12 thoughts on “Moral superiority”

  1. I think that bringing up issues of bigotry can change some peoples’ minds. Additionally, by helping to create an environment where bigotry is not welcome, you’re encouraging others to eschew bigotry.

  2. Have you actually ever changed someone’s mind on an issue of bigotry, or did you just come across as high-handed and pedantic? (And I’m not picking on you personally — I mean more generally.) Both sides sound dogmatic and preachy to the other.

    As far as creating an environment where bigotry isn’t welcome, the above still holds. Instead of changing minds, isn’t the response more likely to be, “*sigh*, I can’t even say ‘fag’ jokingly at Greg’s house. Let’s not have dinner there.” So they’re really just eschewing bigotry in your presence… which isn’t winning.

  3. You know how well my memory works. But I do remember at least getting people to go, “Okay, yeah, that’s not cool.” The trick is, I think, to not be high-handed and pedantic. If you get to the point where they’re justifying themselves to you, then I do think it’s a lost cause.

    And I’m just fine with people eschewing bigotry in my presence. I don’t want to hear that shit.

  4. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re getting older, but everyone justifies themselves. I can think of a handful of instances in the last year (arguments about reclaiming slurs, trying to get friends of a certain ethnic type, gay jokes being okay, etc.) that have all ended with the same tired old justifications (“Well, I’m gay, so it’s okay,” or “I’m black and want more black friends,” or “Light-skinned folks are always adored, so I’m turning the tables,” etc.). And because they took gender studies classes, belong to a suspect group, and/or use “cunt” in a progressive way, sure the issues have already been considered and this bigotry isn’t bigotry because they’re already cognizant of what bigotry is (and it isn’t what’s being discussed).

    Only eschewing bigotry in your presence only serves to make you more comfortable. You can go, “Hey, look this is a bigot-free zone,” but all you’ve done is shovel the flaming poo from your front porch onto the street. It’s still there, and it’s still stanktastic.

  5. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Many people won’t change their attitudes just because I say so, but by creating that bigot-unfriendly environment, I can apply pressure that, over time and with enough other people working at it, will change attitudes. And it helps encourage people with unformed attitudes to form positive ones. Not everyone has thought about or decided their perspective on every issue, even at our age.

  6. I think I’m more pessimistic than you. I know very few people our age that don’t think they have the answers to bigotry types of questions. Maybe I’m living wrong. 😛

  7. Calling a spade a spade is always fair. I perfer to call someone out explicitly, then move on. Dwelling is never helpful.

    Of course, I’m not exactly the least biased person around…

  8. I think it’s important to bring up if it bothers you. I’m with guyblade, I’d rather point it out quickly if it bothers me (and vice versa) then let it become an unmentioned issue. I do not really care if it’s a sense of moral superiority, and it really does not have to be, as Gregory basically said.

    Personally though, Gregory and I define bigotry a bit differently. I take it more on the level of intention.

  9. But what’s the point of complaining about it if it doesn’t change anything?

  10. Well that is an unknown outcome. You cannot possibly know if it will or won’t change anything until you bring it up with the person. If they do not budge, then yes I agree with you, you should probably shut up as you have stated your stance and there is no reason to press it further.

    I really only find racism an issue, personally, when it is intentionally malicious.

  11. So you’re perfectly fine with people being racist/sexist/-ist as hell so long as they’re “only joking”?

  12. Sorry didn’t see a response here earlier.

    I’m fine with people being racist/sexist if all present parties are aware of the joke and the teller is clearly telling it as a joke, not maliciously. Anything can be said offensively or inoffensively, I don’t see how these topics are any exception.

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