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I added a category to my links today and revisited Project Implicit as a result.

This post at Bitch | Lab got me to thinking about race and research.  That’s when I realized I didn’t have a link to Project Implicit in my lil’ corner of the blogosphere.  Project Implicit is a Harvard study collecting data and analyzing people’s implicit associations.  I find it fascinating.  I amended my link omission quickly.  While at the project’s site, though, I realized it’s been ages since I’d participated in the study.

I signed in (yes, you do have to register with an e-mail address to participate but I promise I’ve never gotten a bit of mail from them.  The e-mail address is a mere formality.) and was directed to a test comparing Britney Spears to 50 Cent.  This, coincidentally, melded nicely with another post at B | L.  And there’s been all that buzz going on recently about Britney’s hoochie! Hmmm…I felt a post coming on already.

Anyway, if there are two things I couldn’t care less about on this earth it’s probably Britney Spears and 50 Cent.  I know very little about them except that, unlike Bitch | Lab, I have seen Brittney’s crotch shot.  Somebody I respect, maybe Veronica from Nine Pearls, started me on a tangent recently that, at some point, led me to cross the path of Britney’s twat.  I was not impressed.

So, here I am on Project Implicit staring at pictures of Britney and 50.  And I knew before I started the test how it was going to turn out.  I seem to have a “strong automatic preference for Britney Spears over 50 Cent.”

I despise Britney Spears…even more than I despise violent rap music.  I know (knew) nothing about 50 Cent except his stage name.  Yet I still had more of a tendency to relate 50’s picture or name with negative terms and Britney’s with positive terms.

It just goes to show you how insidious this racism thing is.  I commented on Maxjulian’s blog, thefreeslave, about my perception of the Ali-Frazier fights in the 70’s as the contest of “The Good Black Man” versus “The Bad Black Man.” And, although I knew it was wrong, I still rooted for Frazier not only because he was a Philadelphian.  I rooted for him because I didn’t recognize this man Muhammad Ali was and it/he frightened me.

I’ve grown up a little bit since then, yet I still “have a strong automatic preference for Britney Spears over 50 Cent.”

Don’t think the work is ever finished.  There is always some buffing to be done to smooth over the rough edges, always more brilliance to be gained.  I am both sorry and glad that I am, and will remain, a work in progress.

It all started out, as it so often does, at AlterNet. That’s where I found this terrific article about a Baptist pastor musing, “What if we’re wrong about homosexuality?” Given the ever-rising mountain of scientific evidence suggesting that being gay is no more a choice than being blond or left-handed. (I am neither of these but I do happen to be gay.)

Anyway, I noticed the article was written by Melissa McEwan, who blogs as Shakespeare’s Sister. I’ve really got to go visit there more; there’s some good stuff there. I took a side trip to The Heretik‘s long enough to become depressed about Pam and Kid’s break-up. They say it’s a sign of the coming Apocolypse. Phew, glad I’m in good with the Lord! Seriously, I don’t follow many B-level personalities but Pamela Anderson‘s got to be the most tragic woman around. I mean, look at that boob job! I’d be on a permanent bummer following that surgery, too. I hope things start looking up for her soon.

Anyway, A link in the Pam Anderson story led me to the Boston Globe online. While there, I noticed a headline in the sidebar which read, “The Anti-gay Obsession.” Well, of course I had to go check that out. Well, this wonderful op-ed piece “highlights” some of the recent activity among religious types with regard to homosexshality. I’d highly recommend it.

But one part stood way out for me and that is this. South Africa voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

While all this nuttiness was going on here, the South African parliament this week voted 230-41 to legalize same-sex marriage. This vote came after South Africa’s highest court ruled that existing marriage laws discriminated against gay and lesbian couples. The post-apartheid South African Constitution passed about a decade ago was noteworthy for being the first in the world to explicitly outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

South African Defense Minister Mosuia Lekota was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “The roots of this bill lie in many years of struggle. . . . This country cannot afford to be a prison of timeworn prejudices which have no basis in modern society. Let us bequeath to future generations a society which is more democratic and tolerant than the one that was handed down to us.”

The tone of affirmation in South Africa had been set years before by the likes of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who lost a son to AIDS, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, who has repeatedly criticized homophobia in the church. “This is crazy,” the retired archbishop said eight years ago. “We say the expression of love in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship is more than just the physical but includes touching, embracing, kissing, maybe the genital act. The totality of this makes each of us grow to become giving, increasingly God-like and compassionate.

This is the part that wriggled its way into my consciousness. Read it again:

“The roots of this bill lie in many years of struggle. . . . This country cannot afford to be a prison of timeworn prejudices which have no basis in modern society. Let us bequeath to future generations a society which is more democratic and tolerant than the one that was handed down to us.”

Are they not the most glorious word combinations you’ve ever seen? “Timeworn prejudices.” “Modern society.” Leave our community a better place than when we came into it. Isn’t that what’s it’s all about?

I’m very heartened to hear and read more about the rising social consciousness of many Christian movements, even some evangelicals. (These are not the first stirrings I’ve heard. When I’m off on Thursday, I’ll have to research some more…a recent interview on Radio Times here on Philly’s NPR station. Tonight, I’ve got to get to bed! It’s 2 AM now.) This is what it’s all about. Leaving the world not only unspoiled but better in some ways than when we were put here. Like packing out your hiking trash, moving or cutting that log in the tail.

This coming from Africa. If there’s one place on earth that is still perceived by the “western world” as primitive, dark, dangerous, backwater it’s Africa. Asia is garnering her respect via India and China. South America has its bright spots. But Africa is still widely viewed as more ‘uncivilized’ than we Eurocentric snobs here in the good, ol’ US of A. Yet they’ve gone ahead and done the “right,” the “progressive” thing. And we in the US lag far behind even the “darkest continent.”

We should hang our collective head in shame.

Before that she bitched about: