Essay Archive

Hate Swallows: Reflections on the Passing of Fred Phelps

By the time you read this, Fred Phelps will be dead. Fred Phelps, who more than anyone in the last two decades has come to symbolize the most viscerally evil edge of Christian heterosexism — and who made a name for himself by picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in combat with “God Hates Fags” [...]

Bearing False Witness: Reflections on Being Attacked by Lying Right-Wing Christians

I guess it would be too much to ask for honesty from a decidedly right-wing, reactionary and Christian supremacist bunch such as publishes LifeSiteNews, but ask I will in any event. Or rather, I won’t ask, and won’t expect it; instead, I will simply respond to the absurd, dishonest characterization of me that appeared in [...]

Choosing Whiteness or Humanity: Jordan Davis and the Minimizing of Black Pain

And so a despairing ritual has once again played out, and once again in a Florida courtroom, where apparently some number of jurors find it difficult to accept that a young black male might not be to blame for his own murder; that his killing might actually have been completely and entirely unjustified. Then again, [...]

The Poor Have It Easy? Wealth, Inheritance and Right-Wing Statistical Fraud

(The following is a slightly altered and far more sarcastic version of a section of Tim Wise’s forthcoming book, Culture of Cruelty: How America’s Elite Demonize the Poor, Valorize the Rich and Jeopardize the Future) Perhaps you think you’ve heard everything. Perhaps you’re one of those folks who feels that comparing criticisms of growing wealth [...]

…But How Dare You Complain to Me: Ani DiFranco, White Obliviousness and Historical Memory

Imagine for a moment that an artist of some sort — perhaps for lack of a better example, a folk singer — decided to host a writer’s retreat, at which interested and aspiring artists might gather so as to pool their collective energy. And let’s imagine that said folk singer, not being an expert at [...]

Dreaming of a White Jesus (and a Real Santa): Reflections on Conservative Derangement

To be perfectly honest, I find it quite shocking that anyone would be, well, shocked, by Megyn Kelly’s recent insistence on her FOX show that Santa Claus and Jesus are both white men, or even — and perhaps this is the bigger point — that Santa Claus is real. After all, when one works for [...]

For Their Own Good? Contempt, Compassion, and the Conceits of Class Status

I’ve always been wary of those who insisted they were doing something — especially something harsh and perhaps hurtful — for the good of the person who has to bear the potential injury. When a parent swears to their child that the spanking they intend to shortly administer is “going to hurt me more than [...]

Health Care, Government Shutdown and the Evil of Conservatism

I really can’t figure out what is so hard about this. For Republicans to shut down the government — to cause real pain to hundreds of thousands of families whose members work for various government agencies, and who will now be furloughed, as if they don’t matter, because, ya know, they aren’t hedge fund managers [...]

Deflecting the Dream: Right Wing Lies About Black America (and the Facts to Counter Them)

As we reflect on this past week’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, hearing the guttural effluent spewing from the mouths of America’s right-wing makes it clear where they would have stood — and where most of their ideological forbears did — a half century ago. Just as the nation’s most [...]

The Week in White Deviance, Week 3 (Or, For the Love of God, White People, Get it Together!)

I know, I know. I’m a few days late with my third installment of “The Week in White Deviance,” but never fear, my tardiness is hardly related to a lack of compelling material. Oh no, there’s plenty of evidence yet again this week that white culture, the white family, and perhaps even white America, writ [...]