A Bit about Bigotry and Why None of It Makes Any Sense

by Chris McGinty of AccordingToWhim.com

I more or less try to avoid
getting into discussions on Twitter about topics that people are known for
getting into heated and irrational arguments over. I’ve found that too many of
them stray from the main topic and become unproductive. I have occasionally,
when I feel like I can make a point in a neutral tone, chimed in and put a
thought into the mix.

Recently, I saw a post that said
something to the effect that white guys don’t like the term “white guys” being
a pejorative because they’ve never had their identities used as pejoratives
like everyone else. I get where she was coming from, but as I thought about it
a little more, I think I know a better way she could have put it. But we’ll get
to that in a few paragraphs.
My response was simple, and as neutral
as I could make it:  I’ll say this, and if you’re open to the dialogue then great.
I’ve been alive 46 years, and ‘white’ and ‘male’ as pejoratives are not new. I
spent my youth calmly explaining to bigots why bigotry doesn’t make sense. Racial,
gender, political, etc. I’m still doing it now.”
There’s a
lot to unpack here that Twitter brevity doesn’t do a good job of. First, note
that I said that I’ve been alive 46 years. I’m 37 years old according to a nice
newspaper article, so I just wanted to be clear about that. But I’ve been alive
46 years.
Second, I
realize that it’s possible, though unlikely, that I’m the one and only white
male who has had my race and gender used pejoratively throughout my life. If
that’s the case then she’s right and I’m wrong.
Third, I
included political because when they finally kill all the white men throughout
the world, it’s going to be funny how people will just find something else to
malign people about. It’s just too bad I won’t be here to say, “I told you so.”
But I see it now where we’ve made rules about not talking bad about certain
groups of people that some people are clinging to the groups they can still
badmouth. This is why terms like “liberal” and “conservative” are used as slurs
by opponents. No one is upset about that form of bigotry, but the dividing
lines of political beliefs have ended friendships. It’s toxic, but it’s not
frowned upon.
I said I
would talk about what her post might have read, because if it had said this I
think I would have agreed that she’s completely right:
guys are just upset because up until about five years ago it wasn’t seemingly universally
agreed that racism against whites isn’t racism and sexism against men isn’t
Slurs and pejoratives against
white males is nothing new. The acceptance that they’re not really slurs and
pejoratives, because white men are the majority is new.
Let me tell you a story about how
my mom explained interracial marriage to me in 1981 when it wasn’t widely
accepted. Some kids in the neighbourhood told me that there was a black man who
was married to a white woman a couple of streets over. At that time it was less
common than it even is now, so it seemed like an anomaly to me. I told my mom
about it, and she said, “They must love each other very much to have gotten
married.” It made sense to me. It normalized the entire concept in my head.
My parents never made a big deal
about me having a black friend or a Hispanic friend. They had a foster kid who
was Native American for over a year, who was treated like my older brother.
Unfortunately, he ran away too many times and was taken back by the state. I
was about as non-racist as I could be, and then I became aware as the years
went on that there were people who literally hated me because I was white. No
other reason. It was very weird to me, because I actually liked some of these
people and wanted to be their friends.
Then we moved into a “black
neighbourhood.” There was no actual problem, but some people seemed worried
about it. My mom became friends with a
black couple that lived in the building behind us. They were very nice people,
and my brother and their son got together often to play. I had older friends I
was hanging out with, but every so often I would hang with them. It was fun.
I want to say they were
grandbabies, or nieces, but one day when we were over at their place someone
brought by their twin daughters to visit. They were black, which at the time is
somewhat obvious given they were family, and they were just at the age that they
were starting to smile. I got to hold them for a little while and they smiled
at me the whole time. I had an odd thought at that moment, which is that these
girls might one day be racist. I doubted it given the family they were part of,
but they might be. They weren’t born that way. It would probably be years
before they were exposed to overt racism. It would happen, of course, and they’d
be just as surprised by it as I was.
And this brings me to my true
point about that post. I was trying to remain somewhat neutral, because
sometimes you run into problems with people who don’t know you if you’re too agressive with your point of view. Here’s what bothers me though about this
idea that it’s ok to be racist and/or sexist towards white men predicated
solely on the fact that they’re the majority and it’s probable that they’ve
historically had it easier than most.
There will be a white male kid
somewhere in the world sometime soon who will get onto Twitter for the first
time at age 8, or 9 and read a statement about how white men are basically the
devil. He will be like, “What? Why would people say that?” Deep down he’ll be
thinking, “I’m not the devil, but I’m going to grow into a white man one of
these days, which means that there’s going to be this subsection of people who
hate me for no real reason.” This kid didn’t create the patriarchy. This kid
didn’t start slavery. This kid was just born a certain race and a certain
gender in the wrong country.
The idea that we might be moving
into a generation of our society who will be willing to persecute people based on
this idea of payback is honestly ludicrous. It’s ludicrous because it’s never
worked before. It’s ludicrous because most people are progressive enough with
their beliefs that they want to see an end to racism and sexism. It’s ludicrous
because renaming a problem doesn’t mean you’ve solved it. If we start calling
hunger “nutritionally challenged,” it doesn’t mean that people aren’t going
hungry. We could say that we solved hunger if we all agree that people going
hungry isn’t called hunger. There are still nutritionally challenged people
though. What are we going to do about them?
I’m opposed to bigotry. All
forms. I firmly believe that all people should be judged by their character,
integrity, and to some extent their actions. Not who they were born to. Not
where they were born. Not what someone who shared one or more physical traits
with them may or may not have done sometime in the past, present, or future. Not by the extremists
in a given belief system that they share. People should be judged on their own
You can change the definition of
racism if you want. You can change the definition of sexism if you want. You
can even define hate speech any way you want. You can win all your social media
arguments by referring to these definitions. There will still people being
hated because of the colour of their skin and the shape of their genitalia.
What are we going to do about them?
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
thinks that anyone born in the US, or most other advanced countries, needs to
realize that we have it really good compared to much of the rest of the world,
and certainly better than past generations.

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