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OPINION: Tennessee politician embodies the homophobic and bigoted underbelly of America

Claudia Hernandez
File Photo

More sludge leaked to the surface from the dark crevices of homophobia and white supremacy Oct. 21 during a public meeting in Middle America.  

Warren Hurst, a county commissioner for Sevier County in Tennessee, spoke his twisted truth to aaudience that chillingly affirmed his delusions with an amen that echoed across the room. 

Hurst said that Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay man, running for president of the United States is “as ugly as you can get,” adding that “a white male in this country has very few rights and they’re getting took more every day. The bitter cherry topping off his rotten cake of abhorrence. 

You know you are a privileged white supremacist if you feel oppressed because politicians with diverse backgrounds are running for the highest office in the country: two black people, a Latino and a gay white man, just to name a few. 

You know you are a privileged white supremacist if you get angry at a Latina speaking Spanish in a McDonalds. 

You know you are a privileged white supremacist if you are the president of the United States and you compare an impeachment inquiry to a lynching. 

You know you are a privileged white supremacist if you feel victimized in a world that is gladly handing the short end of the stick to marginalized communities. 

The truth is, cisgender, heterosexual, white men like Hurst still bask in their privilege. 

Like Ibram X. Kendi said in The Atlantic, reflecting on Elijah Cummings’ passing, “On the other hand, there may be no more consequential white privilege than life itself. The privilege of being on the living end of racism. The privilege of a political response when death from drug overdoses comes in bunches. 

Oct. 21 was just another day of the racist and homophobic spirit that’s been stalking this country since its colonization 

Ihides behind the human mask people wear every day; It’s invisible until another person of color gets gunned down in their own home or until another transgender woman gets murdered in cold blood; It’s almost always invisible until it’s too lateunless warning signs surface, but that doesn’t happen enough. 

Hurst is just another symptom of the endemic plague of bigotry and ignorance that’s sickened people around the world, including in good ol’ Rockwellian America. 

According tThe Bulletin of the World Health Organization, an international journal on world health, gender and sexuality-based violence continually proves to be an international systematic pattern.  

If we want to eradicate violence motivated by perception of sexual orientation and gender identity, we must identify the mechanisms and motivations of such violence,” the editorial’s discussion said. The perpetrators are often male and although violence is not necessarily a part of men’s dominant position in society (hegemonic masculinity), the two are often linked. 

Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, including the straight white man. However, insane claims that white men are losing their privilege more and more each day is false and should be called out. 

According to Jon Greenberg in a piece for Everyday Feminism, white people typically have ten privileges in society which are: a positive relationship with the police; being favored by school authorities; attending segregated schools of affluence; learning about their own race in school; mostly having children’s books that overwhelmingly represent their whiteness; soaking in media that is blatantly biased toward their whiteness; escaping stereotypes associated with being white; playing the “colorblind card; being insulated of the daily toll of racism; and living ignorant of the dire state of racism. 

So no, white people are not getting any rights or privileges taken away from them “every day.” 

Of course, it is always wrong to generalize an entire race or everyone that’s heterosexual. Not all straight white people are ignorant and mean-spirited, some are incredible allies.  

The brutal truth is that, systemically, straight white people avoid the deadly harsh reality of homophobia, racism and bigotry that continues to target millions around the world. 

Bryan Mena may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Bryan Mena
Bryan Mena is a junior majoring in political science and minoring in communication studies. He is currently serving as entertainment editor with The Prospector, UTEP's student publication and as a contributor with Minero Magazine. He is a transfer student from El Paso Community College (EPCC) where he served as editor of the Tejano Tribune, EPCC's student publication. After earning an associate's degree in economics, Mena transferred to UTEP on a full-ride scholarship from the Terry Foundation. He is currently interning with El Paso Inc., a local business journal, and he will be in Forth Worth, Texas for 10 weeks in the summer to work as a paid intern for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
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OPINION: Tennessee politician embodies the homophobic and bigoted underbelly of America