Tag Archives: sexism

This Is Not Normal

It has been a week since Donald Trump became the president-elect. In that week, protests have erupted across the country, hate crimes are rising, people are making plans to move to Canada or Mexico, women are looking to get IUDs, couples are getting married, and division has arguably never been more blatant or destructive in this election cycle.

I’ve heard the endless mantra of “We need to be united.”  First of all, it’s really difficult to be united when the president-elect is a person who built his entire campaign on dividing people. It was always us vs. them, “them” being any group that Trump thought a particular audience was afraid of. When I hear, “We need to be united,” I’m really hearing, “Get in line.” I’m hearing, “Conform.” Now, I know that President Obama has said to be unified, and I’m not sure what exactly he means by that, but I know that his role is a unique one. When I hear “unify” from someone random on Facebook, that’s when I’m hearing, “Stop criticizing Trump and Trump supporters.”

That’s not what unity is. Unity is not when one side of a divided pair shuts up, while the other gets to run the show. Frankly, I don’t know how we can be unified right now, because it’s like our values are on total opposite sides of the spectrum. A Trump presidency looks like it’s going to be about restricting women’s rights, gutting healthcare, demonizing Muslims and Mexicans, restricting LGBTQ rights, denying climate change, and so on. What can we unify around? People who voted for Trump are either racist, are willing to tolerate racism, or deny that a Trump presidency is even racist at all. The same goes for sexism. Freedom of religion seems it will only apply to Christianity. Good healthcare is not nationally recognized as a basic human right. WHERE IS THE COMMON GROUND?

People are also saying, “Protests didn’t happen when Obama became president, so accept it and move on.” Okay, so people weren’t necessarily flooding the streets like they are now, but for his entire presidency, they were questioning whether he was born in the United States. That’s definitely a form of protesting the election results. For 8-freaking-years. Also, after every election, there are groups that don’t want to accept the results. It’s just what humans do when something happens they don’t like. However, there is a big difference between the national reaction to Obama and Trump, because TRUMP IS NOT A NORMAL PRESIDENT. I’ve heard the word “normalization” a lot recently with Trump coverage, and that’s exactly what’s happening. The media is normalizing Trump and treating him like he’s just your run-of-the-mill president-elect. Yes, he’s a bit of an outsider, but there’s a silence about just how outside-the-norm he is. What do I mean by that? Here are just a handful of reasons:

The typical “accept and move on” response to the peaceful transition of power following an election does not work in the situation America finds itself in. That’s why we’re having these protests. It is the peoples’ way of shouting, “This is not normal.” Eventually, the protests will stop, but we will need to keep shouting through our actions and activism during Trump’s entire presidency. Even when good things happen, we can’t forget that this is not normal.

Because once we start believing it is normal, America, as we know and love her, is dead.

 

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Lez Be Honest: Why I Actually Don’t Agree with A&E’s Decision to Suspend Phil Robertson

By Erin Schulz

There are already a lot of thoughts about this floating around in my Facebook newsfeed. If your friend demographic is anything like mine, you’ve seen posts violently defending Phil’s right to speak his mind and arguments pointing out that A&E’s decision doesn’t violate first amendment rights. There’s been plenty of arguing. The most moving arguments, to me, are based around faith. It doesn’t represent a caring, loving Christ to make these comments offhand. As this post: http://intheparlor.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/what-you-believe-about-homosexuality-doesnt-matter/  us, peoples’ lives are at stake. The compassionate thing to do is surrender some of your right to always express your own opinion in favor of giving a beloved child of God a hand at, you know, not dying.

But I don’t think A&E should have suspended Phil Robertson. Why?

The premise of Duck Dynasty makes me angry enough. I haven’t watched the show, so let me join a whole host of people expressing an opinion on something I have limited knowledge about. But I have lived in a rural, redneck community all my life, with the exception of the three and a half years I’ve spent at college. And I know that whether you like it or not, Phil’s views are representative of a lot of people’s.

Just because a view is representative doesn’t mean it needs to be spouted off, I know that. But what is A&E attempting to do with Duck Dynasty? I would love to have feedback on this from people who have seen the show. My feeling is that Duck Dynasty is cultural appropriation at best, and more likely an attempt to make a spectacle of redneck culture.

As I read the GQ article that set all this off, I recognized a lot of myself in the author. After spending time at an extremely liberal college in the Twin Cities, I have a sort of outsider view on my home culture. I welcome my returns home because I am finally able to see the stars again, because I’ll be able to walk in the back pastures and track deer, and because I am back to a family and community that gives generously.

I am also back to fighting with my brother about whether women deserve equal pay in the workplace. Racist jokes. Offhand anti-gay comments.

You are welcome to be a part of my community. You get the benefit of breathtaking beauty and satisfying hard work. But you cannot have this without facing the ugliness that’s also here. You do not get to turn on your televisions once a week and watch the mindless antics of men with bushy beards, but ignore the oppression that is still alive and well in these communities.

People need to know what Phil Robertson thinks about race, sex, and gender, because city people need to face the facts that there’s a whole different country in the pockets of earth where you didn’t build skyscrapers. It’s complex. It’s filled with kindness and love and deep, deep ignorance. Explicit racism and hate crimes are still real.

I don’t agree with what Phil said, but I’m not mad at him. Okay, maybe I am a little mad at him, in the frustrated way I am angry at my grandfather, or my neighbor. And I’m not upset that A&E considers this speech hateful and doesn’t want it representing their station. What I’m upset about is that A&E is trying to edit life and paint the picture that nothing is wrong in redneck America, when that is not true.