Won’t Someone Think of the (Black) Children?

Won’t Someone Think of the (Black) Children? May 18, 2009

If you’re tired of hearing stupid religious reasons to oppose gay marriage, how about some stupid, allegedly secular, racist reasons to oppose gay marriage? Heather MacDonald is apparently has some sort of bet going with Maggie Gallagher to see which one of them can come up with the most offensively stupid arguments against gay marriage. And I think MacDonald just took the lead with this post at Secular Right.

There are writers at Secular Right that I respect, including ScienceBlogs’ own Razib Khan and Walter Olson, a longtime friend of Dispatches. But MacDonald just embarrasses herself on this post. Once you read “If the black illegitimacy rate were not nearly three times the rate of whites’, I would have few qualms about gay marriage” you know you have to prepare yourself for some serious bullshit. She claims that gay marriage will “further depress the black marriage rate” and offers two arguments, one “logical” and one visceral, for why that’s the case.

First, it sends the signal that marriage is simply about numbers: it is an institution that binds two (for the moment) people who are in love. It erases completely the significance that marriage is THE context in which the children of biological parents should be raised. And there are undoubtedly many other subtle meanings and effects of gay marriage that we cannot even imagine at the moment–which institutional shift is something that conservatives should be most attuned to.

And that’s the logical reason. Or it would be, if it actually was, you know, logical. I would argue that it actually sends the opposite message, that marriage is such a valuable institution for the raising of children that it shouldn’t be denied to the hundreds of thousands of children whose parents are gay. So much for that argument. Here comes the even less logical reason:

As for the visceral reason: It is no secret that resistance to homosexuality is highest among the black population (though probably other ethnic minorities are close contenders). I fear that it will be harder than usual to persuade black men of the obligation to marry the mother of their children if the inevitable media saturation coverage associates marriage with homosexuals. Is the availability of homosexual marriage a valid reason to shun the institution? No, but that doesn’t make the reaction any less likely.

Yes folks, she is actually arguing that black men are so bigoted that they will avoid getting married because they will now associate marriage with being gay. Because the fact that they see straight people married practically every day of their lives pales next to seeing a gay couple get married on TV. Seriously, could this argument be any more offensive and racist than it is?

What are the chances that gay marriage would further doom marriage among blacks? I don’t know. Again, if someone can persuade me that the chances are zero, then I would be much more sanguine. But anything more than zero, I am reluctant to risk.

Well as long as you’re being reasonable about this, Heather. If your standard for determining zero risk is the existence of arguments like these, you’re hopelessly lost already.

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