Saturday, January 07, 2006

Is Human Love just penises and vaginas frolicing?

If you get a moment check out Matt's latest blog entry in which he revisits the arguments of an anti-gay columnist for the DI.

Matt is right to call out Bambenek for the faulty logic he uses to justify his hate. As he points out, the columnist trots out the tired old argument, "I have an opinion, why should I apologize for it. I'm not talking about killing off the Jews." Like many equality issues, people have been killed over this, but it's the hate filled anti-gay who have doing the killing, not the dying...

Personally, I don't want Bambenek to apologize for his opinion, but I also don't think he should have such a defensive response when people critique his opinion. His opinion is founded in bigotry of the most fundamental kind and as long as he's willing to acknowledge that and doesn't work actively to deprive people of their civil liberties, he's welcome to go procreate among those accepting of his zealous bigotry.

I guess the question I want to address beyond Matt's analysis is "How do people get like this?" I believe these bigots when they claim that they actually think that they are the loving, non-hateful types. I think they really say, "Yeah, there are gay folks out there who worked there asses off just to have kids, but they are the exception to the rule, whereas folks like me became true fuck-ups of parents through less effort, so we should have marriage and other family rights and they shouldn't!" and they actually believe it!

But this is not to mock "crazy, out-there bigots" because we all can fall into this trap. You see, privilege--racial, gender, class, sexual orientation, religious, occupational, etc.--for all it's envied and emulated, truly is a bitch, and this is a beautiful example of what it does to us. We bask in our ignorant bliss of others' reality; no longer able to empathize with them or relate to their humanity. When we have privilege, the society is designed for us--we are "normal" and we don't have to think or work to "fit". Most of the time, we can avoid many of the situations where you would have to face the pain of adjusting our perspective. We don't even know where to start when we are forced to overcome minority statuses. When we face this situation, many curl into a ball, whine and use our privilege to complain about how persecuted we are.

But let's step outside for a minute. Among their many human pursuits, people love. Some of them love monogamously. They want to make covenants with their love. They want to create families with those loves. Those families come in all shapes and forms. In some societies, people claim to believe in "equal opportunity". In those societies, there's always folks who try to make people different from them face more obstacles and deprive them of their right to love and create familes. These folks are against "equal opportunity".

Does anyone have a problem with this that they can articulate without being as insulting as to say that "God disappoves of some of these loves because the penis or vagina is the most important organ in a human being" or "Some human beings having sex is like animals and humans having sex" or "It's my right to have the equal opportunity to deprive others of their opportunities because it wigs me out" or "Some people I've never met make bad parents or are bad influences on children"? I'd love to hear something new. That would help me believe that privilege hasn't blocked millions upon million of people from their ability to empathize.

After all, it's not your penis or vagina that makes you a human being. It's not having the right number of kids with the right number of parents and the right products surrounding them all. It's not calling our creator or driving force by the proper name like we are on some game show. It's not hating the right or wrong groups of people. There is one thing that makes up human and that's our capacity for empathy.


Anonymous zeke said...

interested in this statement:

"We don't even know where to start when we are forced to overcome minority statuses. When we face this situation, many curl into a ball, whine and use our privilege to complain about how persecuted we are."

Is this the same as "playing the race card"?

10:33 AM  
Blogger xian said...

When people use their identity politics as a way to demonize others, it certainly can be. Of course, it also manifests as people of the ethnic majority accusing people of "playing the race card" whenever race is raised as an issue at all.

That might seen evasive, but it's the most complete answer I have. Are there situations where those of minority status use that status to gain advantage? Of course, it's what we've been trained to do.

Is it as frequent as majority folks flaunting their privilege and not even knowing it? Of course not, but that doesn't make either case right.

1:08 PM  
Blogger John C. A. Bambenek said...

If you choose to label all opinions you disagree with as hate-based, then you don't get to participate in the discussion.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

So, you are making the rules, John? That's interesting.

You're free to state your opinion, of course, but then we're free to rebutt it. And if you don't like it when a spade is called spade, and your skin is that thin, then perhaps having a discussion isn't for you.

After all, you can't open-up the floor to a discussion, say hateful things, and then close it down when someone calls you on what you say. We're not playing the "Let's All Talk Unless Someone Says Something Bambenek Doesn't Like" game.

Your opinion of me, my partner, my relationship and everyone like us is, when all is said and done, insulting and, frankly, rude. Yet I'm at least "adult" enough to acknowledge that you have the right to hold forth with that opinion.

But look at you. You're already telling us what we can and can't do. Your reaction speaks for itself.

10:55 PM  
Blogger xian said...

Ok, fine, it's not hate based. You win, you are the majority, white, heterosexual opinion, so you are right! Go go gadget privilege!

So how would you describe someone you don't know, who knows nothing about you except some vague stereotypes about your sexuality denying your right to marry?

I described it as ignoring people's humanity and just judging them on their sexual parts. That sounds dehumanizing and hateful to me. How would you describe it?

This is your moment in the sun. This is your chance to "join the discussion"--actually making points.

12:53 AM  

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