Bigotedly Correct

Oh, Gary Oldman. I love you. I really do. I see you are in a movie and I get excited to see that performance. You were one of the reasons I did not totally refuse to see the RoboCop reboot.

But really…if you want to be critical of the restrictions of Politically Correct culture…you might want to pick better examples. Mel Gibson made racist comments and Alec Baldwin has used gay slurs.

Being a bigot is not the same thing as being politically incorrect. And for some reason, a lot of folks conflate the two. Suddenly, being a bigot is seen as the edgy person who does not care what society thinks. Bigots become treated as rebels and victim heroes.

Really, can we find some better example when lamenting political correctness than bigoted people?

The Sound of Silence

So, part one of my thoughts on the situation surrounding the Rosa Parks of our generation. You might have heard about this. For reasons unknown to me, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson felt the need to expound on who would be accepted into heaven. He was quoting the Bible and then covered his ass with the “but it is not for me to judge.” So, A&E suspended him. Of course, he had some rather “poor thoughts” on race.

First, A&E has every right to suspend or cancel a show. It is their network. It is funny how the same people who feel a cake maker should be allowed to discriminate are outraged that A&E should suspend Robertson. But here is my concern about the situation. I am a bit uncomfortable with the attempts to silence people who say things we do not like.

Life is incredibly complex. There is a Tumblr called Your Fave is Problematic. Read through it. Sometimes it is informative. Sometimes it is more an excuse to rant hatefully about people someone doesn’t like. The truth is, everyone I follow in Twitter, Tumblr, etc are problematic. Sometimes? Social justice minded people are the worst. They go so over the top, they become the very same person as the people they are ranting against.

When someone says something we find offensive, we rightfully express our displeasure. But so often, we see major pushes to get celebrities fired. Let us be honest, in real life, nobody campaigns to get the bigots in day to day fired from the local grocery. Celebrities are in a unique place. Every public word they express can work for or against them. And hey, you have to accept you might lose your job.

The problem with the campaigns are…well, they really do not do anything. Phil Robertson is in a long line of teevee and radio stars who said something unkind that were met with demands to get rid of them. When they are fired, everyone declares success. They always seem to land on their feet and and the attitudes are still there. And no actual life changing discussions. And sometimes, the attempt to Silence works in reverse…how many attempts have there been to dump Daniel Tosh? Tosh is still around. And rumors are that Phil will, in fact, appear in January Duck Dynasty .

Silencing tends not to be about true justice or changing minds and attitudes. It is about convincing ourselves we won. Except, we don’t actually win. No, it is worse. Those folks we work to silence? They go on Fox News, the Church Circuit or wherever…they preach their message harder, they play the role of martyr and the people who believed them support them more aggressively than before. Their message is pressed on.

What the world does not need? More “martyrs” and “patriots” of the Phil Robertson and Sarah Palin vein.

The other thing? Silencing can very much be used against progressive voices. And that tide could turn unexpectedly. In the pat, progressive voices were silenced. Even recently, gays have been forced by family to go to rehabilitation to be “straight”. We should not pretend reversing against those that we disagree with is somehow good. Reeducation camps are not a neutral concept. Silencing is not a good thing in a free world. The message offered by progressives is better. The message offered by progressives is stronger, and silencing rarely has the desired effect.

Silencing allows the alternative messages to grow. They retreat for only a limited time, because silencing only addresses a single event…not an attitude. Standing up, speaking our piece is going to do more to make a better world than getting a redneck off TV could ever do.

Everybody’s Free

free en·ter·prise
noun: free enterprise
an economic system in which private business operates in competition and largely free of state control.

There was a news story on Fox recently which declared Free Enterprise dead. It was ridiculous, of course, for multiple reasons.

Primarily, it was because a Judge sided with a gay couple over a “Christian” maker of wedding cakes. I will be honest, if your Christian faith and view of marriage is so sacred that you will declare you would rather close shop if you cannot discriminate against gays? You are pretty much a lame Christian.

For one? The guy made a wedding cake for dogs. That is not someone treating marriage as a special and unique institution. Problem one.

More importantly, if your “Christian View of Marriage” is so important to you…why do I suspect this guy made cakes for non-Christians, people who were living together, people who were having pre-marital sex…why is he okay endorsing those unions? Problem two.

I have seen pastors refuse to marry people…a pastor and Church have every right to deny anyone access to their services. A guy making cakes is not a pastor or church. He is a businessman serving a larger public. And to be so inconsistent to deny one couple on grounds of faith while allowing others who ignore your Christian values to access your services is pathetic.

Look at the definition of free enterprise again.

an economic system in which private business operates in competition and largely free of state control.

Nothing there states you are free to descriminate. Free enterprise means you can have a business, not have a business and run it like a tyrant if you choose. There is a clear allowance of state regulations. The only person actually threatening this cake business is the guy who owns it. The state has not said his business has to close. That is all on him. The state simply says he cannot be so discriminatory.

Free enterprise still lives, this case is proof of that.

Lack of Understanding Is Not Rightness

It seems fairly common for people that when they cannot understand how a person feels, they see the problem as being with the other person.

I am not speaking about differences of opinions on politics. I am talking about life choices. Big ones. For many of us, the decisions and feelings of a trans person are unrelateable. We do not get it. So some folks demonize the trans community as deviants.

