Why Assume Racism?

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I am very pleased that the PHX Mosque rally did not result in any violence or destruction.  This is how free speech SHOULD happen–two sides who disagree stand up for their beliefs, no violence occurs, nothing is burned or looted, and everyone goes home.  There are reports that the organizer of the rally is going into hiding, which would be a shame.  You need not agree with him–and I don’t agree with picketing a place of worship because some of it’s members turn out to be terrorist assholes–to believe (as I do!) that he has every right to express his beliefs and join with others to protest whatever he sees fit.

There’s something that’s really annoying me about the reaction to this rally, though, and that’s the racism angle that some people insist on picking up.  Some of the people at the rally were armed.  They (unlike the two now-deceased congregants of the mosque) did not attempt to shoot anyone.  They were peacefully exercising both 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, and I suppose they might have been prepared to defend their fellow protesters should the unthinkable have occurred.  But of course some people had to start in with saying that if the majority of the protesters had been black and armed instead of white and armed, the police would have tear gassed them, or shot them, or the media would be calling them thugs, or whatever.  (The recent examples of police action and media criticism against predominantly black crowds have not, of course, involved peaceful, armed protesters, but rather violent but mostly unarmed ones).

I have run into a similar phenomenon before, when I have expressed support for gun rights, and somebody has asked “Well, what if it was BLACK MEN carrying guns?  How would you feel then?”

Seriously, what kind of dumbass questions is that?  I absolutely, adamantly support the right of black men, black women, transgender Latino/as, lesbian Asians, gay Siberians, gender-fluid Tongans, Muslims, Jews, Yazidis, atheists, Mormons, and also WASPy cismales to carry guns, knives, kubatons, tactical pens, and rape whistles, for personal protection, or because they’re compensating for something, or because they promised their dying mothers they would. If you have a violent criminal history or criminal intent, I’m happy to see you arrested for carrying weapons, but otherwise what you carry and where you carry it is none of my business (unless you want to buy stuff from me, then it becomes my business.)

I don’t understand why anyone would assume any different.  Yet it is very common for people to think that if a white man (me) says he supports gun rights, he somehow means to limit that to only white men with guns, and they can trap me by asking about other races.  What a bunch of crap. I get the feeling that people who make that assumption do so because THEY don’t mean it.  They’re happy to treat white men or gun owners or Christians poorly based on how they look or what they believe, so they assume I’m the same.  I AM NOT.  When I say I support “rights,” I mean for EVERYONE.  Free speech, freedom of religion, self-defense, privacy, and equal treatment under the law.  For everyone. This is not hard to understand.

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