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Some people need offending
November 3, 2012 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Let's call a bigot a bigot.
posted by Artw (52 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sounds good to me.
posted by limeonaire at 1:01 PM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bullies always are the worst at taking criticism. They really think they should be allowed to be as cruel and disrespectful and to label others as they please, and that if anyone criticizes them for it or labels them a bully or a bigot, THEY ARE TOTALLY OUT OF LINE.
posted by orange swan at 1:02 PM on November 3, 2012 [29 favorites]


Bigot is good; "fukwit" leaves you no where else to go.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:04 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Stonewall England is holding back trans equality.
posted by jiawen at 1:06 PM on November 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I forget what site I was scanning-through yesterday, but I ran across the argument that "the word bigot has been overused and is now meaningless" as a defense for being called-out as a bigot for bigoted speech.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:07 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


orange swan: I like to call it the How Dare You Be Intolerant of My Intolerance! dodge.
posted by scody at 1:07 PM on November 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


(In the US at least) bigoted "free speech" has long hidden in the couch of religious morality. It's not at all surprising that the challenges to the current culture of bigotry based in religion is meeting with resistance from within the religious community. Nor is it surprising that those expressing hate most directly are attempting to claim that hate is being directed toward them as a form of defense.

But, speaking for myself, I do hate them. I hate them for what they've done for generations to people like me, in major and minor, public and private ways.

I have no problems labeling them as bigots, just as they have no problems voting against my having equal civil rights. They also seem to have no problems making snide comments under their breath in public spaces, throwing bottles at me from moving vehicles as I leave the bar, picketing funerals of those they perceive to have somehow participated in the movement toward equality, teaching their children to practice bigotry towards me, and any number of other things which are simply part and parcel of the worldview of a bigot

I haven't done any of those things toward them, except for calling them bigots with great regularity. Even Gandhi was intolerant of intolerance. Those are footsteps I have no problems attempting to walk in.
posted by hippybear at 1:15 PM on November 3, 2012 [50 favorites]


Calling bigots intolerant is the real prejudice.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:21 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, Stonewall England is holding back trans equality.

That articles is a bit odd, I have to say. Essentially it seems like an attack on Stonewall for being an LGB rather than LGBT charity. I'm not sure what "does not allow trans people to join" means. As far as I'm aware Stonewall does not have a membership at all. Beyond that, what does the article actually claim?

The underlying criticism of Stonewall may well be valid, but that article doesn't present, to me at least, evidence that Stonewall is actively holding back transgender equality.
posted by howfar at 1:44 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hear hear.

What I've long found funny (well, funny, if it wasn't so sad) was those socalled Christians eager to call whatever natural disaster has just hit the US a punishment of America for even daring to think about gay marriage, while in this Sodom and Gomorra on the Rhine I live in it has been legal for over a decade now and we've still been wiped out. If their god is that precious about who gets to marry who, he's sure taking his time punishing us.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:44 PM on November 3, 2012


bigoted "free speech" has long hidden in the couch of religious morality.

Next to the spare change of hatred.
posted by arcticseal at 1:47 PM on November 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


"The underlying criticism of Stonewall may well be valid, but that article doesn't present, to me at least, evidence that Stonewall is actively holding back transgender equality."

They've appropriated trans history for themselves while trying to erase the existence of trans people, and they've praised transphobic jerks. All pretty bad stuff.
posted by jiawen at 2:01 PM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


jiawen : Meanwhile, Stonewall England is holding back trans equality.

Those amount to separate issues, and the gay community does itself little good by allowing others to conflate the two.
posted by pla at 2:07 PM on November 3, 2012


I'm not trying to be confrontational, but what does "erase the existence of trans people" mean in this context? I'm just trying to work out what the specific systemic criticism against Stonewall is. While I can see a number of individual mistakes, which may well be indicative, it seems like Natacha Kennedy's concern about Stonewall is broader than the things she cites support by themselves.
posted by howfar at 2:09 PM on November 3, 2012


A bigot is someone who “regards or treats the members of a group … with hatred and intolerance”.

