This Twitter account retweets all of the racist, sexist, and homophobic things written by St. Louis Cardinals fans … alongside tweets that celebrate the Cardinals fans as the best in all of baseball.
It’s getting more and more difficult to just be a racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic misogynist these days without some spoil-sport coming along and pointing it out.
HT: Michael Tofias.
Comment of the Day
Michael Tofias replied to your photo: There’s a website tracking the usage of homophobic…
I like this new thing where you are tracking the responses to the people who are tracking hate speech.
Seems like a good idea for a new blog ….
There’s a website tracking the usage of homophobic language on Twitter.
The above photo was taken at approximately 2pm today and it only captures what has been written on Twitter so far today.
The unsurprising — but still very sad — finding is that there’s a ton of homophobia online; perhaps even sadder is that some people are more concerned about whether the homophobes are free to say what they want (Hint: They are) than they are about the terrible things people continue to say.
HT: Carly Jacobs.
Anonymous asked: I am curious to hear what you think about UNL-Haters, a tumblr dedicated to posting screen captures of Husker undergraduates' racist or homophobic tweets. There is also an OSU version as well. Do you think pointing out the racism or homophobia can help change attitudes? Or is it simply a reminder of how social media can showcase undergraduates' ignorance?
I’ll begin by saying that I didn’t know this Tumblr existed, though apparently it’s been around for a couple of weeks now. Once I learned about it, from this anonymous message, the next step involved hoping that none of the racist or homophobic tweets were written by students in my class.
So, now, what do I think of the concept?
As someone who has previously gathered up racist tweets or status updates and posted them for all to see, I’m not going to find much fault with it. It might be embarrassing to the undergraduates who wrote the racist or homophobic tweets, but I haven’t heard a compelling argument about why they shouldn’t be embarrassed. Indeed, my hope is that the embarrassment (or threat of embarrassment) will eventually lead fewer and fewer people to feel comfortable about posting this sort of thing online.
I’m not surprised that people believe these things, and I’m not even surprised that they publish them online with their names and photos attached — though I used to be. The idea that the youth of America are much more enlightened than their parents on these matters doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. But the fact that websites like this one exist might begin to impress upon young people that there are consequences to the publication of your racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the like. One such consequence is that people might learn something about you that they don’t like.
Now, if you don’t want people to look askance at you for the racist things you’ve written, maybe you’ll think twice before writing them. And maybe, while you’re thinking twice, you’ll start to wonder why people would look askance at you for writing something you thought was funny. And then you might even start to question whether the thing you wanted to write is actually funny at all.
And then, just like that, we’re making progress.
This clip is almost a month old — it comes from a Bloggingheads diavlog about the Chick-Fil-A controversy — but I just got to it the other day and I’m still sort of amazed by the way it concludes.
“Let’s leave aside the question of whether or not being gay is a choice,” says Daniel Foster of the National Review Online, and then he proceeds to simply assume that it’s a choice or a behavior such that people can simply choose not to be — or act — gay.
For Foster, this is the central reason why the struggle for gay and lesbian equality shouldn’t be compared to the civil rights struggle: Being black isn’t a behavior, but being gay apparently might be. The presupposition here is that gays and lesbians are making a behavioral choice and they could simply choose to have a nice, traditional marriage instead. This is fairly preposterous … but, of course, Foster is only playing a hypothetical game here so he won’t get himself into trouble.
Now, if we don’t leave aside the “debate” about whether someone is born gay or not, as Foster has asked us to do to play his freshman year philosophy game, then Foster is simply arguing that gays and lesbians are making a choice to act on their sexual orientation when they might choose not to do so. They might be born gay, but they don’t have to behave that way … so why should they be rewarded by society with marriage equality?
Now, I’m not sure if I have a choice in the matter, but I find this line of argumentation pretty offensive.
So … this popped up in iTunes yesterday — since I suscribe to the Bloggingheads podcasr feed so I can listen to their always-interesting shows during my commute to work and back — and I thought to myself, “I’m not sure I’ll even be able to listen to this.”
E.J. Graff (The American Prospect, Brandeis University) and Maggie Gallagher (National Organization for Marriage)
On The Posner Show, E.J. and Maggie debate gay marriage. Maggie argues that sex can’t be separated from reproduction. E.J. believes gay marriage is the result of changing attitudes toward marriage in general, not a cause of that change. What is the purpose of civil marriage, and is it compatible with gay marriage? Maggie explains why she thinks gay marriage could negatively affect marriage as an institution. Finally, they discuss whether children need a mother and a father.
You can click on the links in the description above to listen to the shorter clips of the various topics they cover if you don’t have the time, patience, or love of punishment that the full hour requires. As for me, I ended up listening to the full hour-long discussion this morning and I came away with one thought:
It’s really fascinating to listen to what Maggie Gallagher has to say here because it’s an opportunity to hear from someone whose understanding of the world is radically different from pretty much all of the people with whom I choose to spend my time.
Conservative Judaism and Same-Sex Marriage
I attended a class at my synagogue earlier this week in which the discussion focused on same-sex marriage; it was part of an excellent weekly series called “Wrestling with the Rabbis” conducted by my friend Rabbi Steven Abraham.
