Monday, April 7, 2008

I think racism is worse than homophobia

I've been thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. a bunch lately because he died on April 3rd and racial violence erupted on the 6th of April (yesterday) back in 1968. This year I've been lucky enough to catch a lot of amazing "remembering" on NPR [echoes of 1968 here].

Then blogicalinks posted this Sunday question: What was your memory of the civil rights movement, or of blatant prejudice, or of any experience that sticks in your mind that crystallized for you that there is inequity in our society?

Her memory is worth a read. She had a line in her post that said: “I don’t think there really is a way to walk in the shoes of others sometimes.” This feels really true to me when it comes to issues of racism in particular because of this memory.

I went on a bus tour for the purpose of confronting our own personal prejudices and seeking racial justice that looped the main places of racial injustice in the south. Near the MLK memorial there was a museum with a temporary exhibit of pictures of "public hangings" in the south. I walked around and was physically ill at seeing it. One of the leaders of the trip's Uncle was hung for no reason. I will never forget seeing her pain. I will never be able to walk in those shoes.

I'm not saying gay people aren't killed for being gay. They are. But if you had seen the hundreds and hundreds of pictures of people hung. And seen the mob in the pictures having picnics and having a jolly good time, you may also feel that was/is a kind of evil on a whole different level. Those pictures were taken by white men attempting to document an event they thought good. And there were kids at these events. One picture had a little elementary school girl grinning near the tree with the man hanging dead from a noose. What kind of evil is that!?


Casdok said...

The worst kind.

Zuzu said...

I think there is something inherently wrong and dare I say "evil" about comparing hatred and injustice like this. There is a field of thought that proposes that sexism precedes class and race distinction (see Gerda Lerner)... so really, perhaps sexism is "more evil" or "worse" than racism. But what I wonder is, what does putting a yardstick up to injustices do for us other than fracture and perhaps in and of itself merely perpetuate these "isms." They're both wrong, both "evil" - one is not worse than the other.. they're both worse... as worse as religious persecution, as worse and as deadly as poverty, classism and closed mindedness.

titration said...

See this is what I miss when you aren't here. There is no one to confront my ideas!

As always that is a really good point to add. All evil does suck. I think I was just sooooooooo impacted by those photos and the reaction of my trip leader I though it was the most egregious thing I had seen in my short life. It had a shock and awe factor.

I hear your point though....