The Jezebel who cried ‘racist’

Jezebel, a Gawker Media blog that writes about women’s interests, recently published an article titled Victoria’s Secret’s Racist Garbage Is Just Asking for a Boycott. The article complains about the Karlie Kloss warrior’s headdress bikini costume worn at a fashion show last week as well as other absurd slights against Native Americans such as No Doubt’s “Looking Hot” music video and Paul Frank’s “neon pow-wow” fashion night which was also called “racist” by the Beyond Buckskin Native American Fashion blog.

Culturally Insensitive? Yes. Racist? No.

This broad catch-all definition of ‘racism’ has got to go. These same crusaders against insensitivity must surely realize how incredibly insensitive they are being to victims of true racism throughout history and even today and how counterproductive they are being to having a serious and productive dialogue about race by conflating it with culture and sensitivity.

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Chick-fil-a isn’t the problem (part 2)

…continued from Part 1

(1) Gay marriage will invite God’s judgment upon the U.S. or destroy the institution of marriage.

This is a statement with which I completely disagree.

At the heart of this issue is the fear that many Christians hold that granting equal rights to gays and lesbians to marry will bring God’s judgement upon the United States. This is rooted in the belief that the “success” of the U.S. is a result our strong Christian heritage or that the institution of marriage is strongest when it is defined by Biblical standards.

My basic starting point for most political positions are, “Do I, as an individual, have the right to use violent force to make or prevent someone from engaging in a certain behavior?” The violent force part of this question is rooted in the basic breakdown of how all laws are enforced. Even a $50 speeding ticket has the threat of violence behind it to enforce it. The individual component of it is rooted in the political theory of what powers democracies should or shouldn’t have and the idea that collective government is merely an extension of the individual’s natural rights. On that premise alone, I am very hesitant to “ban” same-sex marriage, but obviously the issue is more complicated.

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Chick-fil-a isn’t the problem (part 1)

…but your reasons for boycotting Chick-fil-a might be.

“Damn you Chick-fil-a!”

We seem to be hearing an awful lot of that sentiment going around the web lately. This big hoopla is in response to a quote from son of Chick-fil-a founder and COO of Chick-fil-a Dan Cathy’s recent quote:

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

This has lead to a numerous divisive “discussions” (I use that term very lightly) on the internet, the mayors of ChicagoBoston, and San Francisco making comments that Chick-fil-a is not welcome in their city, and the Jim Henson company possibly (I’ll explain the “possibly” later) ending its kids meal toy partnership with Chick-fil-a.

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Is it okay to question the truth of a rape story?

My gut response to that question is a fast and unequivocal, “NEVER!”

I am sure most people reading this feel the same way.

Rape disgusts me. I think rapists should have the death penalty. I think our culture’s attitude towards rape is horribly permissive. I might be biased though. I was raped by two men when I was fourteen. I was too ashamed to report what happened to me, and as far as I know those men are still wandering free to this day, have raped countless other boys, and that makes me pretty sick inside.

Questioning the truthfulness of a rape story is extremely problematic. For starters, who in their right mind would lie about being raped? How horrible is it to subject the victim of a violent and destructive crime to doubt and scrutiny, thus placing the victim on trial? Doesn’t that further play into the “blame the victim” mentality and misogyny-prone culture we live in already? Won’t this decrease the chances that a woman will come forward and report a rape, thus allowing rapists to go free and commit more heinous acts before being caught?

Questioning the truthfulness of a rape story seems to introduce all kinds of terrible problems for what seems like very little benefit.

But then I thought about how our justice system works: Someone is innocent until proven guilty. If people hadn’t been falsely accused of committing a crime in the past, this wouldn’t be a necessary part of our justice system. People do falsely accuse people of committing crimes. Sometimes it is by accident. Sometimes it is on purpose. Would a woman ever falsely accuse someone of raping her?

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When bad people happen to good things

This is a response to an OpEd published in the Chicago Flame written by Salwa Shameem titled Islam and the West: Take two.

People do bad things because human beings are flawed. The justification and reasoning for their behavior comes from whatever is handy. Sometimes the excuse for bad behavior comes from the (mis)interpretation of a religious edict as Salwa has pointed out here. No matter the religion, human beings seem to be masterful at stretching any idea to ridiculous extremes in order to justify their behavior.

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The end of racism?

Recently, many people have been discussing the possibility of the “beginning of the end of racism.” Often this conversation is lumped with a discussion about the origins of racism. The most common explanation I hear is of innocent children being indoctrinated by closed minded adults to think certain minorities are inferior for one reason or another.

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“you’re _____ and I’m _____”

I recently read a note written by a friend of mine who was thanking someone for understanding him – even though his friend was white and he was Asian. On the surface this sounded pretty harmless as I’m sure it was intended to be. But it made me think of something a little more sinister – something implied by that statement that runs much deeper and, while based in some truth, turns out to be more of a self-fulfilling prophesy than anything else.

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