I am being honest here. I do not understand what a trans person is going through. There is a simple reason. I have never been in question about my gender versus my body. These two aspects of my being are not in conflict. I can never truly grasp the struggle if they were to come to terms. How frustrating it must be to feel something is not… Exact…but not understand what as I am growing up.

The same is true of being gay. I have never been in question of the fact that I am drawn to women. I wonder at times how I would deal if society told me at every turn that being attracted to women was deviant and immoral.

Angelina Jolie took heat from “heartbroken” men about a double mastectomy. They could not fathom why she would removed a great pair of breasts. Sure, I suspect some men thought they were being funny…but it isn’t really funny.

Granted, I could probably identify with Jolie’s situation a bit more than the other two examples.

But the thing is, the real problem is not the situations above. The real problem is with the people who decide that their lack of understanding makes them right. That because they cannot understand or relate, there is something deviant or dangerous about the people they don’t understand.

I may not understand what a trans person is fully going through. But I am not “normal” because of it. I am simply a person. As are they. I am not helping a person in their struggles by telling them they are deviant simply for their realization that their identity and birth gender are in conflict. Making them the but of jokes, or embarrassing secrets is cruel. How is being cruel “normal”? How is being ruled by our inability to relate “wise”?

Instead, we see numerous people separating these groups out as if they are an evil attack group out to destroy “good, decent and moral” society. When compassion is treated as a weakness, one forfeits the ability to say they are on the side of good, decent or moral societies.

Victims… Aren’t We All?

Wow.  These young men had sex with an unconscious young woman.  You know, as Candy puts it… “Rape, Essentially”.  Oh wait, not essentially rape.  It was rape.  She is unconscious.  Their having sex with her was non-consensual.  They raped her.  Then took pictures.  This is not a matter of opinion. This is not a situation with more than one way of seeing what happened.  They raped her, pure and simple.  If you try and make it anything else?  You’re despicable.

Did you notice Trent May’s apology to the young woman, her family and community were for taking and distributing the pictures? He was not apologizing for the rape.

And yet?  We got six minutes from CNN that barely mentioned the victim.

Because, why would you express concern about the victim of the rape, when the real victims in all of this were the rapists and their now tainted futures?!  What does this all mean for them??!

Yeah…this will haunt these guys for most of their lives.  There are, of course options if they actually step back and look what they have done.  If they seek to see why it was wrong.  To try and contribute to society to challenge rape within our culture.  That would be really tough and painful.  And they would have to prove themselves to people.  And yet, none of that came up in six minutes discussing the future of these young men.  No, it was a tragedy… after all, they were good students.  They were good football players.  And it is so unfair that this act of rape is now interfering with their bright and shiny future.

Boo Hoo.

For the Colorblind

I have been thinking about Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia recent commentary regarding the Voting Rights Act.  A reminder:

And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same. Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the
fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial
entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there’s a good reason for it.

That’s the — that’s the concern that those of us who — who have some questions about this statute. It’s — it’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now. And even the Virginia Senators, they have no interest in voting against this. The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act.

Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?

Racial entitlement.  See, really, what he is arguing here is that we should not make sure to make the right to vote equal access.  It is,  his mind, to have laws and regulations that take racial inequality are wrong…because really, the law should be colorblind.  Conservatives can often get hung up on the notion of the law being colorblind.  But the truth is, the law is only successfully colorblind in a culture that is truly colorblind.  Of course, conservatives like to claim the culture is colorblind as well.  This is not just conservatives though…liberals try and claim to not see color as well.

In an episode of Girls this season, Lena Dunham breaks up with her black conservative boyfriend (played by Donald Glover)…and in the midst of their argument, she tries to argue that he is the racist, because she totally doesn’t see color and his being black was something she had never ever noticed or given thought to.  Right.  It was a rather perfect little moment  of deserved liberal skewering.  Dunham’s character is declaring her inability to see color.  But here is the fundamental problem.  We may think we do not see race…but we often make assumptions about race in our daily lives.

A rather distasteful example was an infamous tweet after the Hunger Games hit theaters.  There were several folks that complained that Rue was played by a young black girl named Amandla Stenberg.  Barely 13, she was greeted with commentary like:

Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you pictured.

She was not alone.  People piled on to complain about the force PC mentality that would alter the original story and change characters so they would not all be white.  Except, Rue was described as being dark skinned in the book.  They are certainly not white.  Yet, these folks all perceived Rue to be white.  In Hollywood, colorblind casting calls often end up going with white actors.  These are not necessarily conscious actions.  But white has been the default of America…most movies and televisions shows were about us.  And when given fiction, we often-if given no instruction otherwise- default to white.

Think honestly…if you were reading a book about a hero cop named Ray Johnson and were given no instruction as to his race by the story…what would you picture?  An asian guy?  A black guy?  I think it is pretty safe to assume that in casting the movie of the book, Ray would be played by Tom Cruise.

Getting back to Scalia’s comments.  The law will never be colorblind as long as our culture is not.  The law will bend to the culture, and if the law refuses to side with equality so it can remain colorblind, the society that sees color will use the law to smash equality, even unintentionally.