RACISM part three – polygamy, anyone?

Published March 21, 2021 by Nan Mykel

I don’t know what to make of this,  so I’d like to hear from you.  I know the topic is not literally about racism, but it could be about prejudice.  How do prejudice and discrimination interface?  I’m referring to the topic introduced in the newyorker.com, “How polyamorous and polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms.”

Whew!  If it’s not one thing it’s another.  I know I have a teeny bit of prejudice against exclusive hedonists and criminals and prejudiced people,,  but the idea of welcoming multi-wife enclaves into our neighborhoods makes me almost blow my cool.  Why?  And would that make my feelings into prejudice, if it isn’t already?  Is my tensed  stomach at the idea a sign of prejudice?

True I can support gays and transgenders and almost drag queens  and maybe careful and strong self-disciplined drug users,  and am not too judgmental about the polyamorous, but something about polygamy feels like it’s stirring my prejudice.  —I guess that means I…what?  I don’t know what.  There is a difference between what could be changed and what cannot.  I understand that sexual gender and orientation cannot basically be changed (after the change).  Race cannot normally be changed (although I want to read that novel where two twins of color decide differently–one to pass, the other not.)

Although they (we) would protest, political partisans could theoretically change, as possibly misogynists could.   Is it still prejudice even if one can choose the category?.  If I turned away a neighbor polygamous wife who asks for a cup of flour at my door, I guess that would be prejudice.  But if I turned away a similar request from a wife and child beater, then what?  And does it make any difference what I call my attitude and behavior towards different groups of different folks?

Fear’s ghost wanders through some of these topics.  I know my deeply held longing for one on one bonding with another is threatened by the idea of polygamy,  as unconscious fear underlies my feelings toward black men.  But I don’t encounter many if any situations where prejudice is elicited.  I vote right and act right, even if my fears are not completely eradicated.



12 comments on “RACISM part three – polygamy, anyone?

  • Prejudice means to pre-judge. If you dislike someone or something because of its color, size, gender etc, you are pretty-judging. If you take away their rights, ie refuse to let them move into your neighborhood, you are discriminating-it’s more than prejudice. And racism is discrimination against those of different cultures, skin colors etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder where learned (Pavlovian) fear comes in? Is pre-judging a wife and child beater prejudice? So I guess I am prejudiced against polygynous folk, tho I wouldn’t vote against them and hope I wouldn’t gossip about them, but just silently pre-judge them…I come near hating Republicans and I would (do) vote against them, and I come very near pre-judging them. Either this is a multifaceted topic or I’m being stubbornly picky. And I also think of the following re-blog…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is multi-faceted topic. You have valid reasons for not liking GOP, wife beater etc. maybe you don’t like polygamy but those who practice May be very nice people.
        We are taught racism from the time we are born. Not usually directly, but in how society treats and acts toward people that are of a different culture or race.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I fear that humankind may never overcome the bigotry within, especially in regards to the superficial.
        Although research reveals infants demonstrate a preference for caregivers of their own race, any future racial biases and bigotries generally are environmentally acquired. (Adult racist sentiments are often cemented by a misguided yet strong sense of entitlement, perhaps also acquired from one’s environment.)
        One means of proactively preventing this social/societal problem may be by allowing young children to become accustomed to other races in a harmoniously positive manner.
        At a very young and therefore impressionable age, I was emphatically told by my mother (who’s of Eastern European heritage) about the exceptionally kind and caring nature of our Black family doctor. She never had anything disdainful to say about people of color; in fact she loves to watch/listen to the Middle Eastern and Indian subcontinental dancers and musicians on the multicultural channels.
        I believe this had a notably positive effect upon me.
        Had she (for whatever reason) told me the opposite about the doctor, however, I could have aged while blindly linking his color with an unjustly cynical view of him and, eventually, all Black people.
        Therefore, essentially by chance, I reached adulthood unstricken by uncontrolled feelings of racial contempt seeking expression.
        Not as lucky, some people—who may now hold an authoritative, and even armed, position—were raised with a distrust or blind dislike of other racial groups.
        The first step towards changing our irrationally biased thinking can be our awareness of it and its origin. But until then, I believe, such biased sentiments should either be kept to oneself or counselled, especially when considering the mentality is easily inflamed by anger.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Well, poly-amory is a difficult topic. I had friends in DC who were poly, and the constant drama and their denial that they were hurting each other hurt me, and eventually mostly ended the friendships, after about 20 years, because I kept telling them that yes, they were in fact doing harm, despite being “consenting adults,” and they kept taking that as an insult. I clearly had no pre-judgements, but after observing over a long period of time, I could no longer hold my silence when they talked about “playing,” especially inviting me just in case I was ever interested, knowing that a particular friend was both attractive and tempting, but also knowing that for her, this is not a serious commitment.

    While polygamy may be serious and committed, it merely reconstitutes and continues the same patriarchal harem system of one man with many wives, which some might argue is a benefit for the wives if the husband is wealthy, others may argue that it prevents women from gaining financial and other types (psychological, etc) independence from men.
    I imagine that they can share chores, help each other raise children, etc, but the reality of harem life (because that is really what it is, frankly) has always been that wives and/or concubines are always jealous of each other’s place in the pecking order, because with any group of people, however steadfastly they claim to be egalitarian, there is a pecking order. I’ve been bullied in too many “intentional communities” that were supposed to be safe spaces to continue to be naive about human nature.


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