Monday, December 28, 2009

Why is it OK to hate rednecks?

One of the big frustrations with the secular community is you can't excommunicate anyone.

Wishful targets include the lawsuit-happy Freedom From Religion Foundation, which wastes resources on little details like attempting to block missionaries from American prisons and promotes the "Winter Solstice" as an alternative to Christmas.

Another ripe target is an atheist YouTube user who posted their version of the ten commandments. More of a text slide show with pirated music then an actual video, this submission is a cluster of heavy-handed and awkward political insertions like "thou shalt not kill - nor empower your government to kill for you."

But it was commandment number six that really caught me off guard.

"Thou shalt treat all human beings as equal regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and culture." [SIC]

Sounds well enough, but then it was immediately followed by this message.

"This one is the hardest. It is difficult for the yokels sitting on the front porch playing the banjo to understand abstract notions such as belonging to the tribe of humans not just the immediate tribe in which they marry their sister."
How ignorant does someone have to be to write a message of tolerance than betrays ones own prejudices in such a harsh manner? I'm not one to run around being offended all day, and I'm kind of used to seeing this view, but not smack in the middle of a tolerance lesson.

If we look at that this through the lens of Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals, where the divide between urban blacks and rural whites is blurred, we see that the statement could be rewritten as:
"This one is the hardest. It is difficult for the darkies sitting on the stoop drinking malt liquor to understand abstract notions such as belonging to the tribe of humans not just the immediate tribe in which they rape a white woman."
How is the second, modified statement any less crude, offensive or hateful than the first? Unfortunately, the first statement is socially acceptable in American culture, while the second one is thankfully unacceptable.

The word for this prejudice put forward by Dr. Warren Farrell in his 1993 book "The Myth of Male Power" was "ruralism." The term is badly needed, but obscure in the popular culture. What I find frustrating is that the same people who are leading the charge against the more antiquated forms of prejudice and discrimination, like sexism and racism, have no interest in thwarting ruralism, and worse of all, are unabashed to make ruralist statements and jokes in public.

It's very painful to watch sometimes. I know there are other people that see ruralism the same way, but I feel very alone when I witness it. Maybe it's a good thing I can't be excommunicated from the secular community for asking this, but why is it OK to hate rural people?


  1. Ahhh, ruralism I understand. Living and working in northern Indiana, the big middle finger of the south, it's amazing what people will joke about in public. The secret to them not getting in trouble for it? Everyone here is racist pretty much, whether they realize it or not. It's bred into people here. Of course, it could be the all the meth use.

    - Jesse D.

  2. This just goes to show that just because someone is an atheist doesn’t necessary make them a great person. ;)

    The guy who made that video is a total ignoramus. It is obviously not okay to hate rural people, or any “set” of people, for that matter. You just can’t stereotype a whole race or set of people as all—every single one of them—being the same “type.” Every person is unique, and possessed of their own unique individual beliefs and values. They may share some similar traits with another group of people, but that’s all. The original wording of his commandment #6 doesn’t need to be reworded—it is just as offensive in its original form.

    It is also exasperatingly contradictory. To go first from saying we should treat all humans the same, and then to not only say that this is hard to do, but to then to break his own commandment by treating a certain set of people with such disrespect is just mind-bogglingly ignorant. But it’s really not too surprising a statement for him to make, considering the rest of his commandments.

    For example, after stating Commandment #1: “Thou shalt not kill…” he goes on to totally contradict himself by saying “Of course, if someone is trying to kill you or your family, then go for it, blow their head off.”

    Commandment #8 is again a contradiction (as well as one of my pet peeves): “Thou shalt strive to understand the universe so that thou shalt begin to understand thyself. I like to think that in some way we are the universe trying to understand itself.”

    Sorry, but how can the “universe” understand anything? It is not a sentient being. We are sentient beings. Just because a part makes up a whole, does not mean the whole is the same as the parts. Are we really just a giant red blood cell, energy power factory? This sort of thing always gets me, being a fairly “devout” (as I like to call myself) atheist myself. Really understanding the universe and science would totally negate this kind of thinking.

    As for commandment #13: “Strive to be the person your dog thinks you are.”

    Um, sorry, but your dog most likely thinks you are just some other big, dumb, ugly dog that he has to train with heart-wrenchingly pathetic whines, mournful looks, amusing tricks and displays of affection and approval so that you will continue to fill his bowl twice a day with sloppy-chops beef bits and pick up his poop.

    Commandment #14 I have to admit isn’t bad: “ Let logic and reason guide your life. Live long and prosper. (Vulcans are cool.)”
    This one I actually have to agree with, of course. :)