Monday, December 27, 2010

Bears and racism (2)

Some people seem desperate to believe that the bear community is racist. For example, here we find a tortured analysis "proving" as much.

The author provides the following explanation for "[t]he whiteness of Bear culture," which, given my experience with D.C.'s bear community, I find to be screamingly question-begging. The author draws a link from bears to the teddy bear to Teddy Roosevelt to the "raced cultural dynamic that equates the return to nature with whiteness" supposedly represented by Roosevelt. That connection is so attenuated that it has snapped in two. I could use the same sort of reasoning to "prove" the following: The author has written the article in the Roman alphabet, which was originally developed for a patriarchal, slave-owning, imperialist society; therefore, the article implicitly endorses patriarchy, slavery, and imperialism.

We then read the following:
While many gay white men revel in their identification with the bear (this extends to purchasing Bear T-shirts, caps, vanity license plates, and other items of "Bearaphernalia"), men of color may be much less eager to do so, in light of historically racist comparisons between animals and people of color (Becker 1973; Plous and Williams 1995).
I guess that we are not supposed to notice either the speculation as to people's internal lives or the history of homophobic comparisons between gay men and animals, which would render the argument self-contradictory.

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