In which my tolerance is tested

21 02 2010
I’m blowing off church this morning.  Probably the days when I feel like I just can’t deal with it are the days I need it the most… but I just can’t deal with it today.  I’m discouraged on a number of fronts and it’s probably best to stay here and wallow in it until it’s over. 
 
Stupidly, one of the things that is affecting me strongly is an exchange I’ve had on Facebook.  I posted a link from CPAC, in which a young man rattles off a bunch of racist and sexist stereotypes:
 And I heard back from a young man who grew up in my church – I know he’s a flaming conservative.  But he’s also one of those who doesn’t recognize how he’s benefitted from his white male privilege, and truly believes that his success in life is all his own doing – you know, that he’s made all the right choices and that’s how he’s gotten where he is. 
 
Other times I can let it pass.  Alan is who he is.  But at the same time, I can’t believe that he can listen to jokes at the expense of named blacks and gay men, and still tell me “Come on, you know that’s funny!”  Because oh my god, it’s not funny.  He not only thinks it’s funny, he thinks that makes him a better person.  He describes my attitude as political correctness.  I describe it as thinking about how people feel about their identity.  I’m beginning to discover that those who most like to complain about political correctness are those who are unwilling to address their own position of privilege. 
 
I have no illusions about how I’ve gotten to where I am.  I did make a bunch of good choices and I’ve had success.  I also had a bunch of bad choices that I somehow managed to get away with, and that’s just luck.  I’m a white woman in a predominantly white society, with an overwhelmingly white power structure. I’m blessed that the women’s movement cracked open some doors.  I can take credit for who I am and the things I do.  My economic success?  That comes from my choices, an element of luck, and a pretty good societal starting position. 
 
I think it’s the smugness of the successful conservative that finally pushes me over the edge.  So certain that they have all the answers, and that everything they have is somehow their own doing.  And so willing to leave the rest of society in the mud because they don’t look or sound the same.  I despair when I call out that attitude only to hear some version of “Lighten up!”  The successful conservative has never been on the receiving end of those mocking attitudes, and doesn’t care what kind of damage they do. 
 
And that young man from my church?  Still goes to church.  Still thinks of himself as a good Christian… and I know that’s not my call, that the state of his soul is between him and God.  But I have to wonder what kind of filter he has up when he reads the gospel.  Because the Jesus I read about was in the trenches, reaching out to the outcasts of his society. 
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2 responses

21 02 2010
katherinespins

But… but… we LIKE Canada! They’re civilized and nice and they have universal health care. In theory Canada could even have a a good influence on CPAC, but I really fear that it could work the other way around.

21 02 2010
bondwooley

These CPAC people have to be shipped to Canada – so that the rest of us don’t have to move there.

The Last Straw:
http://bit.ly/ahQTbl

(social satire)

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