This definition doesn't really go far enough. A bigot also needs to have power to a) express their views relatively safe from reprisal and b) enforce real penalties on the subjects of their bigotry. In this sense, gay "bigotry" toward the Catholic church is, rather, a sensible antipathy toward a group that seeks to deny them legal protections by pretty much any means available, while the Cardinal faces what -- mild embarrassment -- when called on his views. If gay activists could unilaterally remove the tax exempt status of the Catholic church, remove the rights of Catholics to assemble as they wish or marry as their hearts desire, or jail ecclesiastics for expressing their opinions or religion, then the cries of bigot might have some weight. Until that day, they are just thin-skinned hypocrites.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:12 PM on November 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Bigot is too nice a word for some assholes.
posted by Splunge at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really weird.

It reminds me of the trajectory that led to cultural moral relativism being in vogue. We started by recognizing that it was bad to march into a place and insist that a bunch of as-a-matter-of-fact perfectly permissible stuff was impermissible. So we then tried to get people to quit doing that. But then some people got confused, and though that the problem wasn't calling permissible things impermissible, but, rather, calling anything impermissible at all. This confusion then led people to think that there was something wrong with even condemning, for example, female genital mutilation. How horrible that we would conclude that people who are not us can make mistakes!

In the 'bigot' case, people seem to be thinking that the problem isn't bigotry, but...what? "Offending" people? Which would mean that we can't point out that bigots are bigots without doing the same thing we are condemning.

Both errors involve some kind of skepticism about the possibility of defending substantial moral judgments. In both cases, such folk end up, basically, valuing the feelings and insubstantial interests of oppressors over the rights of the oppressed.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:23 PM on November 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


howfar: "...what does 'erase the existence of trans people' mean in this context?"

Stonewall (the rebellion, not the organization) was started by people who were far from cis. The organization using that name but then not actually representing trans people is a clear example of erasure. Their website also seems to do its darnedest to pretend trans people don't exist, and then the video Ms. Kennedy mentioned treats trans issues as something distant and foreign to the concerns of GLBTQ youth. The systemic criticism is that Stonewall (UK) should be representing all GLBTQ folks, but instead concerns itself only with the rights of cisgender people.
posted by jiawen at 2:23 PM on November 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ah yes, outrage- the last refuge of the bully.

It's like a page taken directly from Groucho Marx: "Sure I've slandered your name behind your back, worked to drive a wedge between you and your peers, undermined nearly every attempt to portray yourself in a positive light, and have generally been disrespectful towards you in any interaction between the two of us...but to call me a bigot? HOW DARE YOU. This means WAR!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:25 PM on November 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Apparently it is also dirty pool to suggest that someone is NOT a bigot when his supporters might otherwise be allowed to suppose he is. In 2004 every Republican I knew repeated the Fox dogma that it was out of line for Kerry to bring up the fact that Cheney has a gay daughter whom he loves.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:39 PM on November 3, 2012


It is not uncommon for rude people to act offended when their rudeness is not tolerated. Miss Manners assures you that this does not make it rude to refuse to tolerate rudeness, as long as this is not done with retaliatory rudeness.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:40 PM on November 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Of course I recognise the difficulty with using the name Stonewall given the history associated with it. But the systemic criticism you mention doesn't seem to be the one Ms Kennedy is concerned with. When she says 'we can speak for ourselves' doesn't it indicate that her concern is with Stonewall as an organisation promoting transphobia, rather than not promoting transgender equality?

The debate about whether LGB and transgender issues are actually closely enough linked to require a campaigning organisation to represent all or none does not seem to be one that breaks down into a simple good v. bad narrative. I recognise and appreciate the concern, however.
posted by howfar at 2:41 PM on November 3, 2012


In the 'bigot' case, people seem to be thinking that the problem isn't bigotry, but...what? "Offending" people? Which would mean that we can't point out that bigots are bigots without doing the same thing we are condemning.

Calling someone out as holding unacceptable views which absolutely deny the rights and equality of a group of people and naming them as a bigot is entirely different from naming a group of people as less than human and deserving of the collective shitting-upon of the dominant paradigm.

That's not an equivalency of offense.
posted by hippybear at 2:43 PM on November 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Things have reached a slightly ludicrous situation when a gay rights group can be patronised for labelling as "bigots" those individuals who have gone most out of their way not only to prevent gay rights becoming a reality but also to viciously insult and ostracise the entire homosexual community.

