Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bigotry Against Bigots is still Bigoted

There's a lot of people being upset by bigotry these days. Facebook pages and websites rising up against intolerance are gaining more followers and hits. And there's a good reason for that: bigotry isn't a good thing. It holds back a society, damages communal harmony, and in general it isn't a nice thing to do.
Now some try to be clever about this and say they are Bigoted against Bigots. It is, or was, cleverto turn the weapon used by intolerance against it. But it's it proper? Does hating people who hate make you any better than them.
To demonstrate, consider this: you meet a person who you quickly learn has a low opinion of African Americans. Most people would be repulsed by this. I'd like to think that most people would simply be wary of this person; watch what they say and avoid a confrontation. But I know people who would actively target said person for ostracism.
But in that case, they'd be ignoring the idea that this person may be a loving parent, a hard worker, and be fully aware that their opinions are not popular.
But is this acceptable simply because they are expressing an opinion that is morally repugnant (we'll ignore for now whether morality exists for since I don't believe is does)? Are we justified in hating the haters because we know what's right? But are we then giving subtle acceptance of such reactions by dismissing it?
In his epic work The Risen Empire, Scott Westerfeld postulated that there was no way to change people's minds; that the only solution was to let old beliefs die and raise a younger generation on new ideals. I endorse such theories. Our best solution is to let the poison run its course, while of course making sure no new poison enters the wounds.
To close out, I'd like to point out that this isn't a "we're better than that" attitude. It's about what's most effective. Baring an epiphany, you can't force a thought into someone's head. Hatred cannot be undone by reason alone.

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