It’s Pride Week. It’s also been a little over two years since the June 26, 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex “marriage” the law of the land. The newly “found” right to marry for same-sex couples was and still is much ballyhooed by members of the left as a landmark advance in civil rights and a natural successor to the 1960s civil rights movement, especially Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the nation’s anti-miscegenation laws.
This comparison to Loving v. Virginia, although rhetorically potent, I never found very logically compelling as an argument for “marriage equality,” even though it was bandied about as such. Arguments from analogy rise and fall with how close are the two objects of comparison in regard to the purported area of shared similarity. And the comparison between state prohibitions on same-sex marriage in the 21st century marriage and the state prohibitions on miscegenation or interracial marriage in the 20th century have a massive dissimilarity.
Once miscegenation is broken down into its constituent Latin parts, miscere (to mix) and genus (kind, often referring to race), it becomes obvious the analogy is not at all apt. How is the union of two men or two women any sort of mixing of two different kinds or two different races? Unlike the union of a man or woman of different races, there will be never a be a resulting genetic blending of parents or mixing of kinds as embodied in a mixed-race child in a same-sex union regardless of the race of its participants.
Indeed, the racist program of Jim Crow segregation would have been harder and harder to uphold the more the blacks and whites of the South intermarried. For it to have worked, the races being separated had to be clearly defined from one another. Miscegenation, as found in interracial marriage, would have blurred those lines in successive generations. White and black would have become more difficult genetically and normatively to differentiate and thereby segregate.
So in referencing anti-miscegenation laws in their argument for same-sex marriage, leftists at least unintentionally alluded to the thing they routinely were denying as essential to marriage, its natural fecundity as an institution.
It might be objected however that procreation wasn’t the point of citing Loving v. Virginia. Rather, it was an unconstitutional and unjust case about persons who were permitted to marry their beloved because of institutionalized prejudice and hate. The comparison is between two types of relationship that weren’t recognized as equal in their times. The stigma for Adam and Steve and Lillith and Eve is very similar the plight of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving.
The hangup with a response like this one is that it begs the question and defames the opposition as bigoted without addressing its pivotal claims in its central arguments. By alleging a discrepancy about who can marry whom, same-sex marriage advocates assume a view of marriage which is the very thesis under dispute. The debate was and is about what is marriage. That is the fundamental question for the issue in which conservatives comes down on the side that claims same-sex marriage is a contradiction in terms. It’s metaphysically impossible in the same manner a four-sided triangle is. Moreover, there is no breach in logical propriety for the conservative to approve of Loving and disapprove of Obergefell. The former dealt with legislation that unjustly discriminated on the basis of race, which is accidental to what marriage is, while the latter centered on legislation that prudently discriminated on the basis of sex, which is essential to what marriage is. Once again, the analogy breaks down. Referring to miscegenation as an example is something to be cautious or even avoided for the left.
Interestingly enough, there are some leftists who recognize miscegenation as problematic for their social agendas. In the Wikipedia article for miscegenation, the first sentence of the “Usage” section reads, “In the present day, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a concrete biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships.”
The political correctness revealed by this quote is worth exploring. Leftists like to reject that there biologically is something called race. If I’m gleaning correctly the underlying reasoning behind this self-censure, miscegenation, as a mixing of kinds, implies there is something substantively biological and real about race. Ideologically speaking, this conclusion is unpalatable for the left, so race has to be rendered an “imposed categorization” like how nowadays sex is “assigned” at birth.
Yes, as just implied, this injunction should include sex, often obfuscated as gender, as part of their justification for refraining to use the word. After all, miscegenation cuts two ways: It not only intimates a mixing of racial kinds but sexual kinds as a “concrete biological phenomenon” as well (Whether these implications of the left’s thought have caught up with it fads remains to be seen). But in post-Loving and now post-Obergefell world, for the leftist, such kinds and their mixing have to be downplayed and or denied for an anti-essentialist, subjective social constructivism to undermine any movement that might invoke racial or sexual difference to justify what is perceived as domination by one group of people against another; there is nothing objective or real about either here — just arbitrary boxes that enable the mistreatment of those whom don’t fit neatly within them by those who do.
Yet the mulatto has something to say about this type of argument. Clearly, a child with black and white parents inherited a mix of some biological characteristics from both of them that it otherwise would not have had if they instead were either both black or white. For example, its melanin levels are greater than what’s typically found in people of Caucasian descent but generally less than those whose ancestors came from Africa. The child’s and the parents’ genes objectively show this to be true, suggesting that race is not merely a function of social attitudes or norms but also involves to some degree a correlation of genotypes and phenotypes that constitute differing objective kinds.
