Defense Against Discrimination Quotes

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If a curiously selective plague came along and killed all people of intermediate height, 'tall' and 'short' would come to have just as precise a meaning as 'bird' or 'mammal'. The same is true of human ethics and law. Our legal and moral systems are deeply species-bound. The director of a zoo is legally entitled to 'put down' a chimpanzee that is surplus to requirements, while any suggestion that he might 'put down' a redundant keeper or ticket-seller would be greeted with howls of incredulous outrage. The chimpanzee is the property of the zoo. Humans are nowadays not supposed to be anybody's property, yet the rationale for discriminating against chimpanzees in this way is seldom spelled out, and I doubt if there is a defensible rationale at all. Such is the breathtaking speciesism of our attitudes, the abortion of a single human zygote can arouse more moral solicitude and righteous indignation than the vivisection of any number of intelligent adult chimpanzees! [T]he only reason we can be comfortable with such a double standard is that the intermediates between humans and chimps are all dead.
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design)
When groups feel threatened, they retreat into tribalism. They close ranks and become more insular, more defensive, more punitive, more us-versus-them. In America today, every group feels this way to some extent. Whites and blacks, Latinos and Asians, men and women, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, straight people and gay people, liberals and conservatives—all feel their groups are being attacked, bullied, persecuted, discriminated against. Of course, one group’s claims to feeling threatened and voiceless are often met by another group’s derision because it discounts their own feelings of persecution—but such is political tribalism.
Amy Chua (Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations)
My real life work was done at Atlanta for thirteen years, from my twenty-ninth to my forty-second birthday. They were years of great spiritual upturning, of the making and unmaking of ideals, of hard work and hard play. Here I found myself. I lost most of my mannerisms. I grew more broadly human, made my closest and most holy friendships, and studied human beings. I became widely-acquainted with the real condition of my people. I realized the terrific odds which faced them. At Wilberforce I was their captious critic. In Philadelphia I was their cold and scientific investigator, with microscope and probe. It took but a few years of Atlanta to bring me to hot and indignant defense. I saw the race-hatred of the whites as I had never dreamed of it before,—naked and unashamed! The faint discrimination of my hopes and intangible dislikes paled into nothing before this great, red monster of cruel oppression. I held back with more difficulty each day my mounting indignation against injustice and misrepresentation.
W.E.B. Du Bois (Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil)
If we truly seek to understand segregationists—not to excuse or absolve them, but to understand them—then we must first understand how they understood themselves. Until now, because of the tendency to focus on the reactionary leaders of massive resistance, segregationists have largely been understood simply as the opposition to the civil rights movement. They have been framed as a group focused solely on suppressing the rights of others, whether that be the larger cause of “civil rights” or any number of individual entitlements, such as the rights of blacks to vote, assemble, speak, protest, or own property. Segregationists, of course, did stand against those things, and often with bloody and brutal consequences. But, like all people, they did not think of themselves in terms of what they opposed but rather in terms of what they supported. The conventional wisdom has held that they were only fighting against the rights of others. But, in their own minds, segregationists were instead fighting for rights of their own—such as the “right” to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children’s classmates, the “right” to do as they pleased with their private property and personal businesses, and, perhaps most important, the “right” to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government. To be sure, all of these positive “rights” were grounded in a negative system of discrimination and racism. In the minds of segregationists, however, such rights existed all the same. Indeed, from their perspective, it was clearly they who defended individual freedom, while the “so-called civil rights activists” aligned themselves with a powerful central state, demanded increased governmental regulation of local affairs, and waged a sustained assault on the individual economic, social, and political prerogatives of others. The true goal of desegregation, these white southerners insisted, was not to end the system of racial oppression in the South, but to install a new system that oppressed them instead. As this study demonstrates, southern whites fundamentally understood their support of segregation as a defense of their own liberties, rather than a denial of others’.
Kevin M. Kruse (White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism)
Could these groundbreaking and often unsung activists have imagined that only forty years later the 'official' gay rights agenda would be largely pro-police, pro-prisons, and pro-war - exactly the forces they worked so hard to resist? Just a few decades later, the most visible and well-funded arms of the 'LGBT movement' look much more like a corporate strategizing session than a grassroots social justice movement. There are countless examples of this dramatic shift in priorities. What emerged as a fight against racist, anti-poor, and anti-queer police violence now works hand in hand with local and federal law enforcement agencies - district attorneys are asked to speak at trans rallies, cops march in Gay Pride parades. The agendas of prosecutors - those who lock up our family, friends, and lovers - and many queer and trans organizations are becomingly increasingly similar, with sentence- and police-enhancing legislation at the top of the priority list. Hate crimes legislation is tacked on to multi-billion dollar 'defense' bills to support US military domination in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Despite the rhetoric of an 'LGBT community,' transgender and gender-non-conforming people are our 'lead' organizations - most recently in the 2007 gutting of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of gender identity protections. And as the rate of people (particularly poor queer and trans people of color) without steady jobs, housing, or healthcare continues to rise, and health and social services continue to be cut, those dubbed the leaders of the 'LGBT movement' insist that marriage rights are the way to redress the inequalities in our communities.
