Rafael R. Piñero lives in Puerto Rico and is a writer, alum of the University of Puerto Rico and have a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, M.I.
Their favorite genres are science fiction, urban fantasy and high fantasy. They also enjoy games and Harry Potter and can be found on their blog at Neither Here nor There
Memo to all of you who have watched, perhaps in horror or wry amusement, as a certain right wing radio host flounders about like a beached whale.
We are not living in a post-racial or post-feminist world.
We want to believe we do. But, you see, it in this case it is the bully with the radio microphone who got branded with the very scarlet letter he tried to pin on his victim. True, as far as the majority is concerned. But a significant minority still listen to this “man” (for a lack of a better term) in part because he serves to vent what they themselves believe but social graces prevent them from saying. Hate that tosses n-bombs is easy to recognize. We look at the example above and tell ourselves that it is the exception to the rule.
1 a : awaiting a chance to entrap : treacherous b : harmful but enticing : seductive
2 a : having a gradual and cumulative effect : subtle
b of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent
That is the word that the Supreme Court of the United States uses to catalog modern forms of prejudice based on race, gender, sexual identification, age or ethnicity. It is not the cross burnings or slurs; it is hiring decisions, payment ceilings and now laws to restrict reproductive rights. But what is truly insidious are not the measures, cloaked as they are in innocuous language, but the reactions they engender.
Case in point. During a novella writing workshop last year, a fellow student describes her project as the story of a middle age woman who leaves her life in New York city to live in the west side of Puerto Rico among surfers and beach bums. In short a story about a woman in search of her identity. When the professor points at the classic elements of a feminist story she replies, “Oh no, not at all. I am not a feminist.” Did I mention she is a lawyer? In her mind, a feminist is a retro-harpy, forever waiting to feast on the bones of unwary males and besmirching the good name of modern working women everywhere.
That is the insidious part. The way we placate the hate by distancing ourselves from the target of said hate. It is easy to see blatant racism/bigotry as a thing of the past, but history is not linear. Attitudes change all the time. For every move forward there will be a push back, just like there is today. Entrenched values persist every attempt to purge them from the social collective. Thus the hate lurks just below the surface. The good news is that it can be brought to the surface and fought.