Symbolism Has Its Limits
For FAIR’s Substack, Laurie Miller Hornik writes about why it is important to see other people not as symbols, but as full human beings.
If a student asked me about symbolism in real life today, I’d have more to say. I’d say that people—actual people in the world—are not symbols. They are individual human beings with their own dignity and rights and should never be reduced to symbols.
As I write this, the hostages being held by Hamas are not symbols, even if the members of Hamas see them that way. The hostage posters we are all now familiar with, designed by Israeli artists Dede Bandaid and Nitzan Mintz, help remind people that each hostage is an individual person with full human dignity. When people tear them down, they might feel like they are tearing down a symbol of something—settler-colonialism, white supremacy, Jewish power—but they are not. They are tearing down pictures of specific individuals with full human dignity.
Championing Religious Freedom: ‘We Must Preserve Our Unity’ Going Beyond Political Disputes
The Religious Freedom Institute honored FAIR Advisor Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University with its 2023 Defender of Religious Freedom Award. The National Catholic Register published his remarks in full.
Our movement has always been one in which Christians, Jews, and Muslims, along with people of the great Eastern traditions of faith, are partners and, indeed, equal partners. We must preserve our unity. We will not agree on all matters of politics, including the politics of the Middle East, but our profound points of moral agreement — the points I just mentioned — must be the glue that binds us in solidarity with each other despite our points of disagreement. Where we differ, we must engage each other in a spirit of openness — willing thoughtfully to listen to each other and not simply to preach. However passionate we may be in our advocacy, we must cultivate and sustain a spirit of humility and eschew dogmatism. We must not doubt one another’s goodwill or question each other’s motives. The enemies of religious freedom would like nothing more than for political disputes to shatter our unity, thus undermining our work at home and abroad in upholding religious freedom for all. Let us see to it that their wishes are frustrated.
"There Will Be No Thanksgiving This Year"
For her Substack, BROADVIEW, FAIR Advisor Lisa Selin Davis writes about grandparental grief and the culture of rejection with the rise of gender ideology.
Support and affirmation are not synonymous.
Yet sometimes it feels—to these grandparents, to families, to those of us charting these cultural tides—as if the next step after coming out as trans is scanning for any reason to reject a family member, and the bar is lower every year. It’s some kind of gateway to authenticity: once rejected—even if you directed the rejection—you are officially oppressed, sufficiently discriminated against, and allowed access to the steaming pools of pain. I’m very familiar with this mindset: the waiting-to-find-who-will-hurt-me radar.
The FAP research began in an era when gay people would regularly be kicked out of their houses, their families, for coming out. Most of these families with LGBTQIA++ kids today wouldn’t shun them for being gay, but may hesitate to affirm, socially or medically, which is something else entirely. One gay friend of mine, whose husband was indeed rejected by his family for being gay, called this phenomenon a kind of cultural appropriation: They’ve never actually experienced this kind of rejection, but arranged to make it so.
Anti-Racism Dismantles Communities, Not Oppression
For The Black Sheep, a new Substack launched by Salomé Sibonex and Jake Klein, Reid Newton writes about her experience in the dance world after the death of George Floyd.
The worst part wasn’t how it made me feel, how out of place I felt in this world I had once thought of as an extension of home. The worst part was that the people in that room felt threatened by my being there. This seemed crazy to me, but it was undeniable. They genuinely felt unsafe and uncomfortable because of the color of my skin. They viewed me as an oppressor and a grifter looking to take—to appropriate—what wasn’t mine.
The world of dance, which had given me that precious language to communicate with anyone irrespective of who they were or where they came from, was fragmenting—consumed, like everything else, by our seemingly inescapable racialization and tribalization.
The award-winning choreographer who fell foul of the mob
For The Spectator, Rupert Christiansen writes about FAIR in the Arts Fellow Rosie Kay’s experience being cancelled and fighting back.
‘The arts are full of fear now, and I’ve become a sort of case worker for people in trouble because of their views. We need more protection, and we need more of us to stand up and say “No”, and we need arts organisations to think harder about what the principles of their mission are.’
What are those principles? ‘A former secret-service man told me that they were always interested in monitoring the arts because once they had clocked the obvious stance of the political activists, the artists were the free-thinkers, the trouble-makers, the subversives. And that’s what we’re meant to be, and that’s what a minority within the arts aren’t allowing us to be.’
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