These are clear depictions of this phenomenon as they relate to class and socio-economic disparity, but countless other examples exist. Let’s start with the Log Cabin Republicans. Affiliates of this organization promote themselves as “proud members of the GOP who believe inclusion wins.” All it takes, however, is a look at their online platform to see that the only difference between the issues they champion and the ones promoted by their party as a whole are ones that deal very specifically with LGBT rights: discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace and marriage equality. Unlike the National Organization for Women and the League of Women Voters,who understand that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and champion matters of equality that transcend gender lines, the Log Cabin Republicans seek to enlarge their conservative party’s circle of inclusion just enough to include them. It’s no wonder that their membership is overwhelmingly white, male, cisgender, and middle class.
From a social psychology perspective, the motivation for the bring me in, but keep them out mentality is clear. If I believe that my power as a disenfranchised member of society is relative,and only secure as long as there are others whose seats are farther from the table than mine, then I have a very important stake in making sure that the circle of freedom encompasses me but doesn’t extend too far beyond me.
Sometimes it seems inherently contradictory that individuals who have been historically oppressed along one dimension of their being seek liberty for themselves but (at best) have no interest in the liberty of others or (at worst) actively support the oppression of others. At least for now, misogyny, racism and transphobia among gay men; anti-immigration sentiments among first-generation American citizens; and homophobia among people of color are common albeit disturbing phenomena.