Eric A. Stanley (Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex)
CONCLUSION It is a tragedy that blacks are much more likely to be victims of violent crime. But as police know all too well, they simply can’t be there all the time to save people. Blacks have to defend themselves more often than any other racial group. Since they so frequently act in self-defense, it is no wonder that their homicides are more likely to be judged as “justifiable.” Blacks have the most to gain from Stand Your Ground laws, and there is no evidence that the laws are applied in any way that discriminates against blacks. My research even suggests just the opposite. But this conversation about discrimination should not be blown out of proportion. The most important thing is that Stand Your Ground saves lives.
John R. Lott Jr. (The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies)
It was only after we moved to New York that I began to face racial discrimination and the necessity of creating defenses against it. It was exciting to see the bright lights of Times Square and to look forward to moving into our new three-story house in Jackson Heights, which was in a neighborhood of one- and two-family houses and less than fifty yards from the subway, the El, and the Fifth Avenue bus. But it was painful to learn that my father had only been able to buy the land for the house by putting the deed in the name of his Irish contractor because restricted covenants prohibited sale to persons who were not Caucasian.
Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography)
Judith Stacey—a prominent New York University professor who is in no way regarded as a fringe figure, in testifying before Congress against the Defense of Marriage Act—expressed hope that the revisionist view’s triumph would give marriage “varied, creative, and adaptive contours . . . [leading some to] question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek . . . small group marriages.”44 In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than three hundred “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates—including prominent Ivy League professors—call for legally recognizing sexual relationships involving more than two partners.45 University of Calgary Professor Elizabeth Brake thinks that justice requires us to use legal recognition to “denormalize[] heterosexual monogamy as a way of life” and correct for “past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, and care networks.”46
Sherif Girgis (What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense)
Many unions discriminated against them, in part because of their fear that if Negroes came in, white workers might well go out. The future looked no more encouraging; in December 1940 less than 2 per cent of the trainees under defense pre-employment and refresher courses were black. Negroes could
James MacGregor Burns (Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (1940-1945))
A 2017 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 48 percent of Republicans thought there was “a lot of discrimination” against Christians, while only 27 percent of them thought there was “a lot of discrimination” against black people; 43 percent thought there was a lot of discrimination against whites.
Joel Stein (In Defense of Elitism: Why I'm Better Than You and You are Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy This Book)
Those of us who are middle-class are more likely to take it for granted that we are white without having to emphasize the point, and to feel guilty when it is noticed or brought up. Those of us who are poor or working-class are more likely to have had to assert our whiteness against the effects of economic discrimination and the presence of other racial groups. Although we share the benefits of being white, we don’t share the economic privileges of being middle-class, and so we are more likely to feel angry and less likely to feel guilty than our middle-class counterparts. Whatever our economic status, many white people become paralyzed with some measure of fear, guilt or defensiveness when racism is addressed.
Beverly Daniel Tatum (Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?)
Quoting page 56-57: Most important for the content of immigration reform, the driving force at the core of this movement, reaching back to the 1920s, were Jewish organizations long active in opposing racial and ethnic quotas. These included the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and the American Federation of Jews from Eastern Europe. Jewish members of Congress, particularly representatives from New York and Chicago, had maintained steady but largely ineffective pressure against the national origins quotas since the 1920s. But the war against Hitler and the postwar movement against colonialism sharply changed the ideological and moral environment, putting defenders of racial, caste, and ethnic hierarchies on the defensive. Jewish political leaders in New York, most prominently Governor Herbert Lehman, had pioneered in the 1940s in passing state antidiscrimination legislation. Importantly, these statutes and executive orders added “national origin” to race, color, and religion as impermissible grounds for discrimination. Following the shock of the Holocaust, Jewish leaders had been especially active in Washington in furthering immigration reform. To the public, the most visible evidence of the immigration reform drive was played by Jewish legislative leaders, such as Representative Celler and Senator Jacob Javits of New York. Less visible, but equally important, were the efforts of key advisers on presidential and agency staffs. These included senior policy advisers such as Julius Edelson and Harry Rosenfield in the Truman administration, Maxwell Rabb in the Eisenhower White House, and presidential aide Myer Feldman, assistant secretary of state Abba Schwartz, and deputy attorney general Norbert Schlei in the Kennedy-Johnson administration.
Hugh Davis Graham (Collision Course: The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America)