Friday, March 28, 2003

I really owe Ampersand a permalink. Someone who can come up with White Man's Fallacy deserves constant attention.

But is it really? I think there are many worthwhile political agendas that are served when minorities and women demand respect ("demand respect" is, I realize, a loaded term; but so is "hypersensitivity").

1. When the nation's leaders speak in public, they are setting the tone for the rest of the culture. If Senators and Congressmen felt comfortable referring to "kikes" and cracking Jewish jokes in public, then that indicates that doing so is mainstream and polite; and anyone who objects would be out on the margins (and perhaps even hypersensitive). Policing how leaders talk in public is a legitimate political agenda.
2. A marginalized group that can't even command minimal politeness in public - that can't, for example, reasonably expect that its sacred rituals won't be publicly mocked - has much less chance of having any more substantive policy agenda put through.
3. Respect and courtesy are legitimate political ends to seek, in their own right.

Reading these things restores my faith in white people. When you have such shining examples of Bob Bennet
and Trent Lott out there speaking for "the good people of America" you began to lose faith in the idea of tolerance and decency.

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