Doctor Science Knows

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Blogcomment record: Racism; Equal marriage

Two comments left at Orcinus:

1. To the post on The threat of difference, which is mostly about Jonah Goldberg's statement that the "Darwin fish" is offensive:

Dave: I have to disagree with you here:
when in fact no gay marriage on the planet harms a single straight marriage
Same-sex marriage harms traditional marriages two ways:

1) It threatens the closeted.

To the Ted Haggards and Jim McGreeveys, same-sex marriage is a taunt: you didn't have to settle for the closet. Orson Scott Card's diatribes against same-sex marriage have this flavor: he says het marriage is intrinsically more difficult than gay marriage, so hets need to be rewarded or they won't do it. If you feel like you're in prison, seeing other people free really is a threat.

2) Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.

Traditional marriage involves one dominant person with full legal rights and a submissive person with lesser rights. Same-sex marriage is clearly between two people with the *same* legal rights, and there is no cue to say which partner is dominant or submissive. Same-sex marriage is *equal* marriage, and thus really does threaten traditional unequal marriage by being a counter-example.

In other words: cats and dogs, sleeping together, mass hysteria.

2. In That dialogue on race: the hard part, about the difficulty of talking about racial issues in America, "Jaqueline Quinn" linked to a coffeeandink post on talking about race in fandom. I wrote:

From another part of the same internet conversation Jackie is referencing:

Baby-stepping away from racism: A guide for white people. Most important in this particular case are baby-steps #2 and #4: "Shut up" -- it's not about *you*; and "Act in a *supporting* role".

One of the many take-home I've learned from the racism conversation among sf/media fans is that references to someone's "tone" (on the internet, at least) are almost always the red flag of Fail. "I would have agreed with her about racism in X if it weren't for her *tone*" -- that usually translates to: "My privilege, let me show you it! My feelings should come first!"

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  • 2) Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other

    You know, I don't think I've ever seen this put as succinctly before. I'll be appropriating this for my everyday conversation, if you don't mind.

    By Blogger Chris Clarke, at 10:03 AM  

  • Hey, no problem! I shall think of it as a "homage"!

    I'm not actually sure if it's my line, or if my teenager came up with it in a "Mom, what are they so afraid of?" discussion. I kind of think it was her, which bodes very well for the future.

    By Blogger Doctor Science, at 11:47 AM  

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