By Elliot Barnhill, The Charter Opinions
a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.
intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
“She’s the bigot!” – The Donald (Trump)
Well actually, yes, yes she is. Hello, adoring fans of my Frankensteiny middle fingers. This is snarky Irish reporter Elliot Barnhill. At this very moment, I am standing among a screaming, steaming crowd of creamy white people holding various ‘black lives matter’ signs. What’s that Chuck? Ahuh. Ahuh. Got it. This just in; a new food truck serving vegan and gluten free wraps has just opened up and started feeding the protesters. Also just in; the protest has abruptly ended in a large group picnic and sing-a-long. Gotta love white people, am I right Jim? Jim? Oh, he’s getting food. Well next up, a stunning report from senior correspondent Filis Umber focusing in on the black on black violence- what’s that Chuck? Nobody was interested? Got it. Ahuh. Alright. Next up: watch as professional bodybuilders tell their heartbreaking stories about coming out of the closet. Back to you Chuck.
Chuck: Thank you Elliot, glad to have you back in one piece.
Hello, I’m Chuck, the Human Beaver. The time is one is the loneliest number. Coming up at the top of the hour we have breaking news covering our ongoing series about people doing things. All that and more, right after the break.
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Welcome back to the channel seven news. I’m your host, Chuck, the Human-Beaver. The time is two infinity and beyond and it’s time for our story of the hour.
What is bigotry? In the last year and a half the word ‘bigot’ has been thrown around a lot on the political stage. ‘She’s a bigot!’ ‘Those who side with him are deplorable!’ You’ve heard these (paraphrased) statements before. Everyone seems to think that everyone who doesn’t agree with them are siding with the anti-Christ. So who’s right? Which camp will run us into the dirt and let China, Russia, and ISIS kill us all you ask? Well if that’s what this story was about I would tell you. But it’s not, so suck it up. I’m looking for something that both sides have in spades. Intolerance. So what are we as a culture not accepting of? What do we shun? To list all of our social allergies would take more time than I would like, so I won’t. But think about at least one thing that big groups of people disagree about publicly (Star Wars v Star Trek doesn’t count but Star Wars is better). One example could be the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion. Or from the other side, the right of all babies to be born. Each side has a valid argument for why they are right, each side has logical flaws or other fallacies in their respective arguments. There’s no point telling you who’s right and who’s not, but if we look beyond ‘rightness’, we find an embedded lack of willingness to consider being wrong. Or in a more positive way of saying it, the ability to believe you are right without the constraints of facts, logic, or truth. This is what I want to talk about in this column. I want to delve into our culture’s understanding of ourselves.
For the past few generations there has been a concept in parenting that centered on teaching your child that they have the ability to shoot for the stars. ‘You can be whatever you want or be!’ (As long as it makes good money and is socially acceptable, aka success) Why could we as kids be anything we wanted? ‘Because you are special.’ If anyone reading this has watched The Incredibles you might see where I’m going with this.
“Then everyone will be super! And when everyone’s super, (evil chortle) no one will be.” – Syndrome
With this cultural swing in thought towards individualism through the concept of ‘specialness’, we have hyper-extended, so to speak. Humans throughout history have done the same thing. The fall of Rome led to an age of intellectual darkness, the French Revolution led to a fear driven massacre, and the social rights movement led to a socially handicapped– sorry, was that phrase overly offensive? My bad, how about a socially special, society. It almost feels like we’re going through our tween stage. Individuality has become a religion and self focus (narcissism) is it’s doctrine. If you don’t believe me watch the movie Frozen. It is the pinnacle of individualistic thought. Not into princesses? Okay. Watch any Disney movie with a lead character who is a teen. Also, superhero movies. If you want to understand a culture, take a good long look at it’s art.
What exactly do I mean by ‘bigotry’?
Did you not read the google definition at the beginning of the column? Go back (pretty please with a cherry on top), read it, alrighty then.
So how does this concept of being “special” tie into bigotry?
Bigotry is a strong dislike (putting it mildly) for a person or group of persons who think differently or who are different. Many scientists have done studies on why people are racists, homophobic, or (insert a religion here) phobic. Here is a study done to determine whether smartness or intelligence has anything to do with racism.
