Facebook and the Language of Discrimination
Stand for Marriage Maine’s website follows the ‘clean’ approach to discrimination: show lots of smiling ‘normal’ families, demonize your opponents only in the most subtle ways (‘We’re just protecting our children’) and don’t, under any circumstances, admit that the people you’re fighting against might have greater concerns than pushing a political agenda. I doubt most visitors to the SFMM website ever really think about the pro-equality side; they see something safe and clean that agrees with them and lets them vote with an untroubled conscience, which is exactly what most of them probably want.
It amazes me that anybody can take such a dismissive attitude towards something like this. The Facebook posters seem unable to grasp the fact that it is not some sort of political power grab they’re dealing with; it is not part of a grandiose plan to ‘indoctrinate’ their children into some barely-defined gay lifestyle, nor is it a cartoonish plot to destroy the good ol’ USA. ‘Sodomite’ is the ugliest term for a gay person one can use right now. It’s utterly dehumanizing, reducing a living, thinking, feeling human being into an enemy to be struck down at every opportunity. It’s also used almost exclusively by the religious right, which makes the Bible quote at the end of that comment rather predictable.
Alas, it doesn’t stop there. Were you aware that people who feel that they deserve equal rights and equal respect under the law are agents of Satan?
Deep thoughts indeed from Ginger A Burakowsky. And one more, just to drive my incoming point home:
By now you will have noticed the other major difference between the SFMM website and the Facebook group; one of them is devoid of religious content, while the other is chock full of it. Do you think SFMM is a bit sheepish about its religious roots? Or is it trying (and failing) to frame the debate in purely secular terms? The Bible is apparently more blunt than they’d like.
I wonder what would happen to SFMM’s campaign if they were willing to show their true colours? I’ll strain myself to give its leaders the benefit of the doubt and assume that they wouldn’t agree with what I’ve posted above, but the anti-gay sentiment is clear the moment one looks behind the facade. These people are treating marriage equality as if it was a sport – they talk of ‘winning big’, as though depriving a minority of its rights is something to celebrate. And why shouldn’t they treat it so lightly? There’s nothing at stake for them. Their partnerships will always be recognized by the State, their children are guaranteed the security of belonging to a socially-validated relationship, and nothing in the marriage equality law can or will threaten them in the slightest. They simply don’t understand where their supposed ‘opponents’ are coming from, or else they wouldn’t slander us with the Bible or spin wild theories about why we want marriage equality so badly while completely failing to see the obvious reasons.
I’ll be blunt: the messages left on that page sicken me. I know how the prejudiced and the bigoted speak when they’re amongst themselves and feel that they can let the facade drop, and I will never, ever get used to it. It is humanity at its ugliest, and at its least human.