Tom P's excellent diary on conservative yearning for stories of kind masters summed up a lot of what I've observed in patriarchal families - ones where Father Knows Best.
The kind, benevolent father works to provide for his family. In turn, he expects respect and obedience. He expects his wife to keep his house clean, his children fed. He expects her to maintain her appearance and be a cheerful, co-operative helpmeet. He expects his children to do well in school and excel in sports. He expects them to be tidy and respectful. This what he's due as a benevolent provider. Who can blame him for being angry when reality smacks him in the face? Who can blame him for being afraid of those who don't obey? I can, but he won't listen to me.
So much of the conservative wailing over the lack of cheerful stories about how well African Americans were cared for under slavery seems to stem from conservative expectations about their own families, and insecurities about their own role as masters of their households.
I put that last in italic because so much of conservative ideology stems from fear and insecurity. This yearning to have their own rightful place validated is everywhere: they must be masters of their own homes, masters of their neighborhoods (Zimmerman), masters over brown people, masters over poorer people -- and yet, in the back of their minds there's the sneaky, horrible insinuation that maybe they're not the boss.
I suspect Michael Dunn's rage and fear that ended in Jordan Davis's life had a lot to do with Dunn feeling he should be obeyed - and the fear that young black people might not feel obliged to do what he tells them to do. Trayvon Martin, conservatives argue, should have been obedient and cheerfully compliant with Zimmerman's authority. Why? Because!
Conservatives argue that compliance with a master's wishes (however rudely expressed), whether that master be a parent, a teacher, a police officer, or even (as in the Dunn and Zimmerman cases) a stranger should be a simple matter, one that should be a pleasant courtesy. Lacking this this joy in service is the fault of the underling. The master is never at fault.
So police are justified in their brutal treatment of citizens who do not immediately and respectfully comply. They are masters. Obedience is their due. So the citizen can't hear police demands? So the citizen is mentally impaired? Obedience is required.
Of course, conservatives have no wish to be joyful, obedient slaves. That's not the natural order of things! They are the masters. They believe God has ordained this role, and it is their burden (and what a sad burden it is to support all the freeloaders!).
Wishing to re-write history and re-shape the present and future according to false history will continue to be conservatives' downfall, and any challenge to the "natural order of things" will continue to inspire fear and rage.
Because facing the truth that they are not our masters and we are not their slaves is too frightening.