Most Unnecessarily Unclear Sentence of the Year Award.
posted by gurple at 2:54 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's not an equivalency of offense.

I thought that's what Fists O'Fury was saying -- that some people want to claim that being called a bigot is just as bad as acting on bigotry, and they are wrong.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:01 PM on November 3, 2012


They've appropriated trans history for themselves while trying to erase the existence of trans people, and they've praised transphobic jerks. All pretty bad stuff.
The thing is, if you know Julie Bindel from elsewhere, her "serious" work is laughable. Stonewall haven't just praised a bigot, they've praised an idiot.

There was a report Bindel authored called "Big Brothel" about indoor prostitution and trafficking, which was roundly condemned by actual researchers. Basically, she did her research by phoning brothels, asking where their women came from (among other things), and taking this as fact. So "sexy Latino" or "exotic African" was proof(!) that these women were trafficked, because Latino and African means they came from abroad (holey logic, I know). When the report was slated by a whole group of researchers, Bindel could only pathetically reply that she "never claimed to be academic" and research in brothels is "difficult". (Basically, "I'm in waaaay over my head.") Yet her opinions have been listened to by government to help shape policy, and it's annoying to learn about her meddling. To read that serious and sincere research has been overridden by a loudmouth like her is frustrating. Why she is still held up as some fantastic journalist is beyond me. She's a public nuisance and a danger to women in prostitution.
posted by Jehan at 3:05 PM on November 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Things have reached a slightly ludicrous situation when a gay rights group can be patronised for labelling as "bigots" those individuals who have gone most out of their way not only to prevent gay rights becoming a reality but also to viciously insult and ostracise the entire homosexual community.

Most Unnecessarily Unclear Sentence of the Year Award.


I couldn't help but fail not to be surprised to read this.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:06 PM on November 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


As a religious person myself, I'd like to whole heartedly join this pile-on. Cardinal Keith O'Brien is a bigot, and the term is both accurately and appropriately applied to him. Speaking truth to power, and especially religious authority, is towards the center of what Jesus' life was lived doing and I'd like to think that he would applaud at least the spirit of this award. There seems to have been nothing that pissed off Jesus more than religious hypocrisy like this, so much so that he went and fucked shit up, and he described it thusly
Matthew 23: 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Now "Woe to you", or ouai in the greek dialect that Matthew was written in, does not mean a pleasant warning of future misfortune. Really, according to the gospel, Jesus is saying FUCK YOU to these preachers in no uncertain terms. He is saying that these men who dig through the law (The stuff in the Pentateuch or first five books of the old testament) looking for details they can use to accuse others of being unholy or make themselves seem more holy are actors. Matthew uses a word ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which up until this point had a neutral meaning without a negative connotation, to describe the actions of priests like this, who ignore the heart of the Pentateuch, taking houses from widows, while they make sure to be careful to tithe a tenth of the fruits of their house plants. The way he uses the word hypokrisis, it definitely now has a negative connotation.

Jesus had just clarified what he felt to be the heart of the law in the previous chapter,
Matthew 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The folks at Stonewall are in this far more like Christ that this cardinal and his hypocrisy shows painfully, like a rotting smelly corpse of a soul wrapped in beautiful church vestments, when he describes gay marriage as a "grotesque subversion" of the universal human right to marriage. He is very much like a fool who cleans the outside of a filthy cup while neglecting the inside when he describes marriage as a wonderful sacrement and available to all but attempts to defile it by excluding many. In trying so hard to strain out the imperceptibly small gnat of homosexuality, he swallows the filthy camel of his intolerance and bigotry. From my perspective as a Christian, if there is any problem with Stonewall's award, it is that it is too polite, to kind, and doesn't go far enough.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:18 PM on November 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


howfar: "When she says 'we can speak for ourselves' doesn't it indicate that her concern is with Stonewall as an organisation promoting transphobia, rather than not promoting transgender equality?"

I don't think I understand your question or the intent behind it. Are you asking if transphobia is a different thing from 'merely' not promoting trans rights? Or are you asking whether Ms. Kennedy is pro-trans separatism?
posted by jiawen at 3:26 PM on November 3, 2012


There seems to have been nothing that pissed off Jesus more than religious hypocrisy like this, so much so that he went and fucked shit up, and he described it thusly

Alas For You, from Godspell.

