The dark rigidity of fundamentalist rural America

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  • #25264
    Vitalogy
    Participant

    I grew up in rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters. I camped, hunted, and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have also watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a broken down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why.

    In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

    A very good article. Couldn’t agree more.

    #25266
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    My later high school experience is quite comical, in retrospect. I had funny hair. I poked fun at what I perceived as the Southern notions of conformity. I did not talk with their accent. I did not go to their church. I did not profess their beliefs. I looked down upon the sports/farm machismo that was prevalent. I was not welcome to date the “calico skirted” girls.

    #25269

    This is also from the article:

    “Another problem with rural, Christian, white Americans is they are racists. I’m not talking about white hood-wearing, cross-burning, lynching racists (though some are). I’m talking about people who deep down in their heart of hearts truly believe they are superior because they are white. Their white God made them in his image and everyone else is a less-than-perfect version, flawed and cursed.

    The religion in which I was raised taught this. Even though they’ve backtracked on some of their more racist declarations, many still believe the original claims. Non-whites are the color they are because of their sins, or at least the sins of their ancestors. Blacks don’t have dark skin because of where they lived and evolution; they have dark skin because they are cursed. God cursed them for a reason. If God cursed them, treating them as equals would be going against God’s will. It is really easy to justify treating people differently if they are cursed by God and will never be as good as you no matter what they do because of some predetermined status.”

    LOL

    #25270
    Vitalogy
    Participant

    Nothing to laugh at, it’s the sorry truth. The only thing that separates you from rural America types is geography.

    #25271
    edselehr
    Participant

    Trump says he’s rich, and his wealth is his primary qualification to be president, The world says “prove it, show us your tax returns”, and Trump says no, take my word for it. And that’s okay to most Trump supporters.

    Obama says he’s American, born in America and constitutionally qualified to be president, and the world believes him – except teabaggers and Trump supporters, who insist he is Kenyan and demand he show his birth certificate. So Obama shows his birth certificates – long and short forms – and his birth announcement in Hawaiian newspapers. That’s *not* okay to Trump (up until recently) and his supporters, who continue to claim he is a Kenyan, and a Muslim, and not deserving of the presidency.

    Bacon, that’s the most obvious example of the baked-in racism of the average Trump supporter. These people aren’t wearing white hoods and burning crosses. But they inherently doubt and distrust those of color, and inherently trust and believe in white people – especially white men.

    #25273
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    In the place where I attended high school, the racism was not always overt. However, I think that in a number of my classmates’ families, it would have been highly taboo to marry somebody of a different race simply because the the children would have ended up looking different than their grandparents.

    #25281
    LurkingGrendel
    Participant

    Pope Bacon guffaws at, literal, racist thought that was a part of the doctrinal teachings of several major religions as if it were not both entirely accurate and easily verifiable with a modicum of research. Because of course he does.

    Trump supporters will continue to deny the undeniable, and the rest of us will continue to point out the disturbing facts to the contrary which (should) give anyone serious pause regardless of their political affiliation.

    For me the bottom line is, and I fervently believe this to be truthful and accurate and can readily factually support the following assertions, whether or not you (or anyone) is personally a racist or a bigot or or whatever other noxious ism happens to be under discussion is in a very real way irrelevant to the macro discussion. Because, Trump is.

    Or at the very least, he’s engaged in speech that is inarguably of that characterization for his own cynical and self-centered ends. He’s now surrounding himself with a number of people with similarly extreme viewpoints and those appointments have been loudly celebrated by some of the most hateful organizations you could name including a slew of racist, white nationalist groups. These are facts. They’re not invented by his political opposition or the nefarious “media”.

    (Oh, you nefarious media! What with reporting the words that actually come out of Donald J Trump’s mouth and with reporting actual words and actions in context of many of his supporters. How unfair!)

    This is not normal. You, literally, have to go back to the pre-Civil War era to find this level of extreme, racist and/or bigoted rhetoric and actions assigned to high level government officials. Ignoring these developments or finding tortured partisan rationalizations to excuse the situation in no way changes their both precedent shattering and extraordinarily alarming nature. Denying it only betrays one’s own ignorance or tacit acceptance. There’s no real middle ground there.

    Sidebar: As recently as yesterday Donald Trump was yet again tweeting out fascist thoughts under the guise if patriotic authoritarianism. I won’t get into here in this thread, but in essence he’s now of the opinion that attacking the 1st amendment and assaulting multiple articles in the U.S. Constitution and several Supreme Court decisions affirming everything from protected versions of free speech and prohibitions regarding abridging U.S. citizenship might be a neat idea.

    If, as some allege, he’s per the usual simply being a provocative buffoon to troll the media into debating this latest bit of insanity as opposed to delving more deeply into the already serious ethical concerns and conflicts of interest his actions are creating, that too is deeply alarming. He’s in the process of turning the most powerful office in the world into a reality show/money making scam.

    If you supported him, even if your reasons for doing so (in your own mind) have nothing at all do with these very troubling words and actions with significant racist and bigoted overtones, (or simply authoritarian and demagogic) you’ve by proxy both supporting and enabling them. It’s the same thing.

    He’s not a Republican. He’s not a conservative. There’s any number of historical precedents that clearly illustrate the kind of “leader” Donald J Trump is. He’s no-one I want to trust or follow. He’s not yet earned any goodwill or trust from any of those whom did not vote for him; and seemingly by the day simply creates even more misgivings if not outright fear by his words and actions.

    I’m embarrassed for our country and ashamed at the wave of hateful rhetoric and actions (undertaken by a relative few, while the sympathetic minded majority simply stand by and either ignore it’s occurring or deny it’s occurring) that I fear portend dark, and literally dangerous, times ahead.

    I’d love to be wrong.

    #25282

    “Non-whites are the color they are because of their sins, or at least the sins of their ancestors. Blacks don’t have dark skin because of where they lived and evolution; they have dark skin because they are cursed.”

    Written by someone who claims to know and understand “rural America.” Of course I ridicule it. Who wouldn’t? It’s a lie.

    If anyone believes this, they are members of an extremist cult. Maybe some Mormons or other sects believed this at one time. But it’s not taught by mainstream Christianity and certainly was never a position taken by the universal Church.

    #25283
    Vitalogy
    Participant

    Yes, they ARE members of an extremist cult. They are called Christians!

    #25284
    mwdxer1
    Participant

    I do not call these Right Winged Racist’s, Christian. I am a Christian, but have also treated all people alike. There is a huge difference between the Religious Right Winged type and the moderate to liberal Christian. I tell these Homophobic, racist types that are always spouting Bible verses to go back and read the life of Christ. If they really want to carry the name “Christian”, then believe in it and live it.

    #25285
    LurkingGrendel
    Participant

    Ignore, ignore, ignore. Deny, deny, deny.

    #25286
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    According to Wikipedia, 87.9% of Mexicans are Christian.

    #25287
    Langston
    Participant

    True Christians know the difference between the Old and New Testaments. If you do not act like a Christian, you are not a Christian.

    #25288
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    The real message in the O.P. is this:

    “The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. “

    I think that short but highly accurate description applies to bacon, a follower and believer in the 19th century emotional artifacts that uneducated people still cling to.

    #25296

    I’ve never seen a bubble like the the one the liberals and the liberal media were living in the months before the election. They are still shell-shocked since the great burst.

    Want some examples of very smart people who stopped up their ears to any possibility that Trump would win because all they listened to was the liberal media and liberal friends and contacts to the exclusion of common sense coming from outside their bubble? They are replete on this board.

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