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Fri Dec 26, 2014, 10:51 PM

How Bigots Help Us (Cross posted from LGBT)

Long ago one of my college professors posed this carefully worded question for discussion:

"During the modern civil rights era, what one individual's actions did the most to advance the cause of African American rights?"

Responses in class included Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and others.

After some discussion, our professor gave his own answer:

Bull Connor.

Bull Connor, as you recall, was the white racist Commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham who is most remembered as the man who let loose the attack dogs on peaceful black protesters, and used high-powered fire hoses to slam them into walls and knock them down. All of this was captured and played over and over on national television, and the images have become iconic.



A great many white people in this country--possibly well meaning but ignorant--were shocked. They may have, in theory, been "all for" civil rights, but it wasn't a topic they thought was very important. The newscasts of what Bull Connor did in Birmingham woke them up. Oppression became real rather than abstract. The poison of hate was in their living rooms. Lyndon Johnson repeatedly used those images as a hammer that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The fight for gay rights and acceptance has historically been hampered less by hate than by indifference. A lot of well meaning straight folks may be in theory "all for" equal rights, but they never saw it as a topic of much importance. They never thought of it as a "civil rights" issue, and they didn't understand why gay people were making such a fuss about it.

Then along came The Rev. Fred Phelps and his little band of Westoro bigots. It's true there have been (and still are) many equally venomous anti-gay bigots, but Phelps somehow got a huge amount of national news coverage marching around with his signs. Well meaning straight people saw the signs and couldn't help wondering what it must be like to be the object of that hatred. They may have imagined for the first time what it would feel like to be a gay 14 year old and see a pastor telling you that God hates you.



For gay people, Fred Phelps was our Bull Connor. He brought the poison of hate into the living rooms of indifferent straight folks. I really believe that much of the amazing surge in support for marriage equality and the ending Don't Ask Don't Tell is the result of an awakened awareness brought about largely by "God Hates Fags."

As painful as it may be to see these guys, the worst of the bigots sometimes do the most to advance the cause of the people they hate.

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Reply How Bigots Help Us (Cross posted from LGBT) (Original post)
Bagsgroove Dec 2014 OP
Sweeney Dec 2014 #1
Kalidurga Dec 2014 #2

Response to Bagsgroove (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:16 PM

1. I guess if you cannot be good

be good at being bad.

I had a german shepard in my face once when I was a child and the dog was as big as a horse is to me today. When I saw that news of that man putting those dogs on those people, and I was still a child, it affected me deeply. My family was not racist. My first haircut was from a black barber that my father went to. The worst thing you could call my dad was a Patti. He would some times pat the head of a black man for good luck. But he was never raised that way, and saw discrimination practiced in the Navy, and when the ironworkers were integrating he worked with and trained black men, and he was a cracker jack ironworker. Made the discovery channel documentary on the building of the Mackinaw Bridge. There is a point to the professor, and yet so few remember the horrors of it, and so many are led to believe that the government does too much to help blacks, that they will not lift a finger to help blacks.

I want you lgbt people to realize that there is a backlash and a real reaction on going against you, and against the government that dares stand up for you. And you must see what it takes for you to have your civil rights against such resistance, and understand that this in no God given right exercised against you, but a privilege granted by this people in the constitution. The churches have their privilege to protect them against each other in control of the government. There is no protection against them if they make common cause against civil rights. Our government should exist to defend our rights, and not defend those who stand against our rights. All privilege must end, and equality and mutual respect should reign.

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Response to Bagsgroove (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:45 PM

2. This is close to my theory of why it's good that RW Lunatics speak more....

The more they talk the more normal people are going to see they say really horrible things about a lot of people and that they have dangerous ideas.

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