Thursday, September 15, 2011

Racism? Bigotry?

    If you are like me, you despise bigotry. It is so easy to hate those who engage in these ideas. They are mindless and intolerant. They got 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, they crucified Jesus, they assassinated Gandhi and JFK. They are everything that is wrong with the world, society, human nature. How can they think the way they do? How can they just devalue an entire group of people for looking or believing a certain way, like placing those sticky little garage sale price tags on items to determine their worth? People aren't tea kettles! Don't they realize that human beings are complicated, each one is different, and the color of your skin does not always correlate with certain behavior?

If you identify with any or all of what was said above, I ask you to adhere by your own standards when considering bigoted people. They, as easy as it is to devalue them for their intolerance, are also individuals, trying to make sense of this messy world in any way they can by categorizing human beings, as you do when you think of them in that sort of light.
Lots of reasonable people think racists would benefit by having a taste of their own medicine.
Let me ask you this, for I am sure you are good intentioned in your hatred of hatred... Are you helping or hurting your cause? Is refusing to view people with refusing views as people that much better than labeling an entire race or religion ignorant or petty or lazy or any other blanket term?

Labeling an entire group of complex individuals is pure laziness, plain and simple. Any time you want to call all ____ people this way, or all racists assholes, you are over simplifying human nature. You are devaluing that individual for obvious reasons, that group for saying they are all some undesirable term or another, and you're devaluing yourself for holding yourself to a mindset of tunnel vision. You may get kicked in the ass somewhere down the line and be proven wrong, but would that happen sooner or later with you being set in a certain belief that discourages new perspectives?
None of us are destined to be a certain way, however strongly we may lean toward accepting the contrary. A lot of good would come from people not holding themselves or other groups to a set standard and being appalled when they don't adhere to it. Imagine the habits you could  break, the insecurity that would cease to exist, the oppression of minorities that could no longer take place.

Are you the same as you were last year? Would you appreciate someone you haven't seen since high school coming up to you and talking to you as if you are still your 15 year old self? No. Treating a racist with intolerance is only perpetuating that which you claim to be so against. They are just people, and although people who hold or have held similar beliefs have played a hand in a lot of misery, more segregation (whether literal or mental) is not going to help. Your first reaction may be to respond with aggression, or interrogate someone who comes out as a racist person. Do you think this will cause this individual to thoughtfully consider your words, stop and think "Wow, you know, I think you're right Bob. I really see the error in my ways. I'm going to stop this." Or do you think this person will go on the ultra defensive and become even more polarized and vehement in his hatred, feeling the need to protect and nurture a belief he holds that he considers part of his identity? Think about it.

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