Thursday, January 02, 2014

Bigotry Now Versus In The Past

A number of things are fueling the growing hysteria on the far right:  (i) demographic changes are diluting white power and privilege, (ii) outside of Christofacist/GOP circles, science and knowledge are eroding blind acceptance of the Bible as inerrant , (iii) nearly a third of the under 30 generations have walked away from institutional religion, and (iv) minorities are increasingly unwilling to be assigned subordinate places in society.  A letter to the editor in the New York Times notes another cause: people no longer tolerate racism and bigotry and the racists/bigots are being forced to defend their hate and ignorant beliefs:
The defense offered of racist and homophobic remarks by a “Duck Dynasty” television personality has been that they come from someone steeped in biblical teaching. When I was a child, this nonsense could have been (and was) said out loud without fear of contradiction. 

Likewise, the Fox television personality who declared that “Santa is white” no doubt thought that she was simply stating accepted fact. In both cases the speakers were surprised by the criticism that their thoughtless comments engendered. 

Something has definitely changed since I was young, and I think that change is at the heart of so much conservative aggrievement. Racist and homophobic opinions are still allowed, but they are no longer automatically accepted. Now, bigoted nonsense is challenged when uttered, and the folks doing the uttering can’t understand why. 

There is no refuge in the excuse that “the Bible says so” or “that’s what everyone says.” American citizens are still entitled to express their opinions, but now they are also expected to be able to defend them. This is a good thing.
 It is a good thing unless, of course, one is a either (a) a Christofascist who is terrified at the thought of being forced to think and make anything more that rote moral decisions, or (b) a racists who have a desperate psychological need to feel superior to others based on skin color or ethnicity.

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