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While Obama Evolves…

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2012

twenty twenty-one U.S. Senators are calling for an endorsement of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform. When the Blade’s article first went up today, the number was at eighteen (you can see that in the article’s URL).  They’ve had to update it twice three times since just this morning to include the two three additional Senators, and they say they will update it as more Senators respond the the Blade’s requests for statements.

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Blake
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

It’s 21 now.

Jim Burroway
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Wow. That’s just been in the ten minutes since I posted this.

Timothy Kincaid
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Unreserved admiration and praise for these Senators. They are standing up for the principles that they support and valuing equality.

There won’t be any Republican Senators calling for equality in the Republican platform. To the shame of that party.

But maybe, I hope, some day… at least some Senators will call for the anti-gay language to be removed. Maybe. I can dream.

But today, this glorious day, Democratic Senators are shining beacons of the promise of the American Dream.

Mary in Austin
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Let’s not forget to thank these brave senators, and to defend them when we hear that tired, old, too cool for school refrain, “All politicians are alike!” (You know the hateful Jeebusites are going to do their best to make life miserable for all 21 of them.)

Ryan
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Look for Obama’s evolution to be complete sometime after November. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Blake
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

And now it’s 22. Good on them! Perhaps now is the time for the Republican senators with a conscious to start calling for a change in the republican platform. Giuliani’s paved the way. Olympia Snowe, for example, has nothing to lose…

Pat
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

I’m happy and proud to see that both of my senators, Lautenburg and Menendez are on this list.

Timothy Kincaid
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Mary…

just a thought to consider… It seems that you think that being hateful is a bad thing. Or, at least, being a “hateful Jeebusite” is a bad thing.

I wonder if you have considered the irony in the positioning of the two words?

You chose the term “Jeebusite” to express an idea and there had to be some motivation behind it. Maybe disdain for those who are Christians, perhaps you think it’s amusing to mock people’s religion, maybe you are arrogant and think your own views about religion are so superior that you need not respect anyone else’s, you might be ignorant of the fact that some of our most committed supports are devout believers, or maybe it was just one of those “my side v. your side” expression of contempt.

But whatever the motivation, I can’t think of any reason for using that term that doesn’t include hatefulness and a deliberate slur on people based on their identity.

So if it is hatefulness that you find so objectionable about “Jeebusites”, you may want to recognize that you have also condemned yourself.

David Waite
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Superbly said, Timothy, in both of your comments.

Timothy (TRiG)
March 2nd, 2012 | LINK

I can’t think of any reason for using that term that doesn’t include hatefulness and a deliberate slur on people based on their identity.

I can. Some people don’t conflate identity and belief. It’s actually a very complex area, and a place where different people can look at the same facts in very different ways.

TRiG.

Jay Jonson
March 3rd, 2012 | LINK

Timothy’s lecture to Mary is entirely uncalled for. Pushing back against those who hurt us is absolutely necessary. I am amused at those who find it perfectly reasonable for them to say horrible things about gay people, but then say that they are not hateful and that what they say isn’t meant personally. They profess indignation that they are called bigots and say that we are hateful for calling them that. But when we call them Jeebusites and bigots, our actions are not equivalent to theirs. We are simply taking their actions to heart.

Timothy Kincaid
March 3rd, 2012 | LINK

No, Jay. Bigotry doesn’t become noble when it is justified by being directed to “real haters”. That is a misconception you share with anti-gays.

Either hatred is ignoble when you engage in it or your indignant objection to their hatred is meaningless.

Essentially it sounds like this

You: you’re a hater

Them: so are you

You: yeah but when you do it it’s a bad thing

Tim
March 3rd, 2012 | LINK

I agree with Jay. Mary did not deserve that. Being offensive to a religion is entirely different from attacking an individual.

Mary’s approach was not personal, Timothy’s was. Thats the ironic thing here.

I’m an atheist and I find any religious adherence pitiable, though I would not seek to be personally rude to any religionist because of their beliefs. When I think about the damage done to my friends, and other gay people by “Gods gentle people” I cannot see that Mary’s point is mis-directed. And NOM probably will use its resources to attack our allies.

Paul K
March 4th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy…being hateful IS a bad thing. A “jeebusite” -for many of us – is the same as a “christer” which is a term coined by Gore Vidal many years ago for those people who label themselves “christians” and think of themselves as “religious” but are far in thought and deed from anything remotely Jesus-like. A new term being used now is “christianist” meaning basically the same thing, used to distance the bigoted and prejudiced christian-in-name-only from those who practice a love and acceptance type of religion/superstition.

