Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bigotry is Pervasive in our Society

Bigotry is so pervasive in our society that even some "good" people may not realize they are bigots.

Heck, just look at the recent flap over the Sesame Street petition to have Bert and Ernie be gay. I saw many people saying "no" because gay sex or the gay "agenda" shouldn't be promoted on a kids' educational show.

However, the show features couples, and the store owner is married. Showing straight couples but refusing to show gay couples is simple bigotry, no matter how you dress it up.

It's important because if more kids see a gay couple on Sesame Street, then maybe those few kids who turn out to be gay later won't feel odd about themselves and commit suicide. Likewise, maybe they'll get bullied less.

I'm sure that decades ago, people would've been upset about showing an interracial couple on TV. Heck, a Louisiana justice refused to marry an interracial couple in October of 2009.

Sesame Street responded to all of this by saying they are puppets and don't have a gender. I don't buy that. How do you explain Kermit and Miss Piggy? I know that's The Muppet Show, not Sesame Street, but they're both Jim Henson puppets. The Sesame Street response also doesn't say why Bert and Ernie couldn't be a genderless couple. There's also the fact that there have been numerous puppet families and couples in numerous sketches (Oscar's girlfriend Grundgetta, the Count's Countesses, The Twiddlebugs). Sesame Street's response is simply dishonest.

While I wouldn't say it's bigotry to not want to have Bert and Ernie be a gay couple, it is if that response also includes not wanting any human gay couples or gay couples involving different puppet characters.

The evidence shows that being gay, straight, or bisexual isn't a choice; therefore, singling out gay couples is the same as singling out interracial couples. However, the whole "it's a choice" argument is really a red herring. It's entirely possible to be bigoted against a lifestyle.

It's time to recognize and end the bigotry whether it stems from religion, homophobia, or feeling insecure in one's heterosexuality.

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