Rod Dreher, Kim Davis and “Baltimore Thugs”…
Rod Dreher has been on a kick lately on the Kim Davis saga in Kentucky. His view is that Mrs. Davis is an unsympathetic figure who will wind up doing damage to Rod’s positions on religious privilege in America and his desire that Christians should be exempt from laws regarding customer accommodation and public facility use.
Today, he published a remarkable column at The American Conservative regarding the ‘optics’ of Mrs. Davis, her oddly clothed husband and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gathered onstage together in a combined political rally and evangelical prayer event.
For conservative Christians who don’t understand why we should care about the political effect of the Kim Davis debacle, and the optics of yesterday’s release rally, I want you to consider how it would appear to you if Hillary Clinton staged a rally against police brutality around the release from jail of a West Baltimore thug who had been roughed up by the cops as they were arresting him for shooting up a neighborhood. The gangster takes the stage to the sound of gangsta rap, wearing pants hanging off his butt, with cornrowed hair and covered in tattoos.
It could well be that Hillary’s principles were in order, and an important principle was at stake. But think of how the imagery of celebrating this guy like that would make you feel. How sympathetic would you be to the worthy cause of fighting police brutality after that display? If fighting police brutality means having to stand with a victim like that, would most people be more inclined to join the cause?
Rod has often evinced racial panic before. In fact, he is read/blogging the monstrously racist French novel The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail from 1973 concerning 3rd world hordes overrunning France (sort of a European version of the Turner Diaries without the machine guns.) However, he rarely gives the game away in quite such stark terms in which the scariest thing he can come up with for his ultra-conservative religious audience is an male African American wearing stereotypical urban fashion and who listens to rap music. He automatically assumes that the man has shot up a neighborhood and is a “thug”.
This is the picture he paints for his audience to persuade them of how Kim Davis supposedly looks to progressives: We probably see her just as he and his audience see a black man who lives in West Baltimore and wears typical urban clothing.
After being called for blatant racism on twitter, Rod complained that:
UPDATE: I could hardly ask for a more perfect vindication of my point about political symbolism than the Twitter storm by liberals who are ALL OFFENDED by my use of the stereotypical inner-city black man as a negative symbol in my example for right-wing readers.
As they say, the fish is unaware of the water in which it swims.