6 thoughts on “Anti-Mormon prejudice

  1. Of course it is not “just like” racism. Nor is sexism or homophobia “just like” racism.

    I’m a little worried about the tone of the salon article though. It seems you could stick in “gay” for “Mormon” at every point in the article and the factual claims would still be true–i.e. no history of gay enslavement in the U.S., gay people can easily “hide” their sexuality and so blend in with straight people if they want to, gay people don’t appear to face systematic poverty and at least some social science research claims they may have a higher socioeconomic class on average than straight people. And I’d have to check unemployment rates, but I have no doubt that the gay unemployment rate is not nearly as high as the black unemployment rate–particularly if the socioeconomic claims are true. (No doubt we could also stick in anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim prejudice as well and also get the same outcome.)

    Can we conclude therefore that discrimination against gays is “mild” or not a “constituting fact” of American life? Absolutely not. Homophobia and heterosexism invade virtually every major American institution and structure all sorts of aspects of lgbt people’s lives.

    So it seems to me the approach of the article is faulty. It presents the situation as if either a certain kind of prejudice/discrimination is “just like” anti-black racism OR it is merely “mild” and so not very important at all.

    Note, I don’t mean here to claim that anti-Mormon prejudice is like homophobia or that anti-Mormon prejudice is a “constituting fact” of American life. I just mean to point out that one cannot conclude that any kind of prejudice/discrimination is “mild” or otherwise not important (as the tone of the article seems to imply in my opinion) just because it does not have severe economic consequences and because the group at issue is not marked by the color of their skin as different.

  2. Anti-black racism is to some extent rooted in the belief that blacks are genetically inferior to whites or more precisely, the black race is inferior to the white race. Biological determinism is the underpinning concept of racism according to its original definition. According to racism ideology, the 15 point IQ gap between black and white Americans is the result of biology. Racist ideology is less able to explain the 15 point IQ gap between black Americans and Africans. The fact that many black Americans have some European ancestry is not sufficient to explain this.

  3. That Mormons believe they are the superior belief, there is a sense of exclusivity in their interactions with those who differ. I grew up in Utah as a non-Mormon. As I suffered the brunt of this, I was able to understand their collective “othering ” first-hand.

  4. No the issue for Mormonism is largely sociological-political, and time indexed for cultural influence. Look at Scientology. It is a recent faith-based mythology that quickly and cannily understood the demographics of clarity of message and the power of financial advantage, and capitalized on both. Mormonism didn’t have the advantages of modern media to begin with, but understood the power of influence in local politics and the power of a stable social family-based message (and institutional monetary muscle) to make its points. And Mormonism is almost singular in its ability to present two faces: a public one that is entirely family friendly, and a subdued one to its adherents that conceals its more obscure theology that in fact is irreconcilable with orthodox Christian dogma. (Scientology got that message: your public face is Tom Cruise on his best days; your private one is leveraging Thetan manuscripts, auditing, real estate, etc. for huge profits.) Why is The Book of Mormon a popular play? The enormous ironies of its idiocy and success?

    The fact is that successful religions over time inculcate social streams of normalcy that legitimize their claims however irrational. They then attach themselves to more rational claims of autonomy (etc.) just for
    perservering in the frame of history.

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