The Mask of Cultural Hatred
“People vote their identity, not issues.”
– Cecile Andrews in Living Room Revolution
"People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all."
--Richard Cohen, Washington Post Columnist, 11/12/13
This morning, my twitter feed was buzzing about the comments that Washington Post Columnist said in defense of claims that the Republican Party is racist. His statements, on behalf of those whom he considers culturally conservative, was full of racist assumptions and perspective. I choose to believe that his comments, do not represent the beliefs of most Americans who identify themselves as culturally and politically conservative. I do not want to make the same mistake that has been made over and over again of making a polarizing figure a representative of an entire group of people.
However, I am intrigued by his use of words as a defense of being called racist. "Conventional" means to conform or adhere to acceptable standards or generally agreed upon codes of conduct. Mr. Cohen begins his statement by attempting to speak on behalf of a culture. After all, isnt culture simply often unspoken assumptions of roles, relationships, and responsibilities? He assumes that those who know the appropriate standards are sickened by the thought of a white man and a black woman having children who fascinatingly enough, end up being biracial. In order to push his point further, he has to mention that the mayor-elect wife has had same sex relationships in the past. Surely, that solidifies his point that conventional viewers should be outraged.
What Mr. Cohen misses is that his language is betraying his character, and may I be bold enough to say, his hatred. Dehumanization begins with objectifying others. He is not critical of the mayor-elect and his wife because of what they are doing (policy wise) but because of what he perceives they are. Thats where the ugly head of racism raises its head! When we begin to think of others as less because of the color of their skin or ethnicity, we begin to dehumanize them and that justifies every type of violence and degardation. He brings up his wife because she is black. He mentions her history because of the connotations he feels towards lesbians. It is easier to hate, easier to destroy, and most of all, easiest to feel justified in doing that.
Lets take some time to evaluate the words that are being said and speak against the language and rehetoric that masks hatred that is expressed in every type of -ism out there. Noting that our political activity has more to do with our understanding of who we are than the issues that are present.
Love to hear your thoughts,