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Sparky
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Sadly, isn't this the case with any marginalised group faced with the privileged, dominant and willfully ignorant? I sometimes think I should just tape record my arguments against homophobia and why homosexuality isn't a bad thing - they're always the same just repeated infinitely I know PoC who feel the same about the anti-racism arguments. Same basic education, repeated yet again for the clueless The sad thing is it is a defining fact of the privileged, dominant group (whatever the reason for their privilege/dominance) that they do not have to examine these issues/argument/thought processes unless they go out of their way to do so. For the marginalised, these arguments are essential and oft repeated. I think you have to strike a balance - between arguing yet again and occasionally saying "y'know what? Here's a link, check the damn archives/FAQ" or even (depending on how silly or how lazy/ignorant the question/argument is "do your own damn research, I'm not your info monkey"
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2009 on Atheism and Patience at Greta Christina's Blog
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The problem here is that Mr. Olbermann, while someone I respect on many levels, has a whoooole lot of privilege. He's a wealthy, heterosexual, dominant-religion, white man. I'm not saying that's a bad thing - but I am saying that that means that while he can learn about what it means to be part of a disadvantaged group, he doesn't truly understand. He cannot understand how essential the closet is for many, how, when any group asks people to de-closet, it's understood that this isn't a demand but a fervent wish. He doesn't understand the shit that can rain down when people are outed. I'm gay. I am (80%) out of the closet. I wish that everyone was out of the closet because it woudl be so powerful for us. BUT I'm not fool enough to think that's possible yet for everyone and I know how damn HARD it can be to be out. He doesn't understand it. And he doesn't understand that, yes, atheists too can loose families, jobs and generally see their whole life be screwed over sideways if they do not hide their atheism. It's sad,because I think on most issues Olbermann would be an ally - but here his ignorance, inexperience and privilege is showing
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I am worried - for all the reasons you said, the idea that fundamental rights can be brushed aside But I am also afraid for the message this sends. Because this says homophobia is ok. It's not only ok but it has been ENDORSED. Homophobia has been written in the most fundamental legal document of the state. And that is scary How can you tell people homophobia is wrong, that prejudice is wrong, that gays are not beneath heterosexuals, that gays should not be abused when the constitution itself says "actually, gays are 2nd class, lesser, beneath straights." The principles cannot match. It doesn't just throw out the right of marriage. It doesn't just make rights subject to the whims of the mob - it undermines the very principle that homosexuals are equal citizens and shouldn't be treated like shit - the constitution itself is disagreeing with that. Saying it's ok to treat gay people differently. And that is frightening
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Does that excuse the shoddy treatment GBLT movements give to atheist movements? No. It explains it, but it doesn’t excuse it. It’s all to easy to take an ally for granted - and it’s wrong. Allies are with us, allies fight for us, these allies help make our lives safe and liveable - they deserve praise and respect for that and failing to do so is an insult. Last comment I promise. And I apologise for the spammage - damn I need to learn how not to ramble
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I think a second front is that, sadly, the religious groups of America are much much more numerous and more powerful than the atheist ones. They’re also much more focused on gay issues (not say that atheist groups don’t pay attention to them - but it’s not one of their hugest priorities - naturally). The religious right seems to spend far more time thinking about hot gay sex than I do as a gay man, only abortion seems to throw the gay sexing into second place. In short - the religious groups are a major issue (and, much as I tend to avoid inflammatory language - a major enemy) of GBLT groups. Which brings me to point 3. Praising a religious group for not being complete arseholes to us is not about the novelty value or praising an ally. Not really. It’s about proving a point and poking the other religious groups which still would much rather us all crawl under a hole and die somewhere. It’s about striking a blow and turning the tide against a very very large and powerful force that wants us gone (the varying degrees to which they want us gone - dead, ‘changed,’ second class citizens or deeply closeted are all depressing).
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I’m going to make some guess work here (being British, non-religious tends to be the norm more than the more-than-a-little-scary overt religiosity America ‘enjoys’) I think part of it is that we court those we need to convince. At its base, and no matter what people claim to the contrary - homophobia is by far and away caused by or rooted in religion. As such, atheists are generally a lot less homophobic (in my experience) and any atheist organisations can be pretty much guaranteed to be allies on some level. It’s kind of like the way the Democrat party in America is accused of taking blacks and hispanics for granted - they know they are pretty much going top get the support automatically, so they don’t go out their way So it goes with GBLT groups and atheist groups Oh gods this is getting long
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