|Show Me a Sexist; I'll Show You a Racist
Posted: Friday, July 11, 2008 12:00 am
Section: Columns on Family Matters
|Ah! The good old days--when men were men and women were kept in the kitchen; when being white was right for America.
Ah! The good old days--when men were men and women were kept in the kitchen; when being white was right for America.
When a Latino like me wouldn't be burdened with the heavy mental responsibilities of being a professor and could simply relax in the few jobs available, like mopping the floors as the janitor of the seminaries and colleges where I am now invited to speak.
When "colored people" knew their place and were not so uppity. And if they became too unruly, they were simply lynched.
Using the logic that Southern Seminary professor Bruce Ware applied to the family in the same sermon series quoted above, "colored folk" wouldn't have to worry as much about lynching if they were more obedient to their white superiors. (See "Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands.")
Don't you just miss those good-old days? As good as they were, women 50 or 60 years ago still had too much freedom. The liberated women of the 1950s had many privileges. They simply weren't submissive enough. I suggest that we as Christians must return to a truly biblical understanding of how men should treat women.
Women must go back to being the property of men. Her body belongs to the man who happens to own her--first her father, then her husband (Ex 20:17).
As soon as she reaches puberty (around the ages of 11 to 13) her virginity should be sold to the highest bidder.
And frankly, why should we men settle for just one woman, when the Bible gives us so many more options? Why not revive the biblical practice of having concubines (1 Ki 11:3), sex slaves (Dt 21:10-14) and enjoy the occasional pleasures of a prostitute (Gen 38:15)?
Not only could we return to these biblical examples on how to treat our women, but look to the text on how to treat our children. If my children disrespect me, I have full biblical authority to kill them (Lev 20:9).
And while Bruce Ware helps us understand why wife beating is justifiable for not submitting to men, I say they should be stoned. The Bible teaches us that if the bride was not a virgin on her wedding night, then execution was the consequence (Dt 22:13-21).
When listening seriously to the views of Tom Nelson and Bruce Ware, it is important to realize that sexism is but one aspect of what it means to be a white man with economic privilege. Women must be kept in their place, because once they are liberated, all types of other groups would want to also be liberated.
To be a white man in the good old days of 50 to 60 years ago--and to the Tom Nelsons and Bruce Wares of today--implies both domination and protection of those under you: women as well as non-white males. It becomes the white man's responsibility, his burden, to educate and Christianize those below his superior standards.
Women, non-whites and poor whites all fail to reach the exalted white-man's station in life, because they lack what it takes to be a real man, a gift given to them by the ultimate Man, God.
When white men like Tom Nelson and Bruce Ware look into a mirror, they recognize themselves through the distancing process of negative self-definition: "I am what I am not." I am not an emotional woman, therefore I am a rational man. I am not a lazy black person, therefore I am industrious. I am not an uncivilized Latino, therefore I am civilized.
The formation of the white man's ego constructs an illusory self-representation by ascribing femininity to their "Others."
Show me a sexist and I'll show you a racist. Seeing Others as feminine (whether they be female or male) justifies their subjugation, helping us better understand the underpinnings of both colonialism and imperialism.
It is naive to think that structures of oppression along gender, race, class and sexual orientation function as isolated compartments. In a very real sense, the oppression of women is more than simply a sexist act. It serves as a paradigm for the subjugation of all people groups that fall short of the white-male ideal.
In this way, the sexism advocated by Nelson and Ware is intertwined with racism, classism and heterosexism--a space where these different manifestations of oppression interact with, reinforce and at times conflict with each other.
All these forms of oppression are identical in their attempt to domesticate the Other, to place the Other in a subordinate position for easy mounting.
The danger Tom Nelson, Bruce Ware and company poses to society goes beyond some ignorant sexist comments. They provide us with a blueprint on reestablishing the racist, elitist, classist and imperialist structures of the good-old days through their advocacy of sexist paradigms.
Miguel A. De La Torre is director of the Justice & Peace Institute and associate professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
Miguel De La Torre is author of Liberating Jonah. Order here from Amazon.com.
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