Smart people saying smart things (1.29.19)

Smart people saying smart things (1.29.19) January 29, 2019

Janelle Wong, “We Are All Evangelicals Now”

Evangelicals embody U.S. racial attitudes on steroids. …

The bottom line is that the racial divides and racial anxieties we see in evangelical America are not so different from the views of white Americans more generally. I speculate that these attitudes are more extreme than those of other white Americans because their fears of demographic change are even more exaggerated than other whites. A narrative of religious persecution runs deep in white evangelical theological circles. Believers expect to be attacked for their religious commitments. Hence, their defenses may be easily raised by “the War on Christmas.” Narratives of persecution have primed them to expect a broad cultural assault, despite the fact that white Christians face the least religious persecution of any religious group in the United States. These fears of religious persecution, unfounded or not, interact in an especially potent way with fears of racial embattlement to produce the political conservatism detailed above. That being said, the racial patterns we observe among evangelicals are more intense, but consistent with the racial patterns that define the country as a whole.

Terese Marie Mailhot, “Why the Video of Those Catholic Boys Felt So Shameful”

The young man’s non-apology did not mention how his behavior toward an elder had shamed his family.

That says a lot about the culture among kids who wear the MAGA hat. My son, who wears a “Make America Native Again” hat, would never have stood before an elder with such impudence because he would have known what shame it would bring on his family — and on generations of people who have taken care of each other with pride and respect.

Rev. William Barber, Remarks at Martin Luther King Celebration, Nashville, Tenn.

Lili Loofbourow, “The Year of the Old Boys”

In overvaluing a certain kind of masculine ethos, the United States has always glorified impoliteness; there have long been people who confuse boorishness with power and find courtesy effeminate. But what’s interesting about Trump’s conduct is that while it’s unmannerly, it’s not rude in that classic hard-nosed, stick-it-to-’em, I-got-no-time-for-niceties way. His aren’t power moves that command respect. Rather, they’re puffy and decadent—the qualities associated with the kind of bratty, spoiled boy we met when the term affluenza was first used as a legal defense on the grounds that someone so ruined by financial privilege can’t understand ethics or consequences. Trump isn’t too busy for etiquette; he has nothing but time. He spent Barbara Bush’s funeral on Twitter denying that he called Jeff Sessions “Mr. Magoo” and Rod Rosenstein “Mr. Peepers.” There’s a crusty entitlement to this species of maleness that makes it feel at least as geriatric as it is juvenile. Though Trump’s petty malice puts him in (roughly) seventh grade, it has a doddering petulance, too. He is, in effect, an old boy. And when you step back and think about it, you realize America is full of them.

Simran Jeet Singh, “Why Sikhs don’t throw Muslims under the bus”

Over the years, many have asked why we don’t just tell people that Sikhs aren’t Muslims and leave it at that. “Why don’t you let Muslims deal with their own problems?” is a typical one. Or, “Wouldn’t it be easier and safer for you all to just tell people who attack you that they got the wrong person?”

The problem with this response is that it just deflects the hate onto another community. That’s not right, nor is it fair.

Nor is it Sikhism. My faith teaches me to engage in authentic solidarity, to see others’ oppression as our own. It’s just not an option to throw another community under the bus — even if it might make our lives easier or safer.


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