Friday, December 1, 2006

Scratch a Homophobe, Find a Racist...

So since the thunder storms have knocked out the cable, I started going back through my old issues of Time and Advocate magazines, to read up and make sure I didn't miss anything...

I almost wish I didn't; and while I realize I'm a little late in sharing an opinion on this topic, as the statements were made in April 2005, that fact makes it no less important for people should speak out against such blatant racist sentiments and thought processes...
Has anyone ever heard of The National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuals (NARTH)? Basically its a bunch of right-wingers trying to brain-wash homosexuals into thinking there's something wrong with them, that they most likely could use a dose of "Cherry-Flavored Jebus Syrup," and that are they are all-around shameful people that society needs protected from... And the "Dr." Gerald Schoenewolf is an "adviser" to this group of self-perpetuating hate-mongers.

In April of 2005, Schoenewolf published an article on NARTH's Web site, stating:

With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa. But if one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.
Hmm... you say that Africans were "better off" as slaves than "in the jungles of Africa," and you wonder why people would call you a madman? Seriously?

Lets' cover this idiotic statement point-by-point, shall we? First off, to call Europe "civilized" in the 1600-1800s is a laugh. I'm also sure that in the year 2500, they'll laugh at the idea that we were civilized, but that's a horse of a different color... Life is what it is. We are all born into differing parts of the world and try to make the best of what we have. Just because you are born in Africa (or were born in Africa pre-industrialized...) doesn't necessarily mean you have a bad life. What's the standard? What are we using to measure the "jungles of Africa" against? A medieval hold-over of class-based social systems in Europe at the time (and that perists to verying degrees to this day)? The fact that a lot of scientists in that day and age in Europe were involved in the practice of trying to make gold from common elements hardly counts as a standard for what consitutes a "civilized nation," wouldn't you say?

Secondly, the whole "Africans were selling their own into slavery." Ever heard of supply and demand? If there hadn't been a demand for slavery, perhaps there may not have been round-ups to sell these poor people into such a degrading existence! Add to the fact that many were "selling" people in order to keep themselves from getting rounded up, it's doubly evil! They created two classes of victims! The ones they threatened to get them slaves, and the slaves themselves!! And I dare say, the so-called "jungles of Africa" were probably a lot less savage when Europeans weren't forcing them to sell their own people to them!

Third: How could you possibly, even remotely, consider that they "were better off" having lost all freedom to be themselves? To grow up in their homeland? To do whatever they wanted? Do you even realize how many died on the voyage alone? The appalling conditions? Horses and dogs were given better quarters than slaves on ships (if the term "quarters" could even be entertained as a fair representation of dark, damp, sickly, human-fecal stained bottoms of a ship!!)! Then, the ones "lucky" enough to survive the voyage in chains, darkness, and surrounded by death and sickness, were beaten bloody, watched their families torn apart, given hard labor and endless hours on little or no provisions for themselves or what little family they were able to have! And you think they may have been "better off"? Of course you are going to be called a mad man!!!

If all this ignorance isn't bad enough, the good "doctor" tries to "explain" his statements as having been misconstrued and misunderstood.

Slavery is always a great moral evil. It is one of the worst evils in our nation's history. [...] How can we have an intelligent social debate when so-called liberals are so quick to shut other ideas down? For example, must we believe that the American founders--most of whom held slaves (and who knew the practice was morally indefensible)--were simply "bad guys" in every way, with no redeeming moral qualities?

No person is better off enslaved, obviously. What I tried to say, before my words were twisted by that reporter, is that despite the clear and obvious evil of that practice, we tend to forget that many of the enslaved people had been first been sold into bondage by their fellow countrymen; so coming to America did bring about some eventual good. No social issue has all the "good guys" lined up on one side and "bad guys" on the other.

These so-called "liberal" groups are driving social conservatives and libertarians out of the debate with their misuse of their comments. In terms of the flow of accurate and unbiased information, these are very dangerous times.
Never minding that his last paragraph makes him a hypocrite in comparison to his sentence in the paragraph immediately preceeding, he does start off with a sage truth: "Slavery is morally reprehensible." Duh. Thank you for such a great insight, doctor! My, how many years of schooling did that take to come to that conclusion!

He then states that America's founders "knew the practice was morally indefensible." Is that why so many not only bought, sold, and kept slaves, but used the bible to actually justify having slaves?!?! Not only are you trying to downplay the horribleness of slavery and its continuing, lasting effects upon not only this nation but many others, you are trying to rewrite history and hold up the founding fathers of our nation as some type of god of the late 1700s! (HINT if they knew it was wrong, why weren't they freed right off the bat? Hello!) They were human and they owned slaves, and most of them didn't have any issue with it. That's the way things were, as reprehensible as that is. First he downplays the evil of slavery, and then he tries to give an out to the founding fathers an old excuse: "Well, they knew..." Puh-leeze!

