Gays, Blacks, Whites and Silence

October 19, 2009 · By

Dr. Dawg has a post up at his blog noting that a number of different conservative blogs were decrying gay marriage, but none were displaying the appropriate disgust for the Louisiana Justice of the Peace, Keith Bardwell, who would not marry interracial couples.  He calls out this post here at ThePolitic.  Though I didn’t write it, I hope Tom won’t mind me responding with a few thoughts.

First, I might suggest that the reason for this apparent silence is because miscegenation is not a big issue right now.  There was no equivalent to prop 8 seeking an injunction against interracial marriage.  Further, in Canada if not in the Bayou, the question of interracial marriage is, essentially, settled.  The courts may feel that the issue of gay marriage is settled, but anyone paying attention would no that it isn’t.  So, gay marriage is topical and, thus, better fodder for a blog post.

Second, perhaps people like Tom feel that outcries against interracial marriage are so self-evidently wretched that they need not be refuted.  Perhaps he thinks that no one who reads ThePolitic needs to be reminded of this.  Such an analysis may not be correct, but it is, nonetheless, reasonable.

Finally, though we post on a lot of non-Canadian issues (my very first post was on Australian domestic policy), ThePolitic is, still, a predominantly Canadian blog (perhaps with some ex-pats).  Granted, Tom Cerber is not: he’s a Dutch guy who was writing from Laos.  It’s not unreasonable for us to be unaware (or pay little attention) to an issue that pertains to the state of Louisiana.  Further, Tom is not even contributing to ThePolitic anymore, so to call out ThePolitic for hypocrisy is not particularly fair.

All that aside, I think there is a valid point buried in the good Doctor’s post.  It is easy for bloggers (and pundits and people in general) to ignore stories that do not fit their particular narrative (even if they do not contradict that narrative).  It is good to break from such blogging routines (whether the routine is intentional or not).  It is also important to challenge those with whom we tend to agree on such issues.  Echo chambers are great for creating echoes.  They’re lousy for creating policy.

By the way, in case I didn’t make it sufficiently clear, I agree with our canine physician.  There is nothing wrong with interracial marriage and anyone who says otherwise is a disgusting racist and a contemptible human being.  I hope Justice of the Peace David Duke gets fired from his job and shamed by his community (though embraced if he realizes his sin and honestly repents).

Oh, and by the way, Dr. Dawg, I agree with you that gay marriage should be legal.

Comments

13 Responses to “Gays, Blacks, Whites and Silence”

  1. Christopher Northcott on October 20th, 2009 11:00 am [#]

    Racist prejudice is alive and well, which isn’t exactly a surprise.

    Kathy Shaidle had an excellent post yesterday on why talking about race, frankly, matters:

    http://www.fivefeetoffury.com/.....0-17-0000/

    Cerber is making an argument for accommodation, which is worth considering, even when we disagree strongly with another’s viewpoint or conduct.

    When accommodation is readily available, it is a matter of civility.

  2. Dr.Dawg on October 20th, 2009 7:38 pm [#]

    Jonathan:

    Sorry for the delay in get back to you on this–I am hard at work on a couple of contracts, and have–for the first time in three years or so–let three days go by without bloggery.

    What I find interesting in the obvious inconsistency of reaction is this. I don’t think that conservatives are secretly opposed to “miscegenation.” But many of them are not-so-secretly anti-gay.

    But this isn’t about racism or homophobia directly. It’s about racists and homophobes and their alleged rights.

    My contention is that a public official serves all of the public. He or she shouldn’t get to pick or choose. Yet, oddly, the Canadian marriage commissioner in question really did no more than the Louisiana justice of the peace did. He acted–quite improperly–by discriminating in his role as a public official.

    My suspicion is that conservatives find it easier to defend a homophobic act, even an illegal one, as an issue of “conscience,” than to defend a racist act in that way. I would suggest that this may be tactical prudence on their part. But, whatever it is, I don’t think the inconsistency of reaction can be explained in the manner that you do.

    The case was all over the news. The benign neglect of most conservatives is a matter of record, given the fury with which they greeted criticism of the Saskatchewan marriage commissioner.

    Incidentally, I wasn’t knocking The Politic. I was merely linking to one of many articles from the Right that defended that public official against entirely justified criticism.

  3. Dr.Dawg on October 20th, 2009 7:40 pm [#]

    is a matter of record, given the fury

    Read: “is a matter of record, and remarkable given the fury

  4. Jonathan McLeod on October 20th, 2009 8:19 pm [#]

    Wow. Three days without blogging, how dare you!

    By the way, thanks for making the bulk of my post moot. Next time, I’ll read your post more carefully (or, at least, not late at night).

    Since it’s a different topic, I’ll accurately respond to your post in a separate post here on ThePolitic.

    [Update: the new post can be found here.]

    As an aside, I think it’s fair to read your post as calling out ThePolitic, if only mildly. And, I don’t really mind a whole lot. Readers and fellow bloggers should always feel free to ask us for comment on related topics.

  5. Jonathan McLeod on October 20th, 2009 11:24 pm [#]

    Christopher,

    I don’t see much that is pertinent in the post to which you link. Ms. Shaidle isn’t talking about talking about racism, she’s talking about talking about racialism.

    Conor (if I may be so bold as to use his first name) has written some very good articles on racism and racialism. Although I have more issues with Al Sharpton than I do Rush Limbaugh (the two characters in the Conor/Kathy spat), I am more concerned about racism than I am about racialism.

    Ms. Shaidle’s post betrays any notion that she is arguing for discourse. After lambasting Conor, she trumpets the fact that she is unwilling to address or confront his ideas.

