What you’ve described is all a function of living in a dominance hierarchy — every last thing. They have been told (by patriarchal society) that they are better (higher in the hierarchy) than Hispanics or gay kids and part of the way that they embrace that is to terrorize them. That not only fulfills the purpose of putting them in their place by demonstrating dominance over them but it shows fitness.

I have no attachment to you buying into this or not, but it’s a pretty sound theory. Read the companion piece about how patriarchy is about all kinds of stratification to get a fuller picture.

“Keeping your position in the hierarchy takes constant effort, typically by ranking yourself against everyone around you all of the time. Men and boys are particularly indoctrinated into this model that is rooted in the domination of women by men which is left over from older, more formally institutionalized forms of patriarchy, although women and girls participate in it also. This is what discrimination and bullying of all sorts are about.”

“These same types of aggressions and constant testing of power dynamics also take place in relation to race, class, sexual orientation and immigrant status, to name just a few. But even amongst people on the approximate same level of the hierarchy, most people find it necessary to constantly evaluate themselves in relation to others as far as physical attractiveness, body type, the stylishness of clothing, cost or quality of things like jewelry and cars, and other meaningless metrics of status. We wouldn’t care about how other people live and love, or even look, if not for the dominance hierarchy aspect of patriarchy that combines gender conformity with ranking and rating yourself against other people all of the time.”

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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