Wednesday, October 01, 2008

**SIGH**

Here's an excerpt I got from the Boston Globe Editorial page:

"Sarah Palin, the socially conservative GOP veep nominee, is not opposed to gay people. Heck, some of her best friends are gay. 'I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships,' Palin told CBS' Katie Couric Tuesday night when asked about churches, including Palin's, that promote conferences to convert gays into heterosexuals through prayer. 'I have one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years who happens to be gay and I love her dearly,' Palin said, without mentioning names. 'And she is not my gay friend, she is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made.'"

It's funny to hear her say that. I often hear white people who are charged with being racist or prejudice tout that they can't be because they have a black friend that they love dearly. So now people aren't homophobes because they have a gay friend that they love dearly. Oh - but keep in mind that her friend made a choice that she would never, ever make herself. How big of her to love the "sinner".

I don't have much else to say. All I can do is sigh.

11 comments:

elle said...

Yay, Kimi (I unpacked an old copy of John Hope Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom that had "Kimi" on the bottom and a 15 year old receipt. We had money for clothes in college?!?!).

Anyway, I'm thinking that must be compassionate conservatism that comes off as condescension--"I made the RIGHT choices, poor you!"

And your example is perfect. How many times have PoC been "loved" by people who would deny them rights that should be afforded (in our framework) to every citizen and realistically, to people in general?

Because I just finished teaching about the 19th Amendment, I'm also thinking of the middle class white women who were adored by their husbands, so long as they knew their place and weren't out embarrassing the family by agitating for suffrage. Poor feeble-minded dears.

Love has limits, I guess. And that, "she is not my gay friend" is that the equivalent to "I don't even see color!!!" ?

I could pick that quote apart endlessly. And that description of her church--I think I'm going to go make some Republican friends and ask them where can I find me a bubble to live in from which I can make decisions and judgments about everyone else's lives based on what makes me feel comfortable.

Kimberly said...

Girl you know we spent that stipend on clothes instead of the food, rent and books it was supposed to be for.

As to your point about picking that quote apart endlessly - me too, but I can only muster a sigh. I'm so tired of this sort of mainstream acceptable bigotry. That and the "I don't distrust Obama cause he's black, it's because he might be Muslim."

Quinn said...

Yeah, I wonder what the hell her friend "who happens to have made a choice" thinks of all this. Does she love to be loved (but not respected as a person deserving of rights) by Palin?

incertus said...

You know, I'm almost surprised Palin didn't say something like "she's one of the good ones." I would be shocked if she hasn't said something like that to a person in her church or something when defending her gay friend.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

No love for Palin from this corner. I don't like her positions on equality for homosexuals, among other problems that I have with her.

But I wanted to address the idea of a white person (say, me? ;)) saying that I can't be racist because I have a dear gay/black/some-description-not-just-like-me friend.

I was raised in a racist town. I never considered myself racist, but when I look at my choices, sometimes they were racist. I wouldn't go to the local fried chicken store by myself because of the black people who ran it. (I've gotten WAY over that. Best chicken on earth! And on my thighs, unfortunately. :( ) In third grade, I didn't invite one of my "friends" to my birthday party because she was black and I thought my mom would get mad. (Would she have gotten mad? Of course not. But in my silly little mind, I assumed so.)

At Louisiana School, I was placed in a room with another Southern white girl. I HATED her, so I begged for another roommate.

The only available room? With an Asian girl (gasp!). Her hair was dark and hard and clogged the shower drain. Her decorations were crazy and full of flowers and reds and yellows. Her mom spoke broken English. No kidding, I was scared to death. But I HATED the white girl so much, so I took a chance.

I suddenly had a dear Asian friend. Then some other dear friends - black, gay, and the list goes on.

Somehow, at some point, I TRULY wasn't racist, in thought or in action or in values. Somehow, my brain rearranged itself and stopped thinking silly, racist thoughts. Somehow, I came to appreciate my roommates glorious dark, wiry hair. My friend who was gay had a great sense of humor. With my black friend, I noticed her wit and wisdom, and not her skin color.

I wasn't color blind. Instead, I suddenly saw beyond color. Our heritage and our culture - they matter. I'm not just a white female. I'm German and Cajun and from a large Catholic family. That's part of me.

And I have a dear friend who is a minority.

That was the first tiny step on a journey that led to how I am today.

I am NOT saying that Palin is on that journey. I do not believe she is going in any sort of positive direction.

But that dear friend - she was my first step. I had a dear friend, so I couldn't be racist. I was literally compelled to not be racist. It can happen.

Kimberly said...

mommy to ander, your point is well taken. And I too believe it's possible.

Heck, I grew up in Europe on American military bases that were often terrorist targets. One PX (all-purpose base store - kinda like a walmart for the American bases) was bombed when I was in third grade and it TERRIFIED me. I used to be TERRIFIED of anyone who looked to be of Middle Eastern descent. I would be near tears if they were on a bus with us or driving by.

And of-course I now that 99.99% of those people intended no harm and were minding their own business. But I had to get there cognitively and I don't believe that Palin or many, many others have gotten there with minorities in the country (including muslims and middle easterners) and GLBTs.

But the argument I was making really points to people who are masking their very real racism or homophobia by saying they have a dear friend who is a minority or gay. That the existence of said friend somehow mitigates their views, when often times those so-called friends don't really exist and/or are people they feel are beneath them (i.e. would make choices SHE would never, ever make herself).

When one TRULY encounters someone they once held prejudices against and truly embraces that person for all that they are and not as an exception to the norm, as you did, I believe that's when real change happens.

The Urban Scientist said...

would you be interested in participating in DonorsChoose?
http://www.donorschoose.org/homepage/main.html?zone=0

Renee said...

This I have a marginalized friend defense by people of privilege needs to stop. it is completely disgusting and it is not fooling anyone. You are not progressive because you have supposedly lowered yourself to befriend someone belonging to a group that society has chosen to 'other'. Really enough.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

"But the argument I was making really points to people who are masking their very real racism or homophobia by saying they have a dear friend who is a minority or gay. That the existence of said friend somehow mitigates their views, when often times those so-called friends don't really exist and/or are people they feel are beneath them (i.e. would make choices SHE would never, ever make herself)."- Kimberly

Oh, I know. I really do. And you made your point well. :)

Quinn said...

Elle, have you ever considered applying to be Stephen Colbert's new black friend? I hear he's looking for one.

Aspasia said...

@ Renee: TOTALLY agree! I have knocked so many people down a peg who think they're progressive just because they are dating or friends with "the other". Said people purposely only made friends/dated that person because of their skin color/ethnicity. Because that's different from shunning them for that very reason, how?

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