But the mulatto doesn’t only represent a mixing of races. It’s existence also depends on a mixing of sexes. A mulatto not only has interracial parents; it either has a black father and white mother or vice versa. Humans don’t reproduce asexually. Procreation between sexes must occur. Thus, for there to be a mixing of races, there must also be a mixing of sexes, of male and female. And although the mulatto isn’t a blended sex between male and female, as it is with black and white skin color, genes once exclusive to its male and female parents now take up co-residence within its own chromosomes. Most importantly though, this only could have come about if there was a mixing of male and female within the embrace of coitus.
Like race, sex seems to be a real category of being that isn’t purely determined by relative social whims. It and race, if not exhausted by objective features of the world, are at least significantly grounded in them even if leftists deign them not to be.
So the mulatto is quite the problem child for the left. It implicates an ontological briar patch within which the left’s agents are caught. They dismiss realism for its rigidity but want to retain that same hardness granted by its entailed objectivity by which to bludgeon enemies. In other words, they deny the reality of race and sex but still want to “have conversations,” normative ones, about the reality of race and sex.
Of course, they mean “reality” differently here, a socially constructed reality that can both be objectively referred to but still change for the better, perhaps something akin to a Hegelian master/bondsman dialectic. Just substitute “white” or “male” for “master” and “black” or “female” for “bondsperson,” etc. (let’s be inclusive after all).
But many critical race and gender theory proponents tend not to be committed dialectical thinkers. Sure, they’ll attempt to contextualize, for example, blacks and whites in terms of one another, each group mediating the experience and welfare of the other through history. However, they also like to posit race, gender or the like as properly basic; that, blackness, brownness, femininity, homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. serve not only as an epistemic but also ontological first principle. Indeed, often in their discourse that’s reflected through their conduct, they absolutize the alleged unjust relations in the present and reify these social categories. Blackness and whiteness, masculinity and femininity start to become objective things. Not physical, biologically reducible things, as a scientifically-informed realism holds, but abstract — in the Hegelian/Marxist sense — objects that are treated as if having value in them of themselves, among other apparent illusory qualities and capacities, that obscure the comprehensiveness of society and stymie legitimate progress. In this case, most notably though not exclusively, being black, female, homosexual, and or transgender becomes inherently superior to their oppressive white, male, heterosexual, or cisgender counterparts in a similar manner to the way realism, especially the social Darwinist, positivist version, promoted white supremacy and hatred against those deemed inferior.
Consider for a moment the reaction of the Huffington Post’s La Sha to the tragic death of Otto Warmbier. Observe the sentiments of Nicole Valentine and her solution to the white family, the purported source of society’s ills, which eerily ring similar to Margaret Sanger’s about non-white people. La Sha and Valentine are the same sort of visionaries who demand to segregate “people of color” from whites, deny people the right to free speech and or due process based on their skin color and sex, refuse to hire people due to their race and or sex, and impose ideological indoctrination to proliferate and ensure the continuation of these practices.
Social Darwinist, eugenicist or social constructionist, I fail to see much difference from the prejudiced ideologues of the last century and the ones of today. They’re both irrational, prejudiced, oppressive, and “vulgar,” to borrow a word the social justice left’s forefathers ascribed to another group of leftists who failed to remain “critical,” and so the story goes and history shows, didn’t nearly have enough borscht to go around in their supposed egalitarian paradise.
So why not call the social justice left what it is — a malevolent pack of racists, bigots and haters, who are effectively, and I’d argued inexorably, the very menace they claim to overthrow?
- Some Musings on Miscegenation, Marriage, Mulattoes, Race and Sex - June 28, 2017
- Roger Scruton chats with James Delingpole of Breitbart - June 23, 2017
- On Deadnaming and the Hypatia Debacle - May 9, 2017
- Freedom of Expression and Ulrich Baer: A Case Study in Leftist Mendacity - May 2, 2017
- After Veritas: Why journalists are so poor at their jobs, part 1 - March 28, 2017
- The Curious Case of the Christian Abortion Cake - March 4, 2017
- Je suis Jordan Peterson! - December 4, 2016
- Trick or Treat: Social Justice Warrior as Constant Cultural Appropriator - October 31, 2016