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Monday, 23 September 2013

With Gays and Blacks, We Have Gone to the Opposite Extreme

Black Americans

The problem is that people don’t seem to be able to find the right middle.

There was a time when homosexuals were wrongly persecuted, when they couldn't even be open about their homosexuality, and that certainly was a bad state of affairs. Luckily we have gone past it and that’s fine.

But people are so afraid that we could go back to that time that any criticism of homosexuality is taken as a sign of "anti-gay" discrimination: this is the opposite extreme, in which the persecution and discrimination are actually at the expense of those who disagree with the orthodox, dominant ideology that homosexuality must be perfectly OK from all viewpoints, medical, psychological and ethical, which is not necessarily the case.

The wide acceptance of the idea that homosexuals should be free to declare their homosexuality, that others should not look at them as they did in the past, that they should be treated like everybody else, is positive, it's an improvement.

This does not necessarily mean that homosexuality is a good thing for those involved as well as for society at large.

That’s where we should try to find the right middle. We should be able to - we should feel mature enough as a society to - recognise that having an accepting attitude towards homosexuals does not imply thinking that homosexuality is just another sexual orientation, like heterosexuality, or lifestyle, and that there's no problem associated with it. These are two different things.

A similar mistake has been made with blacks, Jews, and in relation to all those bigoted and discriminatory positions of the past, which have now been transformed into the opposite extreme, as if to guard ourselves against the possibility of relapsing into those bigoted ideas. That is not the right approach, going from one wrong extreme to the other wrong extreme is not the way to prevent the first wrong extreme. It’s actually the opposite.

That's what happens in the sphere of immigration and racism.

There is now a severe repression of ideas in people, who can’t say anything negative about blacks or Muslims, or - although not half as much as a few years ago - express negative positions about immigration, without risking accusations of racism. Even disagreeing with Obama - who is probably the worst president of the US so it’s easy to disagree with his policies - is enough for being called a racist. Criticising Israel, although people who do are usually wrong, attracts labels of anti-Semitism which are not necessarily correct, and so on.

So there is a situation in which you go from one extreme to the other for fear of relapsing into the first extreme, whereas in fact it’s much more likely that you’ll relapse into it if you got it wrong the second time round again. For instance, the current ferocious repression of anything that may be even remotely construed as racist or anti-Semitic or Islamophobic or homophobic may produce a climate to which people in the end will rebel, and in such a rebellion against the thought police system they will risk reverting to the original wrong ways again.

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