23 December 2008
WUMPSPASMs, gay folk, and Rick Warren
There's a big part of me that feels like I should just STFU when it comes to issues of oppression. Why? Because I am the oppressor. I'm a member of just about every privileged class there is. In college, because I realized that "WASP" doesn't begin to cover it, I even made up a new acronym for folks like me: WUMPSPASM. White, Unchallenged (Mentally and Physically), Straight, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon Males. Since then it has occurred to me that I could easily keep adding to that list, and always end up on the "Screw alls y'all, I got mine! Hee hee!" side of the equation. Nationality? American Empire. Check. Socio-economic class? The Haves. Check. Techno-empowered? Utter dweeb. Check. Etc., etc. You could maybe argue the "unchallenged (mentally)" because I have bipolar disorder, but it's managed by meds...so nope, I'm still among the privileged.
So who am I to say anything to my gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/queer sisters and brothers - and the progressive folk who stand in solidarity with them - about how they should react to President-Elect Obama's choice of Rick Warren to pray at the inauguration? Effin' nobody. Seriously, I get that. Who am I to ask them to reject the tools and methods of the oppressor - shunning, silencing, exclusion, etc. - in favor of the extension of grace and inclusion, even to a guy who uses those tools on you? I'm nobody, and worse than nobody - I'm a guy who was born with full access to those tools and more. It's easy for me to say, "turn the other cheek" - mine isn't bloodied. I'm the bloodier.
Still, FWIW, I'm grateful for Melissa E. and her approach to this difficult issue.
HT: The bald wise guy.