Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
This morning, Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend were the first couple to legally get married in the nation's capital. At 1 p.m. the pair was still giving interviews to the press outside the Human Rights Campaign building, fielding questions about who made Angelisa's dress (a friend who works at Howard University) and how they intended to celebrate (sleep). What struck me about them was how ordinarily they portrayed their lives -- and how meaningful it was to have their 12-year-long relationship "official." In a sense, that's been the goal of the gay-rights movement all along: to live ordinary lives with the implicit support of our communities behind us.
A recent analysis of religious attitudes by researchers at Duke, USC, and Augsburg College reaches the conclusion that religious people tend to be more racist -- and the more religious you are, the more racist you tend to be. It may come as no surprise that some Christians may not practice what they preach, but what is noteworthy about the study is that it draws a causal link between the structure of religious organizations and racism.
The authors note that religion promotes conformity and respect for tradition. Moreover, it tends to be practiced within race, promoting "in-group identity." Racist attitudes may emerge when "different others" appear to be in competition for resources.
Every year, thousands of high school students spend months focused on the art of self presentation. They cram for standardized tests, pen soul-baring essays, and join clubs to beef up their resumés. College applications force students into the daunting task of reducing their lives and accomplishments to a series of checkmarks, numbers, and writing prompts. For gay and lesbian students, the process is further fraught by the decision of whether to identify as gay -- and if so, how to indicate it on the application. Do you write your application essay about coming out? Or will admissions officers get the point if you list the Gay-Straight Alliance under your activities?
Democrats have long had trouble understanding why certain people who stand to benefit from the social safety net vote for Republicans. Many chock it up to "values" and identity interests trumping economics. Last year, Tom Jacobs at Alternetargued that conservatives live in a different "moral universe" from liberals, which makes them immune to liberal rhetoric.