Thursday, November 27, 2008

The more things change

“I would never date a Republican. They’re all religious fanatics that think they can tell me what to do with my own body. They’re racist homophobes and think that is how God wants them to be. All they care about is tax cuts for the rich and want to abolish social programming because they think poor people are welfare crack-whores who deserve what they get. How can I let someone like that touch me? I mean, what if I got pregnant and they made me keep the baby? It’s about time that we had someone in office who will bring change and not use people’s fears and prejudices to drive his own agenda.”

All right, I made that conversation up. Kind of. I have been told all of those things by various supporters of the Democratic Party, just not in succession. There seems to be a strong belief among liberal, educated youth that they are tolerant, generous, and righteous while Republicans are not. The argument goes that Democrats support social programming; Republicans don’t. Democrats believe in individual rights; Republicans don’t. Democrats are all educated and intelligent; Republicans are rich and greedy or stupid, backwater bible-thumpers.

This is pure, old-fashioned stereotyping and prejudice often coming from the very people who decry racism and prejudice of all (or most) forms and proclaim Obama’s victory as the victory of enlightenment over prejudice. The mistake they make is in assuming that racism is only about skin color. Today, the bigger issue is one of class and geography. Democratic youth believe that they are in the educated elite and look down upon those who come from Southern states who are stereotyped as uneducated and ignorant. This is, incidentally, untrue. Republicans are actually more likely to have a 4-year degree and equally likely to have a graduate degree.

Offensive stereotypes don’t need to be proven wrong, of course, but I will bring just one more example of how ridiculous some of this stereotyping is. The belief that Republicans do not care about the poor is mind-bogglingly (is that a word?) absurd. In fact, there is evidence that Republicans give more of their income to charity, on average, than Democrats . There is clearly a belief that Government should be less involved in social programming, but the rationale is that the private sector is better equipped to provide these services. You may disagree with this philosophy, but you can’t say with any sort of intellectual honesty that it means Republicans do not care about the poor. Unless, of course, you are letting your prejudices speak for you.

This was a historic election and Americans should be proud of the choice they have made, but in no way does this signify the end of racism and prejudice. It just reminds us that prejudice goes much further than skin deep.

No comments:

Post a Comment