(I keep swearing, I'll never do musical theater again except for Godspell. *sigh*)
posted by hippybear at 4:01 PM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dan Savage Slams Tony Perkins, Michele Bachmann In Winona State University Speech

Dan Savage Calls Tony Perkins’ Bluff To Sue Over ‘Dead Gay Kids’ Remarks
posted by homunculus at 4:08 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gay marriage 'Nazis' and the disgrace of Lord Carey for anyone who is curious.
Contains actual Nazis doing horrible stuff, not the "fun" modern-day Nazis one may expect when seeing a modern-day English lord, royal or other rich person.
posted by Mezentian at 5:27 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


While broadly sympathetic I do not agree with their definition of "bigot". A bigot is not someone who merely shows hatred or intolerance, otherwise I and most of you would be bigots for showing hatred and intolerance to racists, rapists and Nazis, wouldn't we? No, a bigot is someone who clings doggedly to an idea or behaviour through uninformed prejudice or thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction.

A common political tactic of both right and left is to attempt to pervert and redefine language. I resist it no matter which side it comes from. I feel this is important.
posted by Decani at 5:44 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think I understand your question or the intent behind it.

I suppose what I'm trying to get at is whether you feel that Stonewall goes beyond failing to be sufficiently inclusive of and effective for trans people and enters a realm where it actively works to promote transphobia. My reading of the Kennedy piece suggests that her discomfort with the former phenomenon inclines her towards believing in the latter, but I'm not yet sure that I agree with her. Your take suggests that there might be something in my doubt.

The key to my question is me wondering whether Stonewall is an organisation I should carry on financially supporting, albeit with caveats, and possibly addressing these to some extent by looking to make donations to specifically trans-related groups, or whether it is an organisation that I should not give money to until it effects real reform.
posted by howfar at 5:50 PM on November 3, 2012


I obviously recognise that you can't be the voice of my conscience, but input is useful.
posted by howfar at 5:51 PM on November 3, 2012


"No, a bigot is someone who clings doggedly to an idea or behaviour through uninformed prejudice or thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction."

Is it your contention that Cardinal O'Brien, or anyone else who has won Stonewall's award, does not also fit this definition?
posted by Blasdelb at 5:53 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The author of this article should be ashamed of himself for willfully misconstruing what Nelson Jones had to say. In particular because what he said was important.
By continuing to have a Bigot of the Year award, Stonewall is indulging in playground politics that sits ill with its new role as a facilitator of best practice in the public realm.
Stonewall is not the only GLB organization that needs to mature either. Anything goes guerilla tactics are fine when you're an anti-establishment force, but when you are part of the mainstream you are held to a higher standard of conduct. People need to start showing some dignity.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:47 PM on November 3, 2012


People need to start showing some dignity.

What dignity, exactly, should members of a group who have been continually demonized across generations be obligated to show? The dignity which has been denied them routinely by those who continue to insist, against the current of the current of modern opinion, that they aren't actually part of the human family, due the same rights and respect as those heterosexuals who have always been part of the accepted order? The dignity of a group who has been hounded, not only into the closet but to suicide, not just in times past but in the very modern present?

Exactly what dignity are they NOT showing when they name those who would wish to keep them under the thumb of bigoted oppression, despite any clear evidence that they deserve to be treated as anathema... when they name those people as bigots?

I fail to see what the confusion is here. It's not immature to name your clear enemies as enemies. It's immature and self-deluding to continue to pretend they aren't your enemies.
posted by hippybear at 7:01 PM on November 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


It reminds me of the trajectory that led to cultural moral relativism being in vogue.

"cultural moral relativism" and "free speech" are responsible for a lot of the rights and perks that were previously denied to oppressed groups becoming available to them

perhaps making them out as the real tools of oppression is foolish

more to the point, when has criticizing "cultural moral relativism" not been a conservative thing to do, they practically invented the term

looking at the rightward drift in all corners of anglo-national life makes me feel like i'm trying to outrun the collapse of the universe
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:43 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I give no kudos or credence to anyone called a Cardinal. In any religious order or in any form.

