No, bigotry is not a survival mechanism

Right-winger Candace Owens claims it is: “obviously discrimination is built into us for a reason. It’s a survival mechanism, right? We want to survive.” So if you’re a man in a dress, it’s naturally to want you “a hundred feet away from a playground and all of the feet away from my children and me.” That’s not bigotry, it’s a survival mechanism.

What is the term for this — oh yes, bullshit. While it’s true that getting a sense of danger about someone can be our gut warning us about something, when it’s applied to an entire group — drag queens, black men — it’s just as likely to be bigotry not based on anything. Or in Owens’ case, that she’s selling her services as a talking head to a market that wants to be told lies about how gays are groomers.

It’s no different from arguments that if white people find black men scary, that proves racial profiling is justified. After Pearl Harbor, lots of people believed Japanese-Americans were a terrifying threat, which supposedly justified  the US locking up innocent people for the duration of the war. After 9/11 there were pious assurances that “yes, I want Muslims treated like potential threats but if white people like me/my ethnic group had done it, treating us with suspicion would be justified too.”

Easy to say when white people will never be treated like that. If the Georgia KKK had blown up an airliner, the government would be looking for KKK affiliated Americans rather than, say, locking up all Southerners. It’s easy to endorse discrimination when you know you won’t suffer from it.

If bigots thought they might be on the receiving end, they’d freak out. But if it’s logical to treat all drag queens as groomer or all black men as thugs — it isn’t — it would be just as logical to treat all men as potential rapists or harassers. Or take DNA samples from every man seen near a sexual assault, just to see if the DNA matches the rape kits. I guarantee you, pundits such as Walter Williams and Richard Cohen (pro-racial profiling, as noted at the link) would scream with outrage at the idea.

The right-wing would be equally outraged if people demanded all Catholic priests stay away from kids despite the church’s long history of molestation and molestation cover-ups.  Ditto Protestant priests. And since that blog post back in June, the Protestant groomers just keep turning up.

It says a lot about what the right-wing Republican base wants that relatively high-profile figures like Owens are willing to hold up discrimination as a good thing. It says a lot about her, too, and not that her fear of gay men is about survival.

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