Alex Blaze

Mormon is not the new Black

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 15, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media, Politics
Tags: black, lds church, LGBT, Mormon, NAACP, people, Prop. 8, Salt Lake City, utah, white

Back when The Advocate put "Gay is the new Black" on its cover and you couldn't find a gay internet forum without a white gay person saying that we were "the last minority it's OK to discriminate against" or some such drivel, did you ever wonder how stupid it would sound if homophobes said the same thing? Well, wonder no more:

I mean, only white people, you know what I'm saying? Would African Americans, after a successful action like the Birmingham bus boycott (which, by the way, required more risk than sending a few bucks to pay for homophobic ads in California), have complained that they received sternly-worded postcards?

This is bigotry 2.0. It's a little different from the racism and nativism of the last century in that the haters now demand we boo-hoo with them over their self-esteem and they accuse everyone else of being a bigot against them. With logic that would bewilder the average 8-year-old, they say it's intolerant not to tolerate intolerance, so there!

So there, indeed. It's about as important as this deep, philosophical question: could Jesus have heated water so hot that even he couldn't have touched it? Or, more precisely, asking if it's OK to be tolerant of intolerance is about as valuable as asking if vegans can swallow.

The right isn't going to demonize the Black people of the Civil Rights Era as much, though. According to bigotry 2.0, Black people in the Civil Rights Movement were saints... the only nuance is that, as a result of decades of revisionist history, they were only fighting against the most overt racism, were blind to white privilege, happily shared most of the same values as the Confederate-flag waving crowd of 2009, and were looking forward to the day when they could put away their signs and say, "Well, glad that racism thing is over. Now let's go get some real jobs." (That day occurred some time before Nixon's resignation and is excluded from librul elitist history books because grumble grumble ACORN grumble NEA grumble....)

Anyway, the local NAACP chapter responded:

The analogy in Oaks' speech has sparked some debate already in Utah. The NAACP in Salt Lake City said it was not appropriate for Oaks to make the comparison.

"I think that a lot of times that people don't stop and think because they have not had to walk in the shoes of African Americans," said Jeanetta Williams, President of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch.

What's annoying about both gays saying that they're the new black and Mormons saying they're the new black is that they're both based on the same cartoonish history of the Civil Rights Movement most white people learn in the US. Moreover, they're nothing more than cynical attempts to tie one's own suffering, however one defines it, to the pure and perfect sufferers of American history: Black people before they got all those special rights that unfairly helped them get ahead.

All of which does nothing to help Black people. But, then again, white people, am I right?


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twinkie1cat | October 16, 2009 1:02 AM

No, Mormons are not the new blacks. They are the old original blacks because they are the only religious group in America that was actively pursued and threatened with death if they did not leave their state of residence. (I believe it was Missouri.)even before slavery ended.They are the only religious group ever actively persecuted in America. That is how they ended up in Utah. In fact that was why they changed their theology to end plural marriage, not because they no longer believed in it, but because they wanted Utah to be admitted as a state.

You would think that a group that knows persecution as well as the Mormons do would never discriminate against another minority, wouldn't you? Sorry. Doesn't seem to work that way. You just deny that they are a minority.

God has been dealing with me on the subject of hating on conservatives. I think they are blasphemous to the Holy Spirit if they call themselves Christians and are prejudiced, and rejecting the walk of Jesus if they are social conservatives. As far as gay prejudice goes, I love to quote Ezekiel 16:48-50 which tells us why the Sodomites really got burned up. But as a Christian, I have to tolerate them, let them have their freedom of speech and religion, and let God take care of making sure they are frequently observed having to have their collective feet surgically removed from their mouths so that they are undermined.

I agree that there is discrimination in the history of the LDS church. It's true! But they weren't talking about that - they were talking about their actions in the prop 8 fight.