I'm a bigot I guess.
posted by Splunge at 8:47 PM on November 3, 2012


howfar: "...or whether it is an organisation that I should not give money to until it effects real reform."

I would tend towards that conclusion. I suppose that if you have enough money, you can give some amount to Stonewall and then some greater amount to organizations that include trans people, but I tend to think that giving money to organizations who are doing wrong things makes them think that they're doing nothing wrong. And Stonewall is definitely doing much that is wrong. Perhaps you could give them some small amount with the caveat that it would be much more if they were fully inclusive, but I don't know how much large organizations like that listen to single donors unless those donors are very, very rich. I tend not to be rich enough to have the luxury of giving to multiple organizations in proportion to their inclusiveness.
posted by jiawen at 9:08 PM on November 3, 2012


O'Brien is just showboating here, he'll be pleased to have been given the award as it makes it look as though he's doing something.

I remember writing him a letter when a priest told a wedding party to "fuck off" at the church reception and he accused me of being a liar (mind you the husband did turn out to be an asshole!).

There's no resources if you get married here anyway, other than sitting in a 'marriage class' where a pompus wee man sits and talks about how he used to own a frozen food factory.

I could go on about this, there's askmes where our situation is well explained and the church did very little to help.

The guy on the phone who listened to my worries then ?

a gay man.

The housing officer that realised how bad our situation was ?

a lesbian.

In short o'brien should get straight marriage right before he opens his trap.

This whole anti gay marriage thing is nothing but a smokescreen designed to hide his own hopeless provision for straight marriage - stonewall are buying into it actually.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:13 AM on November 4, 2012


I'm all for calling a bigot a bigot, but I also think that many times, it's a word that ends a conversation, when we really should be trying to start one.
posted by xedrik at 7:51 AM on November 4, 2012


I also think that many times, it's a word that ends a conversation, when we really should be trying to start one.

It's a conversation I've quit trying to have. Being someone who is kind of personally invested in the issue, what happens during the course of an attempted conversation between me and someone on on the other side is that they say something which makes it obvious to me that they think I'm less than human, I find it impossible to keep from feeling personally attacked, and the conversation steadily goes downhill from there.

We need more straight allies having these conversations for us. Or for me, rather. I'm sure there are others who are better at that kind of thing than I am.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 AM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm all for calling a bigot a bigot, but I also think that many times, it's a word that ends a conversation, when we really should be trying to start one.

Should we? I'm unconvinced. What seems to have worked in Britain, by and large, has involved ignoring the bigots. Real change seems to have come about by just changing laws to provide equal rights to gay people and to stop bigots from acting on their bigotry in the worlds of commerce and employment.

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales, lacked widespread popular support and was hated by many. However, it was a key part in the process of liberalising attitudes to homosexuality, and of the much better, although still very far from perfect, position we find ourselves in now.

Seek consensus with those who are willing to engage? Certainly. Pour energy into dialogue with those who don't wish it? I don't see the point.
posted by howfar at 8:05 AM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Things have reached a slightly ludicrous situation when a gay rights group can be patronised for labelling as "bigots" those individuals who have gone most out of their way not only to prevent gay rights becoming a reality but also to viciously insult and ostracise the entire homosexual community.

Most Unnecessarily Unclear Sentence of the Year Award.
posted by gurple at 4:54 PM on November 3 .


This sentence is an absolute abomination of universally accepted human communication. What's next? We let dogs be journalists!?!
posted by SinisterPurpose at 8:20 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


howfar: Seek consensus with those who are willing to engage? Certainly. Pour energy into dialogue with those who don't wish it? I don't see the point.

Good point. Probably intent should focus the rhetoric, not the other way around. Bigot is a flexible word nowadays. It can refer to anything from racism to chauvinism to homophobia, etc. To be effective, a text using the word bigot would be one that's preaching to the choir, not one that's making a statement to a general audience. Name-calling is a primitive, and largely ineffective, way to make an argument. Labels become the focus of the argument, not any of the injustice or hypocrisy that might clothe the object of the essay. Use the word and get ready for a downward spiraling shitstorm of neenerisms and boogerflicking. Or else make your case another way.