Ryan
March 4th, 2012 | LINK

Christians are more varied than even gays. (And sometimes, they’re both). If you use a slur to describe Christians, you’re describing them all, even the many, many of them that are on our side. If we say “oh, not those guys, they’re the good ones”, well…we all know how hollow that sounds when people say that to/about us. (“Oh, that guy’s a faggot. No, offense I don’t mean you, you’re cool”, etc)

Timothy Kincaid
March 5th, 2012 | LINK

Paul,

I am familiar with both terms and I see a distinct difference. Christianist (like its parallel homosexualist) seeks to clarify a subset of people. It is understood, in theory at least, that there are Christians who are not christianists, and while definitely pejorative, it isn’t necessarily intended as a slur.

Jeebusite was born out of mockery intended to play on stereotypes of uneducated religious people (“praise Jeebus”) and has since collected connotations of open contempt. To the person that uses this word there is no distinction between a Southern Baptist or a UCC pastor, it is a blanket expression which serves only one purpose: to inform the listener that they are a target of hate.

A funny thing about slurs like faggot, nigger, kike, Jeebusite, wetback, and so on is that they really are indefensible – but people still try.

If you say “that’s very offensive” a handful will apologize and not use the word again. Those are the few who were not acting out of malice but simply followed culture.

But when the response is either to justify the offending word through on-the-spot redefinition (like the previously mentioned “I don’t mean you”) or -worse yet – by saying that the target of the slur deserves to be the subjet of slurs, then you know that you are dealing with a hater.

Here’s the thing that I marvel about: why don’t haters claim it? Clearly some anti-gay and some anti-Christian people operate from a position of hate. It’s obvious. Haters can seldom avoid letting you know. And when in a space in which they believe it to be accepted they relish the opportunity to spew forth their venom. (read the comments in gay blogs and family blogs). But they always insist that it is not them that hate; no siree, it’s the faggot or the Jeebusite or whomever – THEY are the real hater.

And about the only thing that all parties agree on is that being a hater is BAD BAD BAD!!

Which results in the phenom in illustrated in comments above. Rather than cease hating (it feels so good and can become part of ones sense of self) they demand that you redefine the term to mean “those who hate, OTHER THAN those who hate who I hate”.

Blake
March 6th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,
While I don’t agree that jeebusite is on par with the other slurs you laid out above (while it certainly is an offensive pejorative term it has nowhere close to the cultural/social baggage of nigger or kike, for example. That being said, jeebusite could get there. But I don’t think it’s anywhere close right now (not that its lack of baggage justifies its use, just that the comparison you used is unfair. Jeebusite is more on par with, say, cracker or honkie or breeder)) I do think you raise an interesting question that I’ve been thinking a lot about anyway: “why don’t haters claim it?”

I think haters don’t claim it partially because haters can’t stand to think of themselves as haters. That’s a nasty label to self-apply. Once its there one has also forfeited the moral high ground until one can rebuild their reputation. Who, in our society, is going to take that long term view? Is it really such a surprise that they instead attempt to argue that their hate is not hate? I see people commenting with their facebook profiles saying the most hate-filled vitriolic things & there’s their smiling face & full name right there! I bet if you confronted any of those people in the real world they’d parrot some crap about how they don’t hate anyone & that’s just their opinion & the injustice of dadada or the other side will destroy society or THE CHILDREN, MY GOD THE CHILDREN!! People can’t stand to have the label of hater applied to them & they’re going to fight the evidence because if the evidence says what you say it says (which you’re correct) then they are a Hater. And they can’t be that! Is it a wonder that haters turn to semantic arguments when they’re called out on their intolerance? I doubt they’ve accepted to themselves that what they’re spewing is hatred.

I guess the cynical feel comfortable saying hateful stuff because most people have already sacrificed whatever reputation they have so there’s not much to be gained by keeping the moral high ground unless you’re called out on it. For example, look at the way Gingrich campaigns. Attack attack attack until someone says you’re a scumbag then it’s happy chill smiling Newt: a nice guy just caught up in the nastiness. His campaign is basically asking: Wouldn’t you do the same? A message which has kept him relevant.

