by liberal japonicus
I started this because the other thread wascreaking under the weight of all the comments,, but two other posts have gone out since them. Oh well... However, I thought I go ahead and post this.
I think the main point in the vox piece is correct and it seems to help understand not only Trump but a number of other things. I do hesitate about this
In other words, what might look on the surface like bigotry was really much closer to Stenner's theory of "activation": that authoritarians are unusually susceptible to messages about the ways outsiders and social changes threaten America, and so lash out at groups that are identified as objects of concern at that given moment.
That's not to say that such an attitude is in some way better than simple racism or xenophobia — it is still dangerous and damaging, especially if it empowers frightening demagogues like Donald Trump.
I'm not seeing the difference. If I've got a hair trigger when I see an African-American, or feel threatened when a woman expresses an opinion, it sure seems like bigotry. If the argument is that these people would latch onto to anything, so it's not the same, it seems like the combination of American societal history of people of color or the world and the patriarchy and their willingness to fix on whatever group that happens to be the target is going to have it always come back to those groups. I guess it is just that being racist or sexist is such a conversation stopper that they have to say 'gee, it's not that they are racist/sexist, it is...'
It does, however, suggest that fighting bigotry by rubbing folks' nose in it may at times be counterproductive. Of course, you may say, if you don't rub people's noses in it, and make them regret saying it, how do you get them to change? And I certainly think that the occasionally nose-rubbing is important, if only pour encourager les autres. But what is that Goldilocks amount of nose-rubbing? No idea.
But even if we do agree and completely refrain, it's not going to stop people from bumping into it all the time. Which brings me to the SBNation piece, "America's women are going to kick the world's ass at the Rio Olympics", which some may bring up as the obvious rejoinder to my citing an article that social change is what is causing the problems. I mean, here is a paean to the American woman, kicking butt and taking names. But it's really not a rejoinder. People are complicated, and I'm sure that some of the same guys going ballistic that there is an all female reboot of Ghostbusters are screaming 'USA' at the TV when the women's soccer team is playing or when some American woman competing in a sport they never heard of is 'going for the gold'. Some of them may even take their support of women on the Olympic sports field (slathered with Nationalism) as evidence that they don't have a problem with women or with social change.
But make no mistake, this is social change and it is washing over everyone and everything. We don't get to chose what part of the tide that gets to come in. I just hope we can all swim.