After the senseless killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Central Florida, some black people were incensed enough by the prospect of their own progeny being gunned down for walking through a residential neighborhood while black that they revealed the existence of “The Talk” — a conversation they have with their youngsters to help the kids avoid Trayvon’s fate. This didn’t set well with certain white grievance mongers.
After breakfasting on “Birth of a Nation,” masticating The Bell Curve and washing it all down with a 151-proof bottle of Ye Olde Imperial Wizard, NRO’s resident white supremacist, John Derbyshire, vomited up a screed in the guise of his own version of “The Talk,” which ABL eviscerated here. Derbyshire’s column on “The Talk” was overt enough in its racism to attract condemnation from “conservatives” who prefer dog whistles to white linens, a dishonesty that Freddie deBoer ably vaporized here.
I can now reveal the existence of yet another version of “The Talk” — this one a heart-to-heart we liberal white women who are raising daughters in Dixie have to help our children navigate life among ignorant bigots, religious fanatics and Derbyshire-class assholes in the rural South:
1) Some 41% of our fellow Americans identify as “conservative;” this is why we can’t have nice things. By “nice things,” I mean things like universal health care, marriage equality and a sane foreign policy. “Conservatives” believe despite all evidence to the contrary that it makes more sense to invade foreign countries, kill tens of thousands of people and spend trillions of dollars in a fruitless effort to convert Baghdad and Kabul into Arlington, Virginia than it does to ensure that American families aren’t one diagnosis away from medical bankruptcy and homelessness.
2) Despite the fact that “conservatives” and “Christians” have dominated civic life in America for centuries and even today ritualistically require candidates for practically any elected office to declare fealty to Jesus, “conservatives” always behave as though they are the victims of anti-religious bigotry. Even though your entire holiday choir program was devoted to Christian-themed songs (well, I think they did the dreidel song too) and that you and your classmates are free to engage in private prayer the entire time you are at school, “conservatives” will insist that the country is going downhill because radical atheists gave Jesus the bum’s rush. You can point out reality and make enemies or privately roll your eyes. The result will be the same. This is what’s called “an article of faith.”
3) Being able to look down on gays makes “conservatives” feel better about their own dumb life choices and misery. That’s why your aunties can’t get married and enjoy the special tax treatment and societal status your father and I enjoy, even though they’ve been in a monogamous relationship for just as long.
4) About 100 million of our fellow Americans are Evangelical Christians. Since we live in a low-lying coastal region, you can thank the majority of that 100 million when the water comes lapping at your door due to climate change. Many Evangelical Christians are anti-science on numerous fronts. They are the reason that it was illegal for your science teacher to utter the word “evolution” in the classroom until 2008, and we can attribute the country’s decline in science education to their hysterical superstitions.
5) John Stuart Mill once said, “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.” This is very true. However, it is possible to find non-stupid conservative people (which I shall identify by the acronym NSCP), but the Law of Large Numbers dictates that if you find yourself at a NASCAR race, the taping of a Fox News program or the Republican National Convention, you should assume you are surrounded by heavily armed, ignorant yahoos (HAIYs) and comport yourself accordingly. The safest thing to do is to avoid all events likely to attract large numbers of HAIYs since you will be at risk of falling victim to accidental gunfire — even at church.
6) That said, I recommend making friends with an NSCP if you can find one. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of friendship, you can use your friendship with an NSCP as an amulet to ward away prospect-destroying accusations of elitism if you happen to be photographed engaging in activities like windsurfing, consuming mustard that is not bright yellow or eating lettuce of the non-iceberg variety.
I could go on, my precious child, but this is probably enough to see you safely through eighth grade. Next year we’ll have “The Talk” about how to deal with local men who rattle the ice cubes in their empty tea glass at you as a way to indicate that they’d like more tea. (The hedge clippers will play a key role in my recommended response.) Until then, let’s be a careful out there.