Friday, November 2, 2007

Bad Dog!

What an interesting little train wreak the Duane "Dog" Chapman kerfufel has been. This was not a total shock, what do you expect from a guy named Duane in the first place? Dog and his lovely wife scream "white trash," it is part of the appeal of the show.
In a larger sense Dog Chapman will not move the discussion too far. He and his crew are too far removed from "typical" Americans. Too many will be able to throw up their defensive shields an say "what do you expect from trailer-trash like that." They will then go on with their normal bigoted lives.
We keep missing these opportunities to have a real discussion about race. Imus, Dog Chapman, Twanna Brawley, O.J. Simpson these are ships that pass in the night. Black and white have way too much invested in their world views to be really honest to others and themselves.
It has been almost sixty odd years since Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas et. al. and “progress” has been painfully slow. De Jure segregation has died an ugly and well deserved death but De Facto segregation is still the 800 pound gorilla in the room. It is not going gently into that good night.
There is hope though, even after getting bombarded with Dog’s apartheid message his son still went out and dated a black woman. Inclusion is winning over exclusion. Note that a majority of Americans now support civil unions for Lesbians & Gays. Just a decade ago there was a crushing majority against any type of equal protection for same-sex unions. Again this is “progress” of a sort.
It is going to be a long slow slog though to reach the golden idea of the 4th amendment. Equal protection is a distant dream, just check out the stats of who is in our prisons if you doubt that statement. Far too many people of color are spending their days in lock-down for stupid stuff. Class and race still play too large a role in our society. Homophobia and queer-baiting are still far too popular amongst the unwashed masses. Mainstream society is way too proud of the successes; proud that we are no longer sicking police dogs on people of color or fire-hosing them on a regular basis. Unfortunately Bull Connors was too easy of a target, as was Lester Maddox. Way too easy to separate those piles of vile, vicious, hating flesh from our own selves. Way too easy to keep our own prejudices while condemning theirs.
We have to get beyond the victim-oppressor frameset to make true progress. There are no good guys here; there are no bad guys either. There are just prejudices we have to unlearn, no one is innocent, and everyone has work to do.

Post a Comment