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Richard Dawkins, your privilege is showing

Unless some clueless cad is impersonating you, in which case ignore this post. EDIT: PZ confirms these comments are from Dawkins.
But I’m fairly certain it is you making these profoundly ignorant comments on Pharyngula (mainly because I’ve seen you say similar things before, in both style and topic). You began with:

Dear Muslima
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

Thankfully another Pharyngulite said exactly what I was thinking:

Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?

And that’s when you tried to backpedal with a clarification, but just ended up digging your hole even deeper.

No I wasn’t making that argument. Here’s the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics’ privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker. PZ didn’t physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they’d have had good reason to complain.

Richard

Actually, yes, that was the argument you were making. But you chose to cover up that argument with an even stupider argument. Congratulations!

Frankly, this is disappointing for a number of reasons. One, because it was so refreshing to read PZ’s post and knowing a guy out there “gets it.” Two, because you’re kind of an idol of mine, and it makes me want to cry a little when you live up to the stereotype of a well-off, 70 year old, white, British, ivory tower academic. But let me spell it out for you instead of just getting mad (though I’ll do that too):

Words matter. You don’t get that because you’ve never been called a cunt, a faggot, a nigger, a kike. You don’t have people constantly explaining that you’re subhuman, or have the intellect of an animal. You don’t have people saying you shouldn’t have rights. You don’t have people constantly sexually harassing you. You don’t live in fear of rape, knowing that one wrong misinterpretation of a couple words could lead down that road.

You don’t, because you have fucking privilege.

And you’re not going to “get it” until you sit down and actually put forth the effort. I know you’re a busy man, so here’s a quick little parable on why you currently don’t get it. And if you still don’t get it – which is probably true, since these things take a long time to understand – I will happily sit down with you at TAM and try to explain it. I’m sure lots of other Skeptical ladies will be happy to help me.