This Is Alabama—We Speak English.

Tim James, a Republican who would like to become governor of Alabama, has a special election message for YOU about his carefully prepared platform on how he will improve the lives of Alabamans:

I wonder how much 30 seconds of bigotry—whoops, I mean business sense—costs these days.

H/t Shakesville

Promiscuous Women Should Be Punished with HIV+ Babies

SchultheisRepublican Colorado State Senators are really working hard to outstrip Utah State Senator Chris Buttars on the mind-boggling ignorant bigotry.

Colorado State Senator Dave Schultheis had some choice words about a bill that would require HIV testing for pregnant women. Obviously, he is against this bill.

The Colorado Independent reports:

Schultheis said he planned to vote against a bill to require HIV tests for pregnant women because the disease “stems from sexual promiscuity” and he didn’t think the Legislature should “remove the negative consequences that take place from poor behavior and unacceptable behavior.”

Listen to some of his words here.

He went on to say: “What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”

This is a state senator who believes that expectant mothers should not be tested for an incurable disease that could effect their child for life, because it is his opinion that HIV is contracted through “promiscuity” and therefore an HIV+ baby is the proper punishment for such a woman.

Let’s leave aside Schultheis’ obviously problematic belief that HIV is the result of promiscuity. Let’s think about the baby here. Schultheis is a Republican with warped beliefs about sex, so I’d say it’s a good bet that he is familiar with the “Culture of Life” bullshit and the anti-abortion movement. Purportedly, people who are fans of these movements care about the baybeez. Per usual, when it comes down to protecting children or shaming sluts, it appears that Schultheis would rather see babies born with HIV than allow a slut to get away with her slutty ways without being punished with a terminally ill child. An inspiring ideology, really.

But Wait! That’s not all that’s going down in Colorado! Oh no, it gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective.) Continue reading

Parents Complain About Disabled Children’s Show Host

Cerrie BurnellCerrie Burnell hosts a children’s show on BBC television called CBeebies. She has been the subject of a recent spate of parent complaints. Not because of her performance. Because of her disability. She was born without the lower section of her right arm.

The Independent reports:

One man said that he would stop his daughter from watching the BBC children’s channel because Burnell would give his child nightmares.

…[S]ome of the vitriolic comments on the “Grown Up” section of the channel’s website were so nasty that they had to be removed.

“Is it just me, or does anyone else think the new woman presenter on CBeebies may scare the kids because of her disability?” wrote one adult on the CBeebies website. Other adults claimed that their children were asking difficult questions as a result. “I didn’t want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter’s mind and possibly caused sleep problems,” said one message. The BBC received nine other complaints by phone.

Outrage! Outrage! Outrage!

Fortunately, many more people have contacted BBC to express their support. Now I don’t have to bang my head against a wall to fall asleep tonight. Continue reading

Gays, Not Recession or Terrorism, Now Greatest Threat to America

Utah Republican State Senator Chris Buttars is in the news again. I wrote about his antics previously when he supported a bill to mandate that all Utah businesses greet their customers during December with “Merry Christmas” only.

Think Progress has gotten ahold of a leaked interview with Buttars where, thinking his words would never be heard by the general public, he makes a plethora of rabid, factless statements about gay Utahans.

– To me, homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion. And you say that around here now and everybody goes nuts! But I don’t care.

– They say, I’m born that way. There’s some truth to that, in that some people are born with an attraction to alcohol.

– They’re mean! They want to talk about being nice — they’re the meanest buggers I ever seen. It’s just like the Moslems. Moslems are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side.

– I believe that you will destroy the foundation of American society, because I believe the cornerstone of it is a man and a woman, the family. … And I believe that they’re, internally, they’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of. Yep, the radical gay movement.

The occasion of Buttars’ learned commentary? He was celebrating the defeat of several bills in the Utah state legislature that would have given a few rights to its gay citizens.

Listen for yourself.

UPDATE 2/20/09: Buttars has been removed from the Utah Senate Judiciary Committee due to these comments. Hooray!

Political Correctness

I l-o-v-e it when people agree with me! Hearts out to A Truly Elegant Mess, a blog that recently posted the amazing bit Who wakes up and says, “I wish I could be oppressed too”?.

My favorite part:

As far as this idea of “politically correct” (scare quotes intended) as code for “uptight” or “restrictive,” I don’t see why it is so important to some people to be allowed to use words that create an othering effect of specific groups. One thing that must be put out there right now: complaining about being forced to be “PC” is, in essence, complaining that you can’t be a racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic douchenozzle without there being consequences.

Agreed. I have this train of thought often. I hear people gripe about the expectation to be “PC”, implying that somehow their freedom of expression is cramped, or that it gets in the way of honestly expressing themselves. Well, here’s the thing. Being PC is about respecting all people equally. Specifically, it is about not using terms that traditionally oppressed or marginalized groups find offensive. Using such terms is typically (though not always) something that a privileged group does, with the intended or unintended effect of reinforcing oppressive social structures.

You don’t have to be PC – you don’t have to treat anyone with respect either. But there are, and should be, consequences if you decide to treat certain groups with disrespect by using insulting terms towards them. If your honest feelings towards a group of (traditionally oppressed) people is one of inferiority, feel free to be honest. Like all moments of honesty, if the truth is painful, people will react. So complaining about being PC is like Dori from the above post says: it’s complaining that you can’t be a bigot without some degree of public censure. Allow me to join you in a big Boo Hoo.

Perhaps you’ve always been accustomed to using certain terms amongst your peer group that you realize get a bad reaction when used outside of that group. For example, certain words you use to describe blacks while in your all-white circle of friends don’t fly when the group is racially-mixed. I would suggest to think this one over. If POC find the terms offensive, why use them at all? Especially when out of earshot of people of color? The fact that we would use certain terms when in an all-white (or all-male or etc) group but not in a mixed group demonstrates that we know the difference between offensive and inoffensive remarks, but we still resort to insulting terms when we think it’s safe.

I have this suggestion. Why not use only terms that you would be unashamed to use in any social situation, regardless of the make-up of the group? Particularly for those of us who belong to social groups that have a lot of privilege, why not respect those who don’t? Why actively participate in white supremacy, male dominance, heteronormativity, etc? This is a relatively easy form of rebellion against social inequalities… give it a go!