Also, I disagree that they're the only church to be discriminated against. There is a history of anti-semitism in the US, and several House members want to investigate interns on the hill because they're muslim:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/10/15/investigation/index.html

And atheists have often been directly discriminated against, and students used to be forced to pray to jesus in school. Native Americans were shipped off to reeducation camps to have Christianity instilled in them and to eliminate their native religions.

All of these connections, though, are probably lost on the LDS church leadership when it comes to coalition building. They seem to be acting a lot less like an unpopular religion and a lot more like the evangelical protestants lately.

I'm with you on the "gay is the new black" thing for a variety of reasons. Chief among them, it trivializes the black civil rights movement; it ignores how gay rights overlap with other rights (e.g. black civil rights, women's rights, etc.); and while there's nothing wrong with various civil rights movements identifying with one another and seeing themselves as part of a common cause of equality for all, they should also seek success on their own merits rather than being so...unoriginal. I mean, the gay rights movement goes back to the mid-1800s, and anti-gay oppression has been happening in the West for nearly 2,000 years, so I don't see why we need to compare our movement to others...

But I have to take issue with the "only white people, you know what I'm saying" remark. Other people of color and the rare people of predominantly Caucasian descent raised by people of color (ahem) will get what you mean, but frankly, I found that remark kind of racist.

Sure, "X is the new black" is a trivialization of the Civil Rights movement most likely to come out of the mouth of a white person, but at the same time, your comment that black people are "the pure and perfect sufferers of American history" would elicit more than a few choice words from a lot of Native Americans I know. Or are those kinds of statements only "annoying" when white people make them?

If you want to discuss rhetoric by white people that displays an ignorance of the history of race relations and civil rights in America, it doesn't help when you attempt to bolster your case by attributing bad behavior to people based on their skin color.

I should mention, however, that the first time I ever heard the statement that gays are the last acceptable targets of discrimination, it was from a black guy.

Actually, that comment was referring to people comparing receiving postcards to Jim Crow. I've never heard such a specious comparison from anyone other than white people, and no, that's not a causation argument. I think, on some level, not facing racism on a daily basis does in fact make people a little blind to how hurtful it can be, and it's worse than receiving a postcard.

And the statement about Black people being the "pure and perfect sufferers of American history" was not meant to be taken as me saying that they're the actual pure and perfect sufferers of American history, as demonstrated by the statement on "special rights," from later in that sentence. Take it as more an observation of how the right (as well as many liberals) have revised history as well as the present to make it seem like racism is a thing of the past.

While Utah Mormons compare themselves to African-Americans, local Libertarian Congressional candidate Eric Schansberg is A href="http://schansblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/bilerico-nambla-lite.html">comparing Bilerico to Nambla. I'd write a response on B-IN, but I only respond to candidates with at least a chance of winning.

I don't know Bill I looked at it. He was using it as an example and not saying that Bilerico was comparable to NAMBLA. He seemed to be saying that were he to claim that it would be ridiculous in reference to comparing a political group to Westboro Baptists.
What I got out of it was that he does not believe or claim that and thought that Bilerico was irresponsible for having let someone make a similar type of connection here. He complained that anyone on the end of the spectrum of an issue is going to be colored like the extremists.
I thought that he made a really valid point though he did it with a slap in the face which was responding to the same sort of slap.

Instead of arguing about whether Gays are the new Black or Mormons are the new Black or even maybe Blacks are the only Blacks, maybe we should pull the carpet out from under this game by pointing out that No matter who you are and how badly you've been shat upon, playing victim will only get you so far.

What it boils down to is this: One of the costs we all pay for living in a nation of Free Speech is that someone out there is going to dislike a group I belong to, and those people are going to say nasty things about my group. That is true of every group I can think of. (Some people don't even like kids. I'm not out to eliminate children, but I would prefer not to sit next to a squalling baby all the way from New York to LA.)

I am sick and tired of groups playing victim --- including gays, but especially the groups that "invent" their oppression just so that they can play the victim card. You want to be a victim? Throw those assholes into the closest open septic tank, no matter who they are!