Monday, July 04, 2016


For almost 4 centuries, many (but not all) white southern cultural conservatives have been fighting to discriminate against, stigmatize and punish those who do not meet their criteria.  (Many do not actively pursue this, they just go with the flow and lack the courage to speak out.) If you are not white of northern or western European origin,  conservative Christian, heterosexual, anti abortion, anti-LGBT and dislike the Confederate Battle Flag, you will be scorned and viewed as somewhat less worthy as a person deserving respect for their rights.   For instance although slavery is gone, the white supremacist ideology that supported it lives on.   Male supremacists have a tough time giving women control of their pregnancies, etc. The way they see it, there are 2 kinds of people, us and them.  They are perverts, sinners, racially inferior, immoral scum, etc.  Xenophobia reigns. Metathesiophobia reigns.

However, starting in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has steadily pushed back against these ideologies.  These folks are losing elsewhere. Some Southern legislatures and the Southern Baptists have come out against the Confederate Battle Flag.  Some southern cities have passed anti-discrimination regulations protecting LGBT's.   The private sector is also joining in.  However, it's far from over.  In Texas, Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton, and much off he legislature keep fighting.  In my classes, when someone took a obviously southern racist position, I merely stated that treating black people like second citizens was not going to make up for losing the civil war.  That always ended the conversation.

  Here's most of a  great article by Richard Parker:

"AUSTIN - Here is a news flash to right-wing politicians across Texas and the rest of the American South: The culture wars are over. And you lost.

The Supreme Court did not just affirm the constitutionally-protected right to abortion by striking down a draconian Texas law. It also added the judiciary to the political and economic roadblocks to discrimination. The sum total equals trouble for an unraveling Republican Party for whom discrimination has been a perverse, last stand.

The end of the Texas law proved a fittingly delicious irony. The handiwork of a spiteful and sexist legislature, signed by Rick Perry and defended in the courts by Greg Abbott, the law was thinly veiled as protecting women's health when all it did was restrict abortion, a right protected by the Constitution. But all along, Texas never provided evidence that women's health was in danger.

While the politicians in Austin regulated women's bodies in 2015, their colleagues in the rest of the South got busy discriminating against other people. Like Texas, North Carolina had outlawed gay marriage and lost that one at the Supreme Court that same year. Having lost at the altar, the governor there decided to extend the culture war into the bathroom in 2016.

Once in there, he ran into not just popular outrage but also the opposition of companies like American Airlines, the Bank of America, Paypal, Google and the National Basketball Association. Not wanting the meet the same fate, the conservative, Republican governor of Georgia wisely vetoed his own state's bill, shoved it in a drawer and took the heat. Arkansas watered down its attempted restrictions on gay marriage and Mississippi found itself in court on the same matter.

Now, North Carolina is headed to the federal court system to defend its own clever-by-half discrimination, even though it already seems to breach a previous ruling striking down discrimination, Romer v. Evans, decided 20 years ago. That's not even to mention three subsequent cases, including a Texas one, all of which upheld gay rights.

Back in Texas, the bumbling Legislature is eager to challenge Texas cities on laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, and Abbott has signed on to North Carolina's lawsuit over school bathroom policies. (Bad news for North Carolina: Abbott lost most of his decided lawsuits against the federal government.) As the writer Parker Molloy quipped on Twitter, "Ah, the toilet: the hill the Texas executive branch has chosen to die on."

The political reality for the last 20 years is that social conservatism relied heavily, and particularly in the South, on new forms of discrimination: against women, gay people, ethnic minorities -- somebody, anybody. But now that discrimination is running against the current of history not just in federal courts but in the South itself. Urban Texas, for example, is not just diverse in every meaning of the word; it is fueled by diversity. Its cities have already moved to protect that diversity.

In this political and economic reality, big business is now the swing vote and discrimination is not a path to market share. American Airlines warned North Carolina that discrimination was "against our fundamental belief." In a not-so-veiled warning over its Charlotte hub, the airline noted that such laws are "bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted."

So, what exactly do Texas politicians think American Airlines is going to say about the next bathroom bill here, when the company calls Fort Worth home? The exact same thing. Just like Google. And so on. Besides, it's already happened. When the legislature was on the verge of denying in-state tuition to college students who arrived as undocumented children, the Texas Association of Business stepped in and said no. 

All wars end. That includes culture wars. No one fights the battle of women in combat or gays in the military anymore. So, the end of the culture wars in the South reminds me of the end of the Confederacy. Yes, some people will use words like safety or local overreach instead of hate and discrimination, just like states' rights became code for slavery and Jim Crow. But increasingly, it's all just history."

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