Monday, May 13, 2013

Mormon Female Equality: "Privilege" Doctrine Stereotypes Groups, Promotes Class Warfare, Induces False Guilt, And Discourages Personal Responsibility

An interesting post entitled "Getting at the Heart of the Female Equality Debate" was published on New Cool Thang on May 11th, 2013. In his post, DavidF identifies three categories of equality central to the equality debate with LDS ranks: Responsibility Equality, Recognition Equality, and Theology Equality. His conclusion is that while there is theological equality, there is a certain amount of responsibility inequality, and an even more pronounced recognition inequality, where in the latter, young men get more public recognition in church for their accomplishments than young women. DavidF chooses to defer judgment on these equalities for a future post.

But what's just as interesting is the old "privilege" arguments that break out in the comments section. It starts with this comment:

Comment by Howard — May 12, 2013 @ 8:22 am:
Men and women are different. Women and men are the same. Both statements are true! The simplified model I like to use to visualize this is a male bell curve and a female bell curve. These curves overlap arguing sameness but this also means there are areas of non-overlap arguing differences. The overlapping curves also account for reversed traditional role relationships.

Defining equality isn’t necessary to see that women are clearly one down in church practice or that there is a pecking order to women’s roles with SAHM on top just under married men, and it cascades downward to include working mothers, single mothers, never marrieds etc.

Chances are if you’re in a faithful SAHM marriage you’ll have a lot of trouble appreciating the position of single women in the church and the fact that a woman prayed in GC for the first time in 182 years won’t carry much meaning for you because privilege bias tends to eclipse empathy and because when the brethren speak there’s nothing more to consider.

In response to a comment by Naismith protesting that the "privilege" argument is a stereotype, Howard posts this response:

Comment by Howard — May 13, 2013 @ 11:32 am:
In order to see my observations and those of others simply compare your SAHM church status (past or present, it doesn’t matter) with that of a never married women. Your preferred parking spot is literally any chair you choose in any meeting you attend. Why? Because an overwhelming number of lessons and talks are geared to and will speak to and revere your role (past or present) as a SAHM and only a tiny portion of a few lessons or talks will even mention her situation let alone offer something that will positively resonate with her. Not only is she left out, but due to her faith in the gospel she is compelled to painfully sit through the reality of her less than SAHM position reenforced over and over by the church and church members she otherwise loves.

(Still haven’t figured out what that so-called privilege does for one…) It provides a comforting high status social position in an exclusive club and the fact that you cannot see that speaks to my original comment.

There are four distinct problems with "privilege" doctrine:

(1). Privilege doctrine promotes profiling and stereotyping: All members of a particular class are presumed to be equally privileged simply because of who they are, regardless of any other differentiating circumstances. This is no different -- and no less destructive -- than presuming that all Blacks are lazy, all Latinos are illegal immigrants, or all Polynesians are temperamental. Furthermore, proponents of "privilege" doctrine try to quash debate by claiming that many of them are "unaware" of their privilege. This runs contrary to the spirit and intent of the Second Article of Faith, which implies that a man is not responsible for any sins that he doesn't personally commit.

Male privilege? I see males standing on street corners throughout Anchorage holding up signs that say "Will Work For Food". They don't strike me as being very "privileged". If that's "privilege", then I am profoundly grateful I don't enjoy that "privilege", and instead am "cursed" with the disadvantages of a roof over my head, food in my belly, and a steady income.

(2). Privilege doctrine promotes class warfare. Those subject to an endless barrage of privilege propaganda who are not a part of the "privileged" group will begin to feel resentment toward those who are part of the group. Left unchecked, it can lead to vigilantiism, vengeance, and full-blown genocide. In Nazi Germany, Jews were presented as being "privileged", but not only did the National Socialist government fail to stop it, they poured gasoline on the fire through staged events such as "Kristallnacht". The Holocaust was the end result. In the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin targeted the "kulaks" as a privileged group; the Holodomor was the result. The genocides in Rwanda and Burundi were also fueled by one group of people believing the other group was "privileged". While the vast majority of privilege proponents do not desire the genocide of a privileged group, once you set these types of events in motion, they tend to run their course.

(3). Privilege doctrine induces false guilt. Many of those in a privileged group take offense to being told they are "privileged" despite other variations. As a result, they begin to feel guilty about their so-called "advantages". But this is a false guilt, because it is guilt over who they are rather than what they've done. And this attracts the attention of Satan and his hosts, who exploit this vulnerability as an opportunity to make people even more miserable. "Privilege" doctrine resulted in the civil rights movement being hijacked and steered away from equality, and more in the direction of identity-based spoils system which promote identity at the expense of merit. An example of this is in the U.S. Air Force, where in order to maintain the "right" number of females, the physical fitness tests for females are less stringent than those for males, although males and females perform the same missions.

(4). Privilege doctrine discourages personal responsibility. When non-privileged groups are constantly subjected to a barrage of privilege propaganda, they begin to conclude they are not responsible for their personal situation. They will start blaming their problems on "The Man" or "ZOG", even if they are still in control of their own destinies.

Proponents of privilege doctrine like to cite economic statistics showing that Whites and males make more money to "prove" their points. But what they are citing is correlation, and correlation doesn't always constitute proof. The bottom line: Privilege doctrine is based upon assumptions; there are no objective or empirical smoking guns showing proof beyond reasonable doubt that all males are privileged or all Whites are privileged. Privilege doctrine runs counter to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Galatians 3:28 states, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all bone in Christ Jesus".

This does not mean individual identity is not important. It simply means that to effectively mirror Jesus Christ, we must consider individual identity to be secondary in importance to common identity in the Gospel.

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