Bigotry

I’ve noticed an increase in the use of the word “bigot” lately. I prefer this word to the misapplied term “racist” or the suffix “phobe.” It tends to be accurate in its application.

“Bigot” is defined by the OED as “A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions,” and “Bigotry” as “Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.” Are these words not perfect for today’s society? “Racist” has been applied in situations that have nothing to do with “Race,” or even a twisted definition of “Race.” “Homophobe,””Islamaphobe,” and “Transphobe” rarely describe a phobia.

For instance, what would you call California’s recent decision to restrict official travel to states with LGBT laws they disagree with? It is clearly intolerant toward entire states due to differing opinions of the governments of those states. We created a United States rather than a single state to allow freedoms and differing laws. California has decided to ban travel to certain states, but still allows travel to China and other countries with active aggressive anti-gay laws. Like a death penalty for being gay rather than no protection from discrimination. I believe the design promotes tolerance, however the California decision is analogous to covering ones eyes and ears. Do not misunderstand, I certainly have no opposition to various sexualities, but denying commerce and communication is wrong on too many levels to count. California has forfeited the ability to be ambassadors of tolerance in perhaps the most ironic fashion.

I had a friend, we attended school together. We reconnected on Facebook a few years ago, and worked on a couple of charitable events together. She, like many of my friends, is a Democrat. Following the election she went non-linear, to the point I had to “un-friend” her on Facebook. I explained why to her privately, explaining there was no place in my life for her “smiling bigotry,” as she would post absolutely hateful things prefaced with excuses. We ran across each other after the shooting in Alexandria of Congressman Scalise. We have mutual friends, so we end up in the same conversations. Still as bigoted as ever, she continued to spew hate, and when she saw I was there attacked me because I had “called her a bigot.” Well, I guess I was right. She’s still smiling as she tells people that not enough Republicans were killed.

Collins Idehen, under the pseudonym Mr. Colion Noir, hosts a webcast for the NRA. He also writes about gun rights and responsibilities. In the aftermath of the Philando Castile verdict, he touched on bigotry, in this case comparing racism and gun control. “However, there is also a problem with some people in this country dismissing racism wholesale when it isn’t overt racial slurs or crosses burning on front lawns. Covert racism is a real thing and is very dangerous. Covert racism works the same way anti-gunners use coded language to push gun control. They say common sense gun measures, but we know what they really mean. We gun advocates spend our time trying to prove to the people that they don’t just want background checks they want to ban guns. The problem is, they don’t come right out and say,”give me all your guns” so no one believes us, but we know the effects are incredibly real. That’s what covert racism is and does.” What he calls covert racism (and anti-gunners) is best defined as bigotry. A decision on how to proceed based on the objects (Blacks, Guns) rather than the situation.

Another example of bigotry comes from a group that prides itself on inclusion. In fact they’ve appropriated the month of June as “Pride Month.” Three gay people who were also proud of their religious beliefs were not tolerated, and excluded from the “Dyke March” in Chicago for carrying a rainbow flag that also contained the Star of David. This time the bigotry is so strong it has overridden self preservation. Convinced by the “progressive” narrative that Judaism is equal to Zionism, and that Zionism is racist towards Arabs, they found the Star of David offensive. Never mind that the majority of Arab culture is Islamic, under which any deviation from heterosexuality is punishable by death, they found it unacceptable to not include Arabs, so they excluded Jews. Maybe the whole “No Hate” program has them thirsting for their natural drive to hate. I can’t really call this an example of bigotry, because I am not as quick to judge the parade organizers as they are to judge Jews, maybe they’re only jerks, and while most bigots are jerks, being a jerk on its own is not bigotry. Antisemitism often hides as pro-Palestinian or anti-Zionism, and each of those groups are bigots.