In an interview with a Huffington Post reporter Dr. Precilla Dass said,
‘Racism has to do with thinking of oneself as being different from other people. Racists see others as being less than, and think of themselves as being superior. Just as you would have attitudes about anything — about poor people, for example, or immigrants — you have to think about where those attitudes began and how they developed. Was it environmental? Was it upbringing? Was the person born that way? So, there’s the age-old debate about nature versus nurture here.’
(Here’s the link to the rest of the piece.)
What all the talk and research comes down to is that we still have very little understanding in concern to bigotry. We sort of understand what factors contribute to it, but they seem to be things that are just human in nature. Maybe it is learned, maybe it isn’t.
‘Implicit biases are when you’re not aware that you have a race bias. You behave in a discriminatory way without realizing that you have racist values. That occurs a lot in the medical profession, for example — physicians don’t realize that they’re treating some patients differently to others based on race and often based on class as well.’
‘Again, you develop attitudes and stereotypes from socialization. Here’s a common example: An older woman is walking down the road and she sees a black man approaching. She holds her purse tighter thinking that it’s going to be snatched. Research has found that both black and white people often behave in this way because of our socialization. It’s because of what the media says about young black men being thieves and robbers and bag-snatchers. We all tend to behave in that way based on the socialization.’ – Dr Precilla Dass 2015
So if people have racial bias without knowing it just because they do, it’s logical to believe that these same implicit biases exist in other areas that make up what people know as bigotry. And we can all agree that people who actively hate on others are why our society is messed up. If we could all just sit down and talk it out, we could change the world and how people think about these sensitive and important issues! If only every person with a strong opinion that they held to be ‘the truth’ could get a lobotomy! Am I right!? Wouldn’t this world be a better place if conflict, war, hate, and bigotry could just stop? Go away? Maybe we could move on as a nation, and a species! In other words, wouldn’t it be really great if we were robots? I just described every single person who has ever lived (save one), is living now, or who ever will live! Those of you who are racist pigs are no different from those of you who are endlessly preaching that the LGBTQ+ community should have equal rights! You might be saying right now, ‘What the actually frick Elliot!? I am nothing like to hate ridden sons of female dogs who shoot up african American churches! I’m better than that! I protest peacefully for change!’ You didn’t hear yourself say it did you? ‘I’m better than that!’ Are you? With that sentence you kind of just killed your argument. You’re just as much a bigot as my racist great aunt. You hate just as much as anyone else. You just put a ‘justice’ label on it. In journalism one of the first things you learn is that you have bias. One of the first things you learn in criminal justice (what I study) is that everyone is capable of being the aggressor. Of being the person who hurts others.
Now there are some of you who might be reading this and thinking, ‘Elliot you are soooooooo off’ okay well we’ve established that you are an idiot. Second–really!? You are going to sit there and tell me you have no hate towards anyone? Alright. I cannot convince you if you don’t want to be convinced. But at some point in your life you will hate someone. So remember this and try to find the common ground you share with these people who you assume are the WORST PERSON ALIVE. Give them a chance to realize that nobody is fully right. Those Christians who believe that they know everything because they have special access to the Big Dude in the sky? Bullcrap. Stop having to be right! Those LGBTQ+ people who are OVERLY SENSITIVE ABOUT EVERYTHING? Whiny little female dogs. Grow a skin (jokes help!). Not everybody agrees with you. And they have that right! And you need to suck it up and deal with it. If it makes you mad, it makes you mad. Deal with yourself. That’s what it means to be an adult. Our society will get there. But we are a long way from there yet.
I guess through all of the hate crimes I just committed along with the people I just de-friended I just have this to say. We as a people need to understand some things:
1: nobody is all the way right or just.
2: because nobody is all the way right or just, everyone’s a bigot.
3: instead of judging these people (everyone) look at yourself, take a moment to realize your own colossal idiocy, and give them the love that you preach about in the form of a little grace.
4: there always will be people who don’t care and who will do everything they can to hurt you or anyone else they feel ‘needs it’. Learn to deal with them in a thoughtful way. I don’t know the answer to this one.
This is how we become a loving, good people. Not over zealousness to a cause. Not being overly legalistic. Just give people the grace you hope people will give you.
‘Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. That’s what defines an age, that’s… what defines a species.’ – The Doctor
*literally says ‘too much seriousness’ in Latin. 😉