Ignorance and bigotry are all mixed up with our usually unspoken ideas about class, and race, and gender. In the United States, when we think about ignorance and bigotry we all too often unfairly call up the image of a poor white Southern man. We are like a general who can’t win any battles because he’s still trying to fight the last war.
That’s why this Ms. California video is so compelling; this is the new, modern face of prejudice: feminine and pretty, self-effacing and even apologetic. Bigotry, at least the public sort, is no longer aggressive, masculine and arrogant. (No doubt the old bigotry survives in all sorts of other, less public places.) Ignorance, now, is “just an opinion,” ‘the way my family was raised.”
Yet it’s still bigotry and it’s still hateful and violent. As a friend of mine always says, why do they care? What is it about a certain Christian ideology that makes a simple fact of life– homosexuality– into moral depravity? I don’t think there’s a good answer in the end. Why did these same families find so-called mixed marriages so repulsive three generations ago?