Bigotry is simply a negative prejudice, often played out as innocence or jokes. When I moved North, after living in Texas and California, I was shocked at the racism. Yes, there was racism in both previous states, but it was overt. You knew where you stood. In the North, it is covert, small bigoted actions which are less identifiable. Guess again folks, just because you’re smiling and claiming to care, you are still causing pain, and pain is easy to remember for most folks. The victims may not be able to identify the event, but they are aware of the pain, your shock when they respond just makes you appear even more false. Political Correctness is not a disguise for bigotry, it is a showcase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discrimination

There was a discussion on the local public radio station about Halloween costumes, or at least it was supposed to be a discussion. The topic was “What is acceptable and what is offensive?”

The origin of the discussion was the Julianne Hough black face incident.

Black face

Black face

No, it wasn’t actually what is historically recognized as black face, make up that is considered racist due to its connection with Hollywood’s use of white actors in black roles. She had darkened her skin to appear as a character from a television program, who in reality is a racist stereotype of black people. A more enlightened¬† audience might see the irony of dressing as a character who many people find offensive drawing more attention than the character herself.

Black face is a symbol of discrimination. We tend to get a little keyed up over symbols. I think it’s because we can’t seem to talk about “touchy” issues without shouting. So we do some incredibly stupid things. We develop “less than lethal” forms of restraint because we using fire hoses to control crowds reminds us of when we used them in the sixties to break up race riots. And of course, anything to do with race riots is racist. So we kill a couple of dozen people each year with mace and tasers and rubber bullets. How civilized.

The discussion didn’t get too far, two “experts” were present, and it didn’t take them long to offend the host. He’s a pretty liberal guy, but when one of the “experts” veered off into a “only black people can be offended” rant, the direction of the interview changed. He facilitated the “experts” in making total asses of themselves.

As more calls were taken, it was evident that they were being filtered to highlight the “experts'” prejudices. Next call “I’m dressing in Indian clothing, mostly because I find the dresses beautiful. I wear Indian dresses at least once a week, but I’ll be going in full dress with a red dot on my forehead”. Expert number one “Well, those people¬†(emphasis mine) dress like that all the time, so it isn’t offensive”. Expert number two ” I agree. Traditional dress isn’t offensive”. Earlier, dressing “gangsta”, pants pulled down and a hoodie were labeled “racist” because they were a negative stereotype. The term “Those people” is clearly a discriminatory term.

Next call “My son is dressing as a Zombie Jesus, I think it may be a little offensive”. Expert number one “I don’t find anything offensive about that at all”. Host breaks in, “What if it were a Zombie Mohammed?”, to which expert number one replies “I’m not religious, so it doesn’t bother me”.

So much for being an expert. Knowing what is offensive to you is not the measure of sensitivity. If we’re discussing “What is offensive” the question is what is offensive to other people. If you don’t realize that Islamic law prohibits the wearing of a Bindi, you don’t know what offends other people. If you don’t know that any portrayal of Mohammed is an offense worthy of riots, you’ve been living in a cave. If you don’t think black people can be racists, you’re an idiot, and probably a racist.

We do seem to have trouble deciding what is appropriate in our society. We use a number of words interchangeably, “Racist”, “Discriminatory”, “Offensive”, “Hate”, “Phobic”. Each of these words have different meanings, and using them carelessly degrades their meanings.

A Racist makes judgements about people based on their race. “Race” can be a moving target, is “Arab” a race? Jew? Pole? White?

Discrimination is to make a choice based on personal preferences. If I hire Bob because he is better qualified, it is still discrimination, if I hire Bob because he’s straight and the other candidate is gay, it is illegal discrimination.

Offensive is what someone else takes offense to. If you’re wearing a white robe and pointed hat to a Klan meeting, no one will find it offensive, but anyone sensitive to the feelings of ten percent of the population would find it offensive.

Hate is a very strong, overused word. I don’t like Telemundo, that doesn’t mean I hate Spanish, or Latinos. Making fun of someone because they’re overweight is insensitive, not hateful.

Phobic denotes a clinical anxiety, not a distaste. Someone who attacks someone is not afraid of them. If Sally uses derogatory terms for homosexuals, she is not homophobic. She probably doesn’t hate gay people, she’s rude.

This isn’t terribly complex. Don’t make it that way. Use the appropriate terms and we can work on the problem instead of the language.