Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are You a Racist or a Bigot?

 

At the Diaspora Museum here in Israel, I saw a video of an Ethiopian Woman, and this was her story:

As a child, her mother deserted her with no explanation. Understandably her sense of abandonment was overwhelming. She waited for her mother to return; she checked every woman on the streets to see if one might be her mother. She never saw her again. When she came to Israel, she continued relentlessly to search for her mother. In the meantime, she became a sculptor, married, and had a family.

She said that once she became a mother herself, she stopped looking for her mother, although many of her sculptures represent her mother; when she sells one, she makes another to replace it. In telling her story, not once did she claim racism, although Ethiopian Jews are known to be victims of racism in Israel. She knew she was entitled to choose her view of the world.

After reading @thomasanger’s recent post, @hypatia‘s recent post and the comment that @rodin made about racism on her post, I began to contemplate what it means to be a racist and to be a victim of racism. I’m white, and the fact is that I do notice if people are different races; I grew up around white people and notice differences. So what? Even if I had a negative internal reaction to a person for whatever reason, is that racism? I think that Progressives would say yes.

But this is a definition of racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. The key words in this definition are directed against. Although the thought police would say otherwise, I am entitled, as a human being, to think whatever I wish about any other person. Now a Progressive may say, if you think that way, you will act that way. Says who? I might want to punch a person who calls me a racist, but common decency and common sense prevent me from doing so. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t necessarily act as I think, but I act as I choose to act.

Which brings me to my next point. I can’t prove that all Progressives are racists (although I would suggest that their policies toward blacks are just that) but they are, by definition, bigots. The definition of bigots is intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself. And conservatives are subject to their bigotry. I would add that they are entitled to feel however they wish, but as soon as they verbally attack us as homophobes, racists, islamophobes, and so on, they are acting as bigots. A Progressive may tell you that their accusations about us are not bigotry, but they meet the definition perfectly. If you look at the definition of bigotry, it doesn’t say except for conservatives.

Just as the Ethiopian woman described above refuses to let the racism and bigotry toward her detract from her life, I won’t let the bigotry of Progressives tarnish mine. But I also won’t stand by silently any longer. I will simply hold up the mirror, and point out that they are demonstrating the hatred of bigotry. How would I do that?

Let’s say a person initiates the usual invective against conservatives/Republicans. I would very calmly ask the person if he or she realizes that those comments meet the definition of bigotry: a bigot is intolerant toward those who hold different opinions of oneself. I suspect, for starters, that would stop the ranter in his or her tracks. Then I might say, look, I’m not a racist, and I would like to think you are not a bigot, so let’s call a truce and talk about something we can agree on without attacking each other. What do you say?

I’m not looking to pick a fight. But if someone makes an anti-Semitic comment, or an anti-Israel comment, or an anti-black comment, or any other racist or bigoted comment, I wouldn’t stand by. I would need to speak up, calmly and assuredly. It is a matter of principle.

We can certainly differ on policies and philosophies, but I don’t think it serves anyone to attack people because we disagree with ideas. We all share this planet and go through similar struggles with life; let’s allow not just for the diversity of cultures and races, but for the diversity of ideas, too.

So what do you think?

There are 42 comments.

  1. Stina Inactive

    You are way too nice to be real. Are you an angel?

    On a serious note, I have pointed out someone was acting as a bigot towards me. They unfriended me on facebook.

    I don’t interact much with people outside anymore. First, I’m very busy with taking care of home and family, second it just doesn’t seem worth it.

    • #1
    • November 14, 2017, at 5:48 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    Do I have to pick one?

    • #2
    • November 14, 2017, at 6:12 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Rodin Member

    @susanquinn, as usual your post is wonderfully crafted and thought provoking. What is particularly useful was the statement of definitions for racism and bigotry. Racism has a second meaning as well: Discrimination or prejudice based on race. It is this second meaning I was focusing upon in my comment cited in your post.

    (This second meaning does not require a sense of superiority. In fact one could feel inferior and still be racist defensively. That is, projecting superior attitudes on someone who’s race you do not share simply because of their race without knowing or understand that person’s individual attitudes.)

    The “racism” definition you stated explains something that had been confusing me: Why progressives shifted from “racism” to “white supremacy” in their talking points. The second meaning of racism (inferring personal attributes solely on the basis of race, racial solidarity) is a very natural consequence of identity politics. But the the definition you stated adds the whiff of superiority. Because the one meaning of racism had lost its political potency, progressives shifted to the other meaning — freeing them to assign racism to only one racial group.

    Racism is the negation of individuality even in the absence of superior feelings possessed or projected. It is important to keep this in mind when speaking about race and racial attitudes.

    • #3
    • November 14, 2017, at 6:32 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. DocJay Inactive

    I’ve had moments I’m not proud of in life, yet don’t let them , and certainly not the actions of others , define me.

    • #4
    • November 14, 2017, at 7:02 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. I Shot The Serif Member

    Leftists changed the meaning of racism. Now it has nothing to do with your own personal behavior, really. By being white, you are complicit in the System, and that is racist. The best thing you can do is fight the racism exactly how you are told, but even then, you will still be racist. Kind of makes being called ‘racist’ lose its bite.

    Edit: I was reminded that I left out an important part. White people benefit from the System.

    • #5
    • November 14, 2017, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stina (View Comment):
    On a serious note, I have pointed out someone was acting as a bigot towards me. They unfriended me on facebook

    Trust me–I am no angel, and I lose it now an then. It sounds like the unfriending was a plus, Stina!

    • #6
    • November 14, 2017, at 8:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Do I have to pick one?

    Nope. You can choose both if you’d like to, Randy. At one time or another, I probably am both!

    • #7
    • November 14, 2017, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    @susanquinn, as usual your post is wonderfully crafted and thought provoking. What is particularly useful was the statement of definitions for racism and bigotry. Racism has a second meaning as well: Discrimination or prejudice based on race. It is this second meaning I was focusing upon in my comment cited in your post.

    (This second meaning does not require a sense of superiority. In fact one could feel inferior and still be racist defensively. That is, projecting superior attitudes on someone who’s race you do not share simply because of their race without knowing or understand that person’s individual attitudes.)

    The “racism” definition you stated explains something that had been confusing me: Why progressives shifted from “racism” to “white supremacy” in their talking points. The second meaning of racism (inferring personal attributes solely on the basis of race, racial solidarity) is a very natural consequence of identity politics. But the the definition you stated adds the whiff of superiority. Because the one meaning of racism had lost its political potency, progressives shifted to the other meaning — freeing them to assign racism to only one racial group.

    Racism is the negation of individuality even in the absence of superior feelings possessed or projected. It is important to kept this in mind when speaking about race and racial attitudes.

    Excellent points, all, Rodin! Thank you for expanding on the definition, too. The Progressives are always changing their terms when they don’t work as well as they’d like. I think your last point on the negation of individuality is a key one: when we get lumped together, on the Left or the Right, it is a lazy and untrue label. Thanks so much.

    • #8
    • November 14, 2017, at 8:22 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I’ve had moments I’m not proud of in life, yet don’t let them , and certainly not the actions of others , define me.

    Precisely, doc. We all mess up, but hopefully we learn from those moments and integrate them into our understanding of the world. Hopefully. . . .

    • #9
    • November 14, 2017, at 8:29 AM PST
    • Like
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):
    Leftists changed the meaning of racism. Now it has nothing to do with your own personal behavior, really. By being white, you are complicit in the System, and that is racist. The best thing you can do is fight the racism exactly how you are told, but even then, you will still be racist. Kind of makes being called ‘racist’ lose its bite.

    Thanks for commenting, Serif. I quite frankly am little bothered by being called racist, just because it has lost its meaning. But it is still untrue, and I’m reluctant to let people keep using whatever terms or descriptions they use. It’s just plain wrong and unacceptable. If enough of us would call them on their bad behavior, one person at a time, who knows what kind of impact they might have. I get a lot of satisfaction when I speak the truth to their bigotry–that’s how I remain calm in those situations. I have truth (and my own integrity) on my side.

    • #10
    • November 14, 2017, at 8:33 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Henry Racette Contributor

    Susan Quinn: So what do you think?

    I think I’m sexist. But that’s just good sense.

    • #11
    • November 14, 2017, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: So what do you think?

    I think I’m sexist. But that’s just good sense.

    Now there’s an honest man, Hank! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just publicly own who we are and not worry about being crucified? That would definitely drive the Left around the bend. But then, maybe that’s good thing?

    • #12
    • November 14, 2017, at 9:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. KentForrester Coolidge

    Susan, thanks again for thinking hard about something I’m disinclined or too lazy to think hard about

    BTW, the NFL kneelers are, in effect, calling everyone in the U.S. (except blacks, of course) racists.

    So we now know, in a very public and dramatic way, that many blacks in the NFL think that their core audience—the ones that, ultimately pay their marvelous salaries—are racist fools. Is that some kind of winning strategy? I sure as hell hope not.

    Kent

    • #13
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:08 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Merrijane Thatcher

    Sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to deal with things, though I suppose results will vary depending on the person you’re conversing with. Also, some far-left, radical definitions of racism essentially make it impossible for white people not to be racist, so I often wonder what the point is of arguing about it anyway.

    • #14
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:10 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    The NFL kneelers are, in effect, calling everyone in the U.S. (except blacks, of course) racists.

    So we now know, in a very public and dramatic way, that many blacks in the NFL think that their core audience—the ones that, ultimately pay their marvelous salaries—are racist fools. Is that some kind of winning strategy? I sure as hell hope not.

    Kent

    Well said, Kent. You are correct; that is precisely what they are saying. And in doing so, they are making bigoted statements as well. And I hope if I spoke to one of them he wouldn’t be foolish enough to say, just like a black can’t be called a racist, he can’t be called a bigot. Wanna bet?

    • #15
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:11 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Merrijane (View Comment):
    Also, some far-left, radical definitions of racism essentially make it impossible for white people not to be racist, so I often wonder what the point is of arguing about it anyway

    I might not follow these statements as closely as you do, Merrijane. Could you give me an example (and I’m not putting you on the spot). I’m trying to imagine what they might say that would apply to me.

    • #16
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:14 AM PST
    • Like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I do want to add another point that I believe is important. Many of you, like @henryracette advocate having reasonable conversations with people. Believe it or not, I don’t do that very well because the people on the Left whom I’ve talked to tend to be ill-informed, irrational, and overly emotional. I admit that I lack patience with those folks. I’m not against people who want to initiate those conversations, but I’m talking about boundary management: setting limits on attacks that people on the Left wage that I take personally. By calmly commenting on the parallels between what they are calling conservatives and their own behavior, I hope to stop them short. And then follow up with a civil conversation. If they choose not to do that, it’s fine. But I’ve put them on notice that they can’t just throw out mindless and angry attacks when I’m present.

    • #17
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:29 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  18. Merrijane Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Merrijane (View Comment):
    Also, some far-left, radical definitions of racism essentially make it impossible for white people not to be racist, so I often wonder what the point is of arguing about it anyway

    I might not follow these statements as closely as you do, Merrijane. Could you give me an example (and I’m not putting you on the spot). I’m trying to imagine what they might say that would apply to me.

    I wish I had specific statements to pinpoint—I’ll keep my eyes open to see if I can direct you to them later. But it’s like @rodin said earlier about terms shifting from racism to white supremacy. Campus radical types seem now to be saying that it doesn’t matter the relative income, education, opportunities, or actual beliefs and behaviors of the individuals in question—if you are white, then you were born into a privilege that a person of color doesn’t have. This then morphs into the notion that it’s impossible for a non-white person to be racist, while white people are almost instinctively racist.

    I can see how the privilege argument applies in cases of a black man getting pulled over for “driving while black” (especially if his car is really nice), or a black congressman always having to show his ID to Capitol security while whites do not, or any number of such injustices based solely on the color of someone’s skin. But to me it does not follow that a person of color can’t be racist or a white person must be racist because of this. It just seems like they’ve conflated false ideas together with true ones so they can justify their specific flavor of bigotry.

    • #18
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:35 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Israel P. Inactive

    Susan Quinn: Are You a Racist or a Bigot?

    Is this a binary choice?

    • #19
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):
    Leftists changed the meaning of racism. Now it has nothing to do with your own personal behavior, really. By being white, you are complicit in the System, and that is racist. The best thing you can do is fight the racism exactly how you are told, but even then, you will still be racist. Kind of makes being called ‘racist’ lose its bite.

    It makes the concept of “racism” meaningless, but it doesn’t lose its bite; its a weapon employed by the Left in pretty much the same way “witch” was employed against people during inquisitions (when directed against individuals), or the way anti-Semites claimed that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ (when used as a “sociological” theory regarding “systemic racism”). The only thing stopping things from going beyond frequent violent rhetoric, occasional violent action, and ubiquitous job endangerment are the vestiges of (classical) liberal values and institutions they seek to destroy on the altar of “social justice”.

    The only differences between the dominant progressive ideology and the worst segments of the Alt-Right are a.) the targets and b.) only the former has the numbers and power to be considered a credible threat.

    • #20
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:44 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Merrijane (View Comment):
    But to me it does not follow that a person of color can’t be racist or a white person must be racist because of this. It just seems like they’ve conflated false ideas together with true ones so they can justify their specific flavor of bigotry.

    Thanks, Merrijane. I think the privilege argument is nonsense. We all have difficulties and roadblocks we have to deal with. There are people who probably didn’t want to work with me when I was consulting because I was a Jew. I’m quite certain I probably wasn’t selected for projects because I was a woman. (They wouldn’t say that, but I could sense a discomfort with me.) It didn’t bother me if they had that bias; some men (especially from certain Asian countries) don’t respect or like working with women. Why would I want to work with a manager who was uncomfortable with my being a woman? In the name of fairness or equality? If a person used the “white privilege” argument with me, I’d probably (calmly of course) have that person explain their thinking, ask for examples, and we could go down that road (after I explained that their comment was bigoted, of course!) I think we need to challenge them on their irrational stereotyping, or they will just continue to do it.

    • #21
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:46 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Israel P. (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Are You a Racist or a Bigot?

    Is this a binary choice?

    Check out my comment #7 to Randy Webster. ;-)

    • #22
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:48 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):
    The only differences between the dominant progressive ideology and the worst segments of the Alt-Right are a.) the targets and b.) only the former has the numbers and power to be considered a credible threat.

    I appreciate the points you’ve made, redneck. I only disagree with the idea that they are a credible threat; they are only a threat if we allow ourselves to be intimidated by them. We can’t afford to let their attacks go unanswered; if we do, we will be seen as reluctantly agreeing with them. I believe we have more power than that. But I could be wrong.

    • #23
    • November 14, 2017, at 10:53 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Merrijane Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think the privilege argument is nonsense.

    Yes, it is nonsense in a lot of ways, especially if hinged on the idea that only whites are privileged. But I do recognize that privilege exists—I am exceptionally privileged to have been born in this country to loving parents who made sure I was well educated and during a time when technology and medical advances have made life much more pleasant than, say, during medieval England. In common parlance, we would call this being “blessed,” though I am not any more intrinsically valuable than someone born in any other time, place, or race. I believe this kind of privilege comes with the responsibility to be generous and patient with others, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I am racist or the under-priveleged are not.

    • #24
    • November 14, 2017, at 11:02 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Merrijane (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think the privilege argument is nonsense.

    Yes, it is nonsense in a lot of ways, especially if hinged on the idea that only whites are privileged. But I do recognize that privilege exists—I am exceptionally privileged to have been born in this country to loving parents who made sure I was well educated and during a time when technology and medical advances have made life much more pleasant than, say, during medieval England. In common parlance, we would call this being “blessed,” though I am not any more intrinsically valuable than someone born in any other time, place, or race. I believe this kind of privilege comes with the responsibility to be generous and patient with others, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I am racist or the under-priveleged are not.

    Beautifully said, Merrijane. I suspect that those who have adopted the victim mentality (which is a terrible tragedy) don’t recognize that they share at least some of the same privileges. One of the greatest is being a part of this amazing country.

    • #25
    • November 14, 2017, at 11:24 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Old Bathos Member

    Growing up, I knew a lot of racists. Most of them had rather elaborate yet stupid theories about inherent racial traits. Not a lot of overt malice but lots of fixed expectations and assumptions.

    One evening my grandmother (an exceptional not a “typical” white woman like Obama’s) and I were watching one of the first episodes of Mission Impossible, the TV show from the 1960s. It featured Greg Morris, one of the first African-Americans to be a TV regular and more exceptional, he was the team’s technical guru and engineering whiz. That this was contrary to all black stereotypes of the era is a major understatement. Now, black tech nerds are a standard meme in movies and TV but Morris was the first. Anyway, he had just build some incredible device–the key to the mission and Granny said: “My, that little darkie sure is handy.”

    I still laugh when I recall that statement. Genuine surprise, admiration combined with strangely crippled expectations and a special kind of innocence.

    She hated watching Endicott Peabody and other self-important New Englanders coming to the South to protest treatment of blacks because she grew up Irish in Boston and knew first-hand the overt Yankee bigotry. She married a Southern gentlemen and had little use for redneck culture nor anything that was not both gentile and consonant with the Faith.

    The racism of people like my grandmother was susceptible to experience and reason. The dignity and articulate manner of the leaders of the civil rights movement had an enormous effect. People of goodwill could be moved. King was right.

    Unlike today’s SJW bigots, the typical racist of yore could give reasons for his/her racial beliefs. They were invariably empirically silly but the bigot of yore felt some obligation to be able to articulate a cogent account of one’s position. You couldn’t just yell the equivalent of “You’re Hitler” and regard that as a winning argument. Only the redneck goober hard core could suspend discursive reason in favor of hateful emotive myth. And even in the Old South that posture was regarded as déclassé in most circles.

    It is appalling that our new bigots are most prevalent in our former academic centers of higher learning. We have produced an entire generation whose majority cannot formally reason their way through anything more challenging than a McDonald’s menu much less cogently argue broad policy and ethical issues. The belief that feelings unfettered by the patriarchal tyranny of logic is the height of understanding can yield forms of bigotry that are more extreme even less amenable to reason and experience. Why we feel so intensely divided is largely due to the inability to engage in normal discourse.

    • #26
    • November 14, 2017, at 1:16 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. civil westman Inactive

    Susan, if and when you attempt to have this discussion with a proglodyte, you will likely be informed that expecting words – like bigot – to have the meaning stated in the dictionary is merely a pathologic symptom of your “whiteness.” And that will be the end of the discussion. Reason only applies to the extent it can be tortured to support liberal positions. The whole point of the exercise is to keep anyone who deviates from liberal orthodoxy on the defensive. That an interchange of ideas is not desired by the left is readily apparent in the fact that their entire strategy is to try to force anyone who disagrees with first having to say “I am not a racist.” It’s like asking you when you stopped beating your spouse. No win. That is the point. It can only be settled when one side is defeated in an undeniable fashion, and it is difficult to see a peaceful resolution. We are in Mao-ist times.

    • #27
    • November 14, 2017, at 1:19 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  28. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    And whoever it was who came up with the definition of Racism that involved having to be “the one who has the power” is full of it. Just because someone thought it up doesn’t make it true.

    • #28
    • November 14, 2017, at 2:17 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  29. Randy Webster Member

    civil westman (View Comment):
    proglodyte

    I like that. Is it yours?

    • #29
    • November 14, 2017, at 3:11 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. Sash Member

    I actually think Progressives think that not noticing race is also racist.

    I have actually not realized a couple of friends were African American… I kinda noticed they were something I guess, maybe hispanic or something but I didn’t give it any thought. Then was surprised when race came up and they said they were African American!

    Recently I was having dinner with one of these friends, (now know that race is an important part of his identity, I respect that.) Anyway, at dinner, he asked another woman at dinner, “what is your ethnicity” she is from the Dominican Republic. I don’t’ think I could ever, ever, ever, say those words, “What is your ethnicity?” I would be so afraid they would think I was racist! But I was glad he did, it made it simpler to just know.

    I was told once that if you don’t notice race then it means you aren’t compassionate to their unique problems. At that point, I give up. It is actually impossible to be non-racist.

    • #30
    • November 14, 2017, at 5:40 PM PST
    • 3 likes