I think another reason we’re loath to claim the mantel of hater is that we are caught up in a group mentality. I’ve seen others refer to it on these boards as tribalism. It’s much easier to live in a world of ‘my side good; your side bad’ than in the world you want us to live in: ‘my side good, but my side makes mistakes, mistakes of groupthink & blind prejudice, the same mistakes which place us in a precarious place in society; therefore I must fight both those who are opposed to my equality before the laws and those on my own side who cross the line’. I don’t think it should be the expectation of the leadership in the community to expect that the rank & file police themselves in this regard. Rather this point bleeds into my next & that is: a failure of leadership.

In the name of ‘whatever’ leadership (be it anti-gay or pro-gay) will often address the situation when one of their own crosses the line. Try to get an anti-gay to denounce Bryan Fisher or a Pro-Gay to denounce Dan Savage. Both cross the line (Fisher more often, in my opinion), but the American Family Association’s leadership gives Fisher a pass & the HRC/GLADD/whoeveryoulike give Savage a pass.

The cynic in me says: “They’re all making $$ so why would the leadership denounce those that bring the attention” but the more I look at what’s going on the more I rack it up to a combination of incompetence and being caught up in the echo chamber. Part of the reason y’all are my favorite blog is because y’all challenge our perceptions rather than spoon feeding us fearmongering-drivel and imagined outrage. You try to operate your blog outside of the echo chamber or at least on its periphery. It is precisely this effort which makes your blog stand out from other pro-gay blogs. While that is itself a shame, most others are willing to concede the moral high ground in the name of feeding prejudices & preconceptions while driving up traffic. They feel justified doing so because they’re doing whatever good they’re imagining they’re doing or because they’re so caught up in their own self-righteousness that the rulebook doesn’t apply to them (anyone ever try to read an article on queerty?).

Another reason I admire your blog is that, you, specifically, Timothy, step into the messy world of the comments section and challenge peoples notions, presumptions & mode of operations. That is spectacular. & spectacularly rare. If the leadership were to set the tone of ‘hate in any form is not acceptable’ then the rank & file would get the message. But they don’t. Or if they do, they don’t make it a priority. Be it for greed, or their own ignorance, or their own ingrained prejudices, or their own calculation of the ends justifying the means; whatever the reason, the majority of the leadership fails us in this regard.

Finally, give the rank-&-file a chance. It is a long slow journey to purge oneself of knee-jerk-hatred & not all folks are as ideologically pure as you (nor do they see the value in being so). A lot of people on our side see the gradations, like the difference between a word like jeebesite or cracker & a word like nigger or kike, and then conclude that one is acceptable while the others are not. Is such a logical failure really such a stretch? I think the misstep of the jeebesite folks is partially due to the wider struggle; isn’t it a moot point if the word jeebesite is terribly offensive as long as we are denied our equality before the laws? Doesn’t the injustice of discrimination outweigh the injustice of the minority created slurs against the majority? While I disagree in principal with that train of thought, I can see its appeal & I’ve bought into it in the past. I think it remains a popular line of faulty reasoning because a. the wider culture encourages it because it can score an ‘instant victory’ in an echo chamber & b. those engaging in such a line of thought aren’t cognizant that or don’t believe that their means will color their ends.

Some thoughts. But I’m not surprised at all when the haters respond with semantic arguments rather than addressing their own prejudices and assumptions. I’m a sincere believer in the idea that all human action is justified from the perspective of the actor. Regardless of how that individual reaches a place of justification, regardless of whatever logical fallacies committed in order for him/her to get there, the actor feels justified in acting as he does. And a lot of people are not willing to accept that their actions were unjustified.

Regardless, keep up the good work.

Timothy Kincaid
March 7th, 2012 | LINK

Blake, thanks and some really good points. Especially how Jeebusite does not carry the cultural taboo that the other examples have (and thus its usage may not have the level of animus suffient to overcome social backlash as they might).

Some day I’ll rant on about why it is foolish to separate certain words as forbidden. Words don’t carry bad magic vibes – they are merely tools for transporting messages. It is these sage and attitude that matter.

Which is how we end up with GLAAD running a positive school campaign to ‘don’t say gay’ (as a term for ‘lame’) and the anti-gay Tennessee voting for a ‘don’t say gay’ schools bill to prohibit teachers from providing accurate information or protecting gay students.

Alternately words carry layers of meaning and if all agree that some are off the table then the transgression of that rule provides meaning. The trick is not to have the goal be removing the tools of communication as we sometimes see. (but enough .. some other day)

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