 12 Replies More
Can you tolerate NAMBLA?

image courtesty of the Federal Art Project, via Wikimedia Commons

You think you’re open-minded? What if the North American Man-Boy Love Association wanted to distribute a newsletter in your town? What if they wanted to hold a local parade celebrating pederasty?

I am currently studying social psychology in graduate school, and I’m particularly interested in political psychology. One of my present research interests is political tolerance. “Political tolerance” refers to individuals’ willingness to extend equal civil liberties to unpopular groups.

When political scientists and psychologists measure political tolerance, they often probe individuals for their ability to withstand the most offensive, outlandish groups and speech possible. For example, a liberal-minded person may be asked whether they would be willing to allow a rally for the Klu Klux Klan or some extremist, militaristic group. Paradoxically, a truly tolerant person must be willing to allow racially intolerant speech.

Political tolerance plays a cornerstone role in functioning democracies (at least, we think so). If voters can strip away the civil liberties of disliked political groups, those liberties lay on precarious ground indeed. If we cannot tolerate the words of anarchists or members of the Westboro Baptist Church, then we do not really believe in the boundlessness of speech at all.

Academics say as much. In reality, voters are not so tolerant.

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Use behavior-profiling, not racial profiling

January 6, 2010 | By | Reply More
Use behavior-profiling, not racial profiling

Many in the political right wing are advocating for more racial profiling, or at least cultural profiling. Think Progress explains why these approaches don’t work and why we should instead use behavior profiling.

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Right wing response re Yemen

January 1, 2010 | By | Reply More
Right wing response re Yemen

Glenn Greenwald dissects a “solution” to the attempted bombing of a Northwest airliner coming from the Right Wing of the political spectrum. How barbaric right wingers are to suggest that we “kill them all,” even people from Yemen who are innocent. And how ignorant to fail to understand why many people from Yemen are angry with the United States. Greenwald correctly points out the absurdity of the claim that they hate us for our “freedom.”

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Veteran speaks out about the military’s greatest weapon: racism

December 22, 2009 | By | Reply More
Veteran speaks out about the military’s greatest weapon: racism

In this video, a military veteran named Mike Prysner spoke out about the military’s main weapon: racism. He argues that without racism, none of the military’s expensive weapons could ever be used, and there would be no chance that the working people of one country would be convinced to kill the working people of another country. His argument regarding the power of racism is another way of pointing out the explosive power of ingroups and outgroups and the curing power of diversity–a willingness to embrace the humanity of people unlike ourselves.

For more on the often-used recipe for going to war, see this post on “War Made Easy.

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Technical aspects of protesting and taxing Catholic Church position against gay marriage

December 19, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
Technical aspects of protesting and taxing Catholic Church position against gay marriage

In Early November, a Maine ballot measure defeated a law legalizing gay marriage. It is clear that the Catholic Church, acting through 45 dioceses around the country, contributed substantial money to defeat gay marriage in Maine. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Archdiocese contributed $10,000.

cathedral-welcome-sign

Here in St. Louis, protesters have made themselves visible in a way that would likely irritate many Catholics and (see the comments to this article). The protesters have repeatedly stationed themselves prominently in front of the St. Louis Cathedral before, during and after the noontime Mass, in order to protest the $10,000 payment by the St. Louis Diocese to defeat gay marriage in Maine. Some of the St. Louis protesters have claimed that they were harassed by the police. See the following video they published.

I fully support gay marriage. And even though I don’t believe in a Divine Jesus, I can’t imagine Jesus, who purportedly opened up his heart to criminals and whores, taking active steps to keep gays from getting married. In my opinion, the Catholic Church, which has severely crippled its own moral authority, has acted out of bigotry in opposing gay marriage. On the other hand, I also think that the protesters need to be careful to pick their battles.

If you click the title to go to the full post, you’ll can view a gallery of a dozen photos I took while participating in the protest of 12-20-09, the day after I originally wrote this post. The temperature as a brisk 25 degrees.

[more . . .]

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Aggressive journalists desperately needed.

December 9, 2009 | By | Reply More
Aggressive journalists desperately needed.

Glenn Greenwald asks why there aren’t more journalists willing to conduct hardball interviews of politically powerful guests. What he has in mind is the kind of interrogation Rachel Maddow expertly conducted with an anti-gay blowhard. Greenwald sets forth the particular strategies that made Maddow’s interview effective. For example, where the guests opinions are not entitled to respect and deference, don’t give any. Key quote:

Just imagine how much better things could be if our political leaders were routinely subjected to the kind of surgically probing, lie-exposing interrogation which Rachel imposed on her homosexual-converter guest. But the reasons they almost never are speak volumes about our media stars and their true function.

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God Is God, Law Is Law, and Stupid is Stupid.

November 29, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More
God Is God, Law Is Law, and Stupid is Stupid.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The surprise is we haven’t seen this “solution” proposed more often as overtly.

Here is a lesson on how not to try to make intractable cultural traditions compatible with intractable reality under dubious moral imperatives.

But what this really shows is the limit of patience. People hammer away at something that refuses to yield to the methods being employed and rather than change methods, eradicate the problem.

This sort of things make it so easy to be a cynic.

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