Sunday, March 2, 2008

Advancing minority voices (when they don't represent minorities)

Because there’s lots of misogyny in the world, there is a demand for misogynist writing. There’s plenty such writing by men, but that’s by now boring and there’s probably too much supply. If a woman is doing it, though, there are bigger and better returns to it. Occupying a niche of this sort also gives you certain rhetorical advantages in generating controversy and responding to it. (See, a woman admits the truth! Or, how can I be anti-woman if I am one? And if you misjudge the reaction, you can claim the whole thing was a joke.)

Kieran Healy has a worthwhile post at Crooked Timber.
hence black conservatives, marxist economists, Log-Cabin Republicans, ex-gay fundamentalists, pacifist Marines, libertarian environmentalists, pro-life Democrats, or what have you.
Anti-zionist and/or antisemitic Jews. (And one comment cites Michael Kinsley noting that such behavior needs to grow ever more extreme. Until we have Gilad Atzmon.

False consciousness. Self-haters. Lots of unsatisfactory ways to refer to them. They didn't create the environment in which they prosper in such niches. And if all we had to worry about was their bigotries, their relatively small numbers would render the threat impotent. Rather we justly worry about the certainty that the dominant group will appropriate their minority status as an alibi.


Concerned Resident said...

You're way off base lumping Log Cabin Republicans in with the rest of this list. A poll last year showed that 77% of REPUBLICANS agreed with the statement that "It should be illegal to fire someone because they are gay and lesbian." The Democrats weren't always so wonderful - Bill Clinton gave us Defense of Marriage and 'Don't Ask Don't Tell." Fred Phelps, the guy who pickets with "God Hates Fags" signs is a Democrat who was a delegate for Al Gore in 1988. Democrats came arounf (granted, faster) because gays and lesbians took the time to work with them and educate them. It simply takes longer with Republicans. We exist to educate Republicans and it has been a huge success. The first anti-discrimination bill for gays and lesbians in the US was signed by a Republican. Republicans provided the margin of victory that passed ENDA in the House. Republican votes saved marriage in Massachusettes. That would not have happened by screaming "fascist" at them every chance you get... The self loathers appear to be the liberal Demcrats who are so often so self hating they are afraid to even talk to Republicans to find out how many actually support equality. They live in insular ghettos, afraid to live their lives honestly out with everyone else. They want "separate but equal" communities - so determined not to be hurt that they adopt the most outlandish mode of dress and action as a shield. We are openly gay and our neighbors have been wonderful. We aren't pretending to be straight or "acting straight." We don't have to. I find that while the liberal community preaches tolerance, diversity and acceptance they rarely practice it in their daily lives with those they disagree with. If you don't believe what they do, excatly how they beleive it then you get insults, attempts to shut you down, drinks hurled, and all other sorts of behaviour that you expect from those who don't really beleive in what they say. While Republicans may preach public policy that is anti-gay they are actually very respectful, tolerant and accepting of gays and lesbians as individuals -- even those who are going toe to toe with them telling them how wrong they are. I challenge you to walk into a Republican event and tell someone you are gay and then walk into a gay bar and tell someone you're a Republican and see how different the reaction and tolerance levels are. We are changing hearts and minds to make Republicans more accepting by talking to them as people and helping them get over their fears and ignorance. When was the last time someone changed YOUR mind about a topic by screaming hateful insults from across the street? So why do you think it will work with Republicans? Really tolerant, respectful and diverse... But then you don't really want tolerance and respect, you only want to win elections and you can only do that if Republicans are the enemy, not someone who can be educated.

Matt said...

I disagree with a lot of what you say and also agree with a lot of what you say. (Check out the Thich Nhat Hahn dharma talk a few posts back, and you'll find a wonderful teaching that really hit me: the peace movement writes wonderful protest letters, but lousy love letters.) But, while I would include Log Cabin Republicans, I'll remind you that I was quoting someone else. Also, the major point here isn't about who's right, but about whose voices are promoted in the public discourse. Often, the voices of certain minority members are amplified precisely because they are not representative of the group as a whole. Whether you think the gay community is right on political tactics, I think we can agree that few GBLTQ people would feel that the Log Cabin Republicans represent their own views.