One of the more interesting topics of conversation stemmed from a question about whether the rabbis who wrote up guidelines for a same-sex marriage ceremony were leading the Conservative movement based solely on their politics rather than on a defensible interpretation of the Torah. Now that we have a document that effectively endorses same-sex marriage, someone asked, what would lead us to believe that we won’t — in five or ten years — see a document from these rabbis that creates guidelines for an interfaith marriage ceremony, effectively endorsing something that has always been anathema to Orthodox and Conservative Judaism (but about which Reform Judaism has no hard-and-fast rule).
In other words, there’s a slippery slope argument here. If same-sex marriage is allowed by Conservative Judaism — and allowed without the same sort of textual justification that undergirds other documents approved by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards — what would prevent the approval of other controversial changes to long-held doctrinal positions?
How Religions Are Updated: Homosexuality and the Torah
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a bit about the ways in which religions are not monolithic and, therefore, why I think that bigoted is the appropriate way to describe people who adopt the version of their religion that allows for condemnation of homosexuality rather than the version of their religion that insists on treating everyone equally.
I could have dispensed with this line of argumentation, as my friend Jamie Mayerfeld pointed out in a Facebook comment, and simply noted that “Religion should not be an excuse for immorality and injustice. Or to put it another way, people should not wait for the permission of their religion to do the right thing.”
I agree entirely with his line of thinking, but I wanted to do what Glenn Loury and Ann Althouse claim not enough people on my side of the same-sex marriage argument are doing, namely taking religion and the claims of religious people seriously.
And so I want to say a bit more, in particular about Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality. I think what I’ll say also has some bearing on most other religious arguments against homosexuality (at least those that stem from Leviticus) so this isn’t all that idiosyncratic.
Both Glenn Loury and Ann Althouse have gay sons. And, in this clip, both of them argue that we shouldn’t consider opposition to same-sex marriage to be akin to bigotry. Loury goes a few steps farther, in fact, and claims that a charge of bigotry really amounts to demagogic politics and that people who oppose same-sex marriage on religious or cultural grounds are morally serious and ought not to be dismissed out of hand.
But it’s never entirely clear why Loury and Althouse believe that the views these people espouse are so morally serious or why we ought to refrain from referring to their condemnation of homosexuality as bigotry. From listening to them, my sense is that their argument rests on the presumption that religious people are morally serious and, as such, they reflect on the tenets of their faiths before coming to their conclusions about matters like same-sex marriage.
That’s all well and good, if it’s true. But it doesn’t explain why we shouldn’t think of it as bigotry. That someone believes something to be true and arrives at his or her belief in a serious manner doesn’t exempt him or her from being challenged on that belief, especially when that belief might impact the lives of others.
Let’s go a few steps down the religious path and see what happens. After all, I attend a weekly religious service, I associate with many of my co-religionist, and I observe many of the strictures of my religion in my daily life. And my religion, Judaism, is one that seems to explicitly condemn homosexuality; indeed, it’s the Hebrew Bible to which people turn when they’re looking for a religious justification for their opposition to same-sex marriage and homosexuality more generally (even though the majority of these people don’t pay much attention to any of the other dictates of the Hebrew Bible).
But Jews are divided on the question of same-sex marriage, with most Orthodox authorities opposing it and most Reform authorities supporting it. Conservative authorities are divided, with some in support and some in opposition. The Hebrew Bible says that one should not lie with a man as one lies with a woman … but the Hebrew Bible also says, for example, that the death penalty should be employed as a punishment in hundreds of circumstances (from homicide to children who curse their parents) yet the vast majority of Jewish authorities oppose capital punishment. After much study and debate, religious authorities have found that the text can be read in more ways than one. And that’s why it seems to me that we can take issue with anyone who claims that their religion mandates their opposition to same-sex marriage or their condemnation of homosexuality. The Orthodox, after all, are not agitating for the ability to resume stoning their children.
In other words, Jews have options (and I presume that Christians and Muslims do too). Despite the injunction against homosexuality in Leviticus, there is no need for a Jew to join a congregation that condemns homosexuality or even makes gays and lesbians feel in any way unwelcome. And so, as a Jew, I gravitate toward congregations that are welcoming to gays and lesbians and toward rabbis who speak out in favor of equal rights and equal treatment.
Religions aren’t monolithic; if people really are involved in deep spiritual reflection on the matter of homosexuality, then they will surely be able to find an interpretation of their religious texts that allows for the kind of evolution that President Obama described. This doesn’t mean I’m not serious about practicing Judaism; it means I’m serious about finding a way to reconcile my belief in the teachings of Judaism with my belief that people should be treated equally. But, obviously, one must actually have both of these beliefs.
What do we call someone who either fails to consider the alternative teaching of his or her religion or rejects that teaching because it doesn’t lead to continued condemnation of gays and lesbians, someone — in other words — who doesn’t actually have both a religious belief and a belief in equality?
With apologies to Loury and Althouse, I think I have to call it bigotry.