Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Conflicting stereotypes

The above video is of interest only because I was amused by the announcer's clear problem with stereotyping people. Worse for him, he had two conflicting stereotypes and didn't know how to resolve it. When you watch the video notice what happens.

A man shows up at a protest to Obama's attempts to grab more control over medicine in America. The man is carrying a rifle. Immediately at play with the media's mind is "right-wing crazy who hates Jesus Obama for wanting to heal the sick and raise the dead." Easy-peasy except for one conflicting stereotype. The man in question in black and the media just knows that black people all support Jesus Obama and worship the water he walks upon.

So, with both stereotypes running around in his little brain the announcer is trying to ask questions and make sense of it all. At one point the gun indicates to him that the man must be protesting Obama but then he focuses on the fact the man is black so he assumes he must be a "counter-protester" doing it because the anti-Obama crowd can carry weapons in Arizona.

I have no idea who the man is. I don't know what side he was on. I wouldn't hazard a guess. He could well be a black man who opposes Obama or a gun-owner who likes Obama. I neither know, nor care to know. But, since the media preaches against stereotyping (although only of some people) they certainly engage in it frequently, especially of anyone who they can't pigeon-hole into neat categories: us versus the evil.

By the way, while open carry doesn't offend me or worry me I do think showing up outside presidential rallies armed and showing is just stupid. It doesn't actually win anyone over to whatever viewpoint they are promoting. It just makes people look wacko. If I see people carrying a handgun I don't worry, certainly 99.999 per cent of the time I'm safer because they are nearby especially since I don't own a handgun myself. I benefit by the presence of peaceful citizens who are armed in my vicinity.

But this kind of thing doesn't carry out well when carried out in this sort of setting. It focuses the media which will engage in the usual stereotyping. And it doubly annoys me when libertarians engage in these sorts of stunts (and I have no information that the man is a libertarian but these days it doesn't appear to take much to qualify.) Such stunts generally make libertarians appear like buffoons. And I suspect the opponents of liberty enjoy every such image as it makes it easier for them to convince people to ignore liberty. That said, I was totally amused by a befuddled media clown tripping over his conflicting stereotypes.