- John Holbo: Conor Friedersdorf and Sam Ervin
- Jelani Cobb: The Failure of Desegregation
- with bonus E.J. Graff
Let’s cut all that loose and try again.... Conor Friedersdorf’s argument that gay marriage opponents shouldn’t be likened to racist bigots goes something like this.
P1: Racism is pretty simple: “A belief in the superiority of one race and the inferiority of another.”
P2: Opposition to same-sex marriage is complex: “One thing I’ve noticed in this debate is how unfamiliar proponents of stigma are with thoughtful orthodox Christians — that is to say, they haven’t interacted with them personally, critiqued the best version of their arguments, or even been exposed to the most sophisticated version of their reasoning, which I find to be obviously earnest, if ultimately unpersuasive.”
C: Comparing same-sex marriage opponents to racist bigots falsifies by over-simplification
Friedersdorf is braced for resistance to P2. But P2 is ok and the problem is P1. I hope it’s obvious to you, when it’s put so simply. Racism is not… simple. (How could it be?)
Let me interrupt here by quoting from an email from E.J. Graff:
There are no good arguments against marriage equality under our current philosophy of marriage.
There were, under a previous one. But because of all the changes that happened in the West's marriage philosophy and laws between 1851 and 1974, same-sex couples now belong.
- It was NOT obvious that same-sex couples belonged in marriage in 1851, when:
- it was still a highly gendered institution,
- with legal responsibilities allocated by sex.
- It was not obvious in 1400, when:
- marriage was the way families divvied up land or labor,
- with the spouses' jobs interdependent and different (spinning over here, farming over there).
It's obvious now because an entire movement of people worked to make it obvious--NOT because Olsen & Boies made their argument, but because we delivered an argument and a country we had changed TO them.... People... who were against us just 20 or ten years ago: I remember what you wrote. I don't hold it against you. We had to make the argument and then the rest of you could follow.
And we will now let Holbo resume: