It seems that I can not avoid people expressing bigoted opinions. They are everywhere and they frustrate and occasionally disgust me. I am sure that it is just not Americans that spew so much hatred against any group that are not just like them. But I live here in the good old U.S. and I notice how often I am exposed to bigoted comments.
I walk down the street and overhear bigoted comments far too often. But it is worse among people that know me and know my feelings about this kind of thinking. Regardless of my replies to them, friends and even some family, continue to email or tell me incredibly blatant bigoted filth. When I protest and point out the bigotry, they respond that they were promoting discussion or sharing humor.
Well, I never found Archie Bunker humorous. In my thinking, Archie popularized bigotry. My opinion then has not changed over the years. In fact, my perception then has been reinforced by our culture today. I believe that society learned not to become less bigoted but instead people learned they could hide their hatred and bigotry behind humor.
This mask of hatred is everywhere and in every subculture in America. Before I retired, I consulted throughout the county and had to endure vile statements against almost every race, culture, religion, etc. I heard it in conference rooms, corporate workout locker rooms, private offices and elevators. Most of it was couched in a form of humor or even “intellectual discussion”. As if there is anything intellectual about “Did you ever notice that all (identifiable group) are (generality)?”.
It is not just we white folk either. I hear it across the board. Watch television, read the opinion section of the newspaper or the letters to the editor and you will hear it over and over again. Whites are, blacks are, Mexicans are, foreigners are, gays are, atheists are, Asians are, Muslims are, etc. etc. etc.
It is time for people to change their beliefs and to preach to themselves and others that bigotry of any kind is wrong. We must tell each other that it is not only wrong to practice bigotry but that it is just as wrong to have bigoted thoughts and comments. It is not enough for us to be “Politically Correct” but to alter our thinking about the subject entirely. I hear a lot of people talking about political correctness but I simply don’t encounter it much. I am more inclined to believe that phrase needs to be removed from our lexicon. Political correctness is not only ineffective in combating hatred and bigotry it subconsciously reinforces the feeling that bigotry and hatred are okay as long as we suppress them.
We can legislate against acts of bigotry and hatred, but not these thoughts. However, individually each of us can become much more vocal and protest strongly when we are confronted with them. Many people don’t recognize that they are promoting bigotry and hatred with their comments. But they will after we tell them repeatedly.
The following are only a few of the links available for you to gain more insight into this problem.
- Tolerance dot Org
- Anti-Defamation League
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Human Rights Campaign
- Muslim American Society
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
- American Friends Service Committee
- Open Directory – Religious Tolerance
- Global PeaceWorks