Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lori Lipman Brown at Skeptrak

lori-brownThe latest episode of Skepticality (episode #89) has a fantastic talk by Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition for America, entitled Pastafarian, Zoroastrian, Atheist — Can't We All Just Get Along?. She talks about the secular vote, and what we can do to advance secularism in America. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the talk.

A bit about "psychology of privilege", starting about about 23:49:
I have noticed along the way... How many of you have heard people talk about how oppressed Christians are in society today? How many of you have heard how oppressed white people are? How oppressed heterosexuals are? You know, other people want "special rights".

I know there is at least one psychologist sitting in the audience who can tell me if this is an official thing, but just anecdotally I've noticed that if someone is in a privileged majority, they don't usually notice the perks they're getting. For example, if I walk into a store and buy a box of Band-Aids, if it's called skin tone, it's my skin tone. Never really thought about that before.

But they don't notice, and they're just used to having it all, society is all around them. So if a Christian is used to everything being about their religion, as soon as people who are not Christian, whether they be pagans or Buddhists or atheists or humanists, suddenly it's not, "Oh, these people also want to be acknowledged and be part of the fabric of society." It's like, "You're taking away our rights! Because we always had Christian prayer in our school!" And they didn't realize that's not actual equality, that's just a privilege they'd been getting for years and years and years.

A slight move toward any inclusion of a minority feels like an attack. I don't think these people are making this up when they say they feel oppressed. It's a ridiculous feeling. I even asked one person who said that, "What are you talking about?" And she said, "Well, I keep trying to talk to my co-workers about Jesus, and they don't want to listen!" And it's like, "Well, I guess they don't feel like talking about that." You know, it's like, "How dare they? They're attacking my Christianity by not letting me try to give them the Good Word." I mean, that's what they see as oppression. It's like, "Okay, try saying you're an atheist and see how you're treated."

And a bit about the sexuality double standard, starting about about 35:20:
Expose the double standard. When people were talking about LGBT people "flaunting their sexuality and their gender", I stopped keeping a picture of my partner on my desk at school, and I stopped wearing my wedding ring, and I stopped referring to him with any kind of gender specific information. And when people would get confused by that, especially when they would find out who my partner was, they would say, "Why didn't you tell me he was your husband? I thought maybe you were a lesbian." I'd say, "Well, I didn't want to flaunt my sexuality."

The double standard is big-time because my gay and lesbian friends, if they even talked about going on a date, "oh, you're flaunting your sexuality". But all these heteros could talk about anything they were doing with their dates or partners or whatever.

Same thing with "special rights". I got over 1,000 special rights 22 years ago, and I still have them. But people don't think of them as special when I get them, because my partner happens to have the right genitalia for their rules.

I especially love the bit about "flaunting your sexuality". That is so totally right on.

3 comments: said...

It's definitely something worth thinking about...I'm not sure you can make any sort of minority OR majority happy - there's going to be up/down side to either.

I do think that America in particular has given far more consideration to minority's rights or privileges in the last thirty years, but, as with any culture, we have a long way to go in finding an equilibrium.

On a side note, even living in a place like fabled Las Vegas (for 2.5yrs now), I got fully bitched out by my stylist for declaring my Atheism. How dare I suggest that I have an absence of faith in the given God we've had bestowed upon us, even in the "City of Sin"?


GreenishBlue said...

This is fascinating, because I've heard Lori refer to her partner before, and I just assumed she was a lesbian, just as she says. She's right on the mark.

I'm really enjoying your blog.

Saganist said...

Thanks, GreenishBlue, I'm glad you like it. I've been distracted lately but I plan to write more often. I've just subscribed to your blog as well. Great post about the War on Christmas.