Your point comes in play when you decide to write the essay. To the intransigent I would offer a simple fuck you, or some rhetorical equivalent. Others deserve a reason to hop down on my side of the fence.
posted by mule98J at 9:47 AM on November 4, 2012


It reminds me of the trajectory that led to cultural moral relativism being in vogue.

It reminds me of the bullshit arguments the right wing put out about moral relativism and PC culture. Neither of these things, as imagined by the right, ever actually existed.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:16 PM on November 4, 2012


It's not immature to name your clear enemies as enemies. It's immature and self-deluding to continue to pretend they aren't your enemies.

. . . said Joe McCarthy to Joseph Welch. Welch didn't shut down McCarthy by fixating on what to call him. Martin Luther King didn't see the need for a Bigot Of The Year award. Ghandi didn't pick out a token Brit to hate.

All three of them kept their eyes on the prize and didn't get bogged down with hate that was both divisive and demeaning.

What dignity, exactly, should members of a group who have been continually demonized across generations be obligated to show? The dignity which has been denied them routinely by those who continue to insist, against the current of the current of modern opinion, that they aren't actually part of the human family, due the same rights and respect as those heterosexuals who have always been part of the accepted order? The dignity of a group who has been hounded, not only into the closet but to suicide, not just in times past but in the very modern present.

See, this is the problem. The gay rights movement has made enormous progress in the last ten years but it continues to present itself as an angry petulant child who wants it all, wants it now, and is going to blame someone else until they get it. It is possible to address problems without holding a little hatefest. It is possible to contend with evil without lowering yourself to its level.

Perhaps it's too much to ask that a generation of gay leaders who grew up in the closet suddenly put aside old wounds and concentrate instead on what has been done and what is left to be done. There is a lot of righteous anger there. Fortunately the younger generation of Ameicans skews way gay friendly, so there will be less damaged leaders to come.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:24 AM on November 5, 2012


By the way, if you can show me the NAACP Bigot Of The Year Award I will gladly retract all of the above.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:25 AM on November 5, 2012


GenjiandProust: A bigot is someone who “regards or treats the members of a group … with hatred and intolerance”.

This definition doesn't really go far enough. A bigot also needs to have power to a) express their views relatively safe from reprisal and b) enforce real penalties on the subjects of their bigotry.
This is a nonsensical, personal definition. Archie Bunker had neither quality - much of the comedy relied on his lack of impunity and his powerlessness - and yet he was a stereotype of a bigot.

Words don't mean whatever you want them to (unless you actually are a balance-challenged talking egg).
posted by IAmBroom at 12:08 PM on November 5, 2012


Tell Me No Lies: "Martin Luther King didn't see the need for a Bigot Of The Year award."
Is it really your contention that the American Civil rights movement never labeled anyone a racist or singled out particularly virulent bigots for scorn? WTF? That is just a bizarrely ignorant non-sequitor. Just control-F-ing through MLK's autobiography for "Bull":
"There was one threat to the reign of white supremacy in Birmingham. As an outgrowth of the Montgomery bus boycott, protest movements had sprung up in numerous cities across the South. In Birmingham, one of the nation's most courageous freedom fighters, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, had organized the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights-ACHR-in the spring of 1956. Shuttlesworth a wiry, energetic, and indomitable man, had set out to change Birmingham and to end for all time the terrorist, racist rule of Bull Connor."

"One of the city commissioners, a member of the body that ruled municipal affairs, would be Eugene "Bull" Connor, a racist who prided himself on knowing how to handle the Negro and keep him in his "place." As commissioner of public safety, Bull Connor, entrenched for many years in a key position in the Birmingham power structure, displayed as much contempt for the rights of the Negro as he did defiance for the authority of the federal government."
The Civil Rights movement didn't mince words on exactly what kind of Monster 'Bull' Connor was

Tell Me No Lies:"See, this is the problem. The gay rights movement has made enormous progress in the last ten years but it continues to present itself as an angry petulant child who wants it all, wants it now, and is going to blame someone else until they get it. It is possible to address problems without holding a little hatefest. It is possible to contend with evil without lowering yourself to its level."
In addition to having words for people like Connor, MLK also had words for people like you:
"I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
"
That is from A Letter From Birmingham Jail and I'd like to recommend reading the whole thing. Its not so long.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:59 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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