Continuing in his diatribe of a mentally incapacitated individual, the good "doctor" then goes on to play the victim, saying his words had been misconstrued by an evil, liberal reporter. If NARTH hadn't been so quick to pull the article from their Web site when all the hoopla started, you'd be able to see that his words weren't misconstrued, he just hated being caught at being a homophobe and a racist. (Why would NARTH remove the article if Schoenewolf was simply misunderstood and not a racist? Did you know my real name is Dolly Parton?) Get off the cross, Gerald... Someone else needs the wood...

After a brief foray again into trying to blame the Africans themselves for the existence of the slave trade (that whole "blame the victim" mentality really cheeses me off!), he states: "so coming to America did bring about some eventual good." That "good" is still in the "eventual" stages, if you ask me. Racial inequality still runs rampant in this country! Have we made some in-roads? Certainly. Is the past unchangeable? Unfortunately. Can we do better? I would give a resounding "Most certainly!" Will we ever get it right? Probably not, but that shouldn't stop us from trying. But to say it had some "eventual good"? I think you would find it interesting to note that this same doctor, "Dr." Gerald Schoenewolf, has stated about civil rights activists:

First came the Civil Rights Movement, which began in the 1850s and was one of the causes of the Civil War. In this case, European-Americans (Caucasians) became the oppressors and African-Americans became the oppressed (because they weren't? what does this guy smoke??); European-Americans were demonized, and African-Americans were idealized; European-Americans who had practiced slavery or segregation were viewed as all-bad and African-Americans were seen as all-good. (Hmm, generalize much?)

African-Americans were urged by various leaders to unify and rebel against European-Americans and to demand special privileges as compensation for their suffering at the hands of the latter. (Suddenly "freedom" is a special privilege... go figure! Sounds like the same arguments they use to argue against same-sex marriage...) Civil rights leaders, like Marx and Engels before them, believed that their way, and only their way, was the valid way to look at the issue."
Yeah, the italics are mine, just in case you didn't catch that. So not only did "slavery cause an eventual good," according to the doctor, it wasn't because of the Civil Rights Movement, those evil bastards! The very movement that tried to start to make right the evil actions perpetuated against African Americans! He not only says it isn't because of them, but he again makes sweeping judgments to give an excuse to the white slave owners while blaming the African Americans for the ills of America. It's not only a little sad, but entirely disgusting! Further, when preparing himself for an interview later in the year 2005, he stated:

[...] Schoenewolf stood by his comments on the intellectual inferiority of civil rights movement supporters. "The civil rights movement has from the beginning and today seen itself as good and others are evil, like slaveowners are evil," he said.

During the interview, Schoenewolf lambasted civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights. "All such movements are destructive," he said. He also claimed the American Psychological Association, of which he is a member, "has been taken over by extremist gays."
Is it any surprise that later that same year, the American Family Association invited him to speak at one of their conferences? Homophobes and racists like to run in the same circles, but holy cow! That the AFA would invite a racist to speak for them about "family values"? Who knew that values are only for white, conservative Christains?

I just find it hard to believe that so many people believe this crap... and not only believe it, but then to endorse him! Do any of you "members" of the AFA know what your so-called "family-values" group endorses and stands for?

One last point about NARTH, the group of which the good "doctor" is an "adviser": Even though NARTH

...boasts membership of 1,000 professionals. Although this is only a tiny fraction of the 185,000 combined membership of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association, even this number may be grossly inflated. As Wayne Besen points out on his blogsite, NARTH was only able to muster 75 signatures on a petition expressing support for conversion therapy. And, further, research has revealed that of this paltry showing of names, at least one-third of signatories are NARTH members, staff, Board members or conference presenters.
They can't even get their own "members" to sign their mission statements about "conversion therapy"! (FYI: "Conversion Therapy" relates to the "therapy" to maker people "ex-gay.")

And people wonder why I have such an issue with "conservatives"...


Darkmind said...

The founding fathers were a bunch of rich white business owners that were trying to get out of paying taxes. They outsourced overseas to Africa for cheap labor to increase thier profits further. Boy, how things have changed! The 'constitution' is amendable so that they can make up the rules as they see fit. The election process is bullshit (*see 43 rich white male presidents in a row and a vast senate and congressional majority throughout history of rich white businessmen). This country has always put up a front as the land of the free, but it is nothing more than a smokescreen. It is true that the basis of our country has great potential for good and true freedom, but things are not getting better, OUR OWNERS just want you to think they are...

FCSuper said...

Just a point about slavery. There where no massive round ups, nor could such round ups have occurred. The Western African Empires where no diminutive force at that time. Minor round ups did happen from time to time, but for the most part, the Europeans plugged in to an already existing system of slavery in Western and Central African culture. It was a practice of the West African powers to enslave citizens of foreign conquests. There is no moral reprieve for any side of the slave trade. Nor is there any special act to be singled out for extra villainy by one side of the trade over the other. Each side was equally responsible for the inhuman act of enslaving fellow humans.