Fox News and other White, male, heterosexual, Christian supremacist spokespersons like to pretend that Hate Crime legislation give potential victims – particularly Black, Arab, and Latino people, females, those with mental and/or physical disabilities, homosexuals and bisexuals, trans*, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists – more rights than they have. As one of my friends put it, those people groups would belong to a special “protected class.”
This type of thinking, and the acceptance of it by much of White American Christianity, belies the fact that those groups already belong to a special attacked class. But it also reveals privileged thinking.
Privileged thinking doesn’t comprehend the fact – largely because privileged people are safe from these types of realities – that entire people groups are constantly, systemically, and substantially attacked. And because it can’t comprehend this fact (and because we’re human and if we don’t need to be aware of an ugly fact that makes us look bad, we most likely won’t), it has to make up silly disclaimers that minority groups are seeking extra rights.
- School desegregation and busing? Extra rights. Black children already have their own schools; they shouldn’t be allowed to overrun ours.
- Civil rights laws? Extra rights. See, black citizens already have the right to vote; they just need to quietly apply like the rest of us. They’ll get their turn when it’s their time.
- Anti-bigotry laws? Extra rights. Gays are trying to force their views on God-lovin’ straights. If I want to voice my disapproval at their lifestyle in a demeaning and threatening manner, that’s my Constitutionally-protected right.
- Ramps, elevators, special bathrooms, and handicap accessible doors? Extra rights! Why do we have to accomodate them? We’ll take care of them when they come, not before.
- Same-sex unions and/or marriage? That’s extra rights, right there! Straights can only get married to a person of the opposite gender. It’s not fair that they get to marry somebody of the same sex! (Yes. I have talked to somebody with this view. In 2010. He must’ve thought he was so clever.)
And so on and so on, ad infinitum…
And if you disagree with them, then it’s reverse racism. And if you tell them that they’re supporting a racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, classist system, they take it personally and deny the fact that they’ve ever had a hating bone in their body.*
Of course they missed the point. They’re privileged. Not only can they afford to ignore the very institutions that don’t challenge them, but they also profit from ignoring those systems.
A number of young Christian slacktivists, like myself, have done a good job of cataloguing oppressions of the US empire overseas. We recognize the horrible costs of war, cheap oil, and cheaply-produced consumptives. We call it by its name: murder.
Trayvon Martin’s murder – instigated by racial fears and racist subjugation – is one such obvious case.
GraceIsHuman (where I first was made aware of this travesty): “Look, I don’t give a shit how George Zimmerman or Bill Lee personally feel about black people or what their personal relationships with black people are like. I am not in the least interested in whether they’re “really racist” or not. I care what they did. I care about the cultural and institutional realities that made what they did (and are still doing, on the part of the Sanford PD) possible, and made them think – with very good precedent for thinking so – they could get away with it.”
Sarah Over the Moon argues that White Christians love to patristically defend African children – as if we were their only hope – but we ignore racism in our own backyard.
And Fred at Slacktivist does a journalist’s job of consorting and compiling – in an effort to amplify – the voices of those who understand oppression and privilege.
*Much like the KKK and White Citizens Council did in the 50s and 60s.