An opinion by guest blogger Faizeh Al-Zarqa. This was originally posted one year ago, but is as relevant today as it was then.
A couple weeks ago, we were watching Samantha Bee and she was showing a clip of Rep. Louis Gohmert rambling on in his usual nonsensical way, and she made some jokes and said something to the effect of “Thank goodness there’s no one crazier than Louis Gohmert!” At that moment, I turned to Drew and said, “Except Steve King.” I had barely finished saying that when she rolled the clip, and Gohmert was relinquishing his time to his colleague and friend Steve King, who went on to say more ridiculous things. In case you don’t remember who Steve King is, he’s the representative from Iowa who loves to say (in seriousness) racist things. Last fall, I watched, live, as he stated that all good things and societal advances have been made by white people. He argued with the other people on the panel when they tried to correct him. He is someone who truly believes white people are superior to others, and more importantly, a whole lot of people think he is a good representative for them.
Science has shown us again and again that when a person or group in power must relinquish any portion of that power, even to make things more equitable, they will often perceive that loss of power as persecution and/or oppression. The interesting thing is that often, groups who have been the minority groups are so socialized to accept the power of the majority group that they will often perceive that loss of power as unjust as well. Our brains are malleable and fascinating! One study on gender equality in the classroom showed that when the teacher purposely made time talking in class equal between genders, both groups perceived that the women were talking 90% of the time and the men only 10%, even though they each had the floor 50% of the time. Typically, men and boys take up about 80% of classroom talking time.
Anyway, back to Steve King. Clearly, he represents a lot of people who are either in agreement with his racial viewpoints, or not bothered by them. Clearly he is able to walk the halls of the capital and make friends with others who are either in agreement or not bothered by them. This is not just your racist uncle you have to try and ignore on holidays.
While it may feel good to punch nazis, that response does nothing beyond giving these people another way to feel persecuted. I would suggest another method- ostracizing them. Stop working with them. Stop tolerating them. Stop f***ing voting for them. Contrary to the “rugged individualism” myth Americans fancy about themselves, we are, in fact, wholly dependent on each other. Denying people our resources and company because they don’t deserve any goodwill will probably not get them to practice self examination, but it will force them to bury those destructive and evil views where they will only eat at the holder of said views.
Faizeh Al-Zarqa is a dancer and dance instructor who also raises awareness of social issues, some that are often missed. In the Kingdom of Caid in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), she has served as Regent, Minister of Arts & Sciences Officer, Kingdom Chatelaine (administrator for newcomers), Regent, and Queen.
An opinion of a poster to The Loveshade Family Blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.