    (My apologies, I had written a better response, but it got lost in the ether… or I forgot to hit “Submit” before navigating away.)

  6. Kathy Shaidle on October 21st, 2009 4:05 am [#]

    Ah yes, one of Dr. Dawg’s favorite ploys, besides the picking of invisible nits:

    “Why aren’t you blogging about X???!!! That surely proves YYY!!!”

    No, that surely proves that perhaps, like Dawg, we have better things to do, and other interests, and don’t think a single dopey story out of the South that is only being played up up here for the sake of Yankee bashing, is worth our time.

    I find it fascinating that the left is so allergic to the notion of private property and individual autonomy that they feel they should have a say in what appears in other people’s publications, be they blogs or Maclean’s magazine…

    Race has no inherent moral component. Homosexuality does. And I have met so many gay-until-graduation, politically and artistically motivated homosexuals-by-choice to entirely buy the notion that, like race, sexual preference is involuntary. Gay activists cannot insist on the one hand that “gender is fluid” and then claim that there is a “gay gene.” The two are mutually exclusive, but of course, different “theories” suit different legal and political ends.

    Race and sexual preference are therefore not conflatable. I know leftists love to meld the two, along with gender and everything else, until the whole concept of “analogy” becomes meaningless. Everything is the next Vietnam, and everyone is the new Rosa Parks. Except — they aren’t. Period. No matter what they “taught” you at school.

    I think the justice of the peace is a silly man who should get another job. It is an “oddly enough” story of no more import than finding an image of the Virgin Mary in a pancake.

    The story is an excuse to indulge in self-satisfying America-bashing and moral preening.

  7. Jonathan McLeod on October 21st, 2009 5:34 am [#]

    Ms. Shaidle,

    Thank you for coming by. I agree that most of us have too many things going on in real life to blog about every issue under the sun (which is why it is quite nice of you and all of our commenters to read our posts and take the time to respond).

    I don’t think there’s a whole lot that I could add to your post. Though I support legal gay marriage, I don’t equate it to interracial marriage. I can respect some arguments against gay marriage. There are no arguments against interracial marriage that I can respect.

  8. Dr.Dawg on October 21st, 2009 5:55 am [#]

    Homosexuality has a moral component? Says who? Besides religious theologues reading it out a book?

    In any case, setting aside the boilerplate Shaidleisms, we come to this:

    Gay activists cannot insist on the one hand that “gender is fluid” and then claim that there is a “gay gene.” The two are mutually exclusive, but of course, different “theories” suit different legal and political ends.

    I’m not certain that this makes sense, but I assume that KS is trying to say that we’ll gladly use contradictory theories for the same political and legal ends.

    Nothing contradictory here, though. The “gay gene” creates a proclivity, but that doesn’t exclude bisexuality. And sexual orientation, in any case, has knock-all to do with gender, which is very fluid indeed. Male homosexuals see themselves as men, and lesbians, as women.

    If KS can’t tell the difference between sexual orientation and gender, and wants to flaunt her ignorance, that’s entirely up to her. Things get more serious when public officials are defended for discriminating against the public they are supposed serve.

    Is KS is seriously arguing, by the way, that criticizing what appears (or doesn’t) in other blogs is an attack on property rights? Who knew?

  9. Dr.Dawg on October 21st, 2009 6:03 am [#]

    PS: In case I wasn’t clear on gender, the notion of what characteristics define a “man” or a “woman” is amazingly variable, over time and cross-culturally. But as noted, sexual orientation has nothing to do with any of that. “Sex” and “gender” are quite different animals.

  10. Christopher Northcott on October 21st, 2009 10:41 am [#]

    I comment on sexual orientation over on the US War Deserter post: http://www.thepolitic.com/arch...../#comments

    I agree with Kathy that it’s pretty big stretch to conflate it with race.

    Jonathan, how is Shaidle’s post not pertinent here? The issue is why are conservatives not blogging about the Louisiana JP. My comment inferred that conservatives need to be willing to talk about race and frankly.

    With respect to Conor, Kathy lambasts him as a conservative careerist. She writes, “He believes, as leftists do, that merely talking about race is racism.” … I’ve never read Conor’s stuff. Maybe this is true. Maybe not.

    However, with respect, the problem with reducing all political conversation to pithy dogmas, be they “racism” or “racialism,” is to avoid actual clarity; to gloss over contingent circumstances with generalization.

    The Louisiana JP himself says that he is not a racist. … We might beg to differ, but he’s a threat to no one. … If accommodation is possible, all should stop being so sensitive and go on their merry way.

    People are crazy. That’s not news.

    But civil society is about getting along anyway. And even the offices of the state need to accommodate if we expect, in the slightest, our public officials to be men of conscience.

    Just consider how the holocaust was carried out by bureaucrats who were just doing their job.

  11. Christopher Northcott on October 21st, 2009 10:58 am [#]
  12. Dr.Dawg on October 21st, 2009 1:57 pm [#]

    Just curious–who is conflating sexual orientation with race? Certainly not I. I was comparing two public officials, both of whom discriminated against members of the public, and wondering aloud why conservatives were noisy in one case and all but silent in the other.

    It’s an interesting enough question. Do you have an answer?

  13. Jonathan McLeod on October 21st, 2009 8:12 pm [#]

    Dr.,

    I think my original post lead people astray a bit. I misread your original post, and thus it was reasonable for people to infer that I was claiming that someone was conflating the two, so I’m probably to blame for this.

    Christopher,

    I think the length of my posts and most of my comments demonstrate that I am not one to avoid specificity and deal only in generalities (and that’s not, necessarily a point in my favour). Categories may be imprecise, but that does mean they have no use.