How to justify bigotry

Image: New Civil Rights Movement
Do you ever wonder how people can say insanely bigoted stuff with a straight face? Well, read this interview with a seller of the “Don’t Re-Nig” bumper stickers for some insight. Paula Smith trots out all the old standbys to prove she’s not a bigot:
  • The ‘It’s just a joke.’ (aka: don’t be so sensitive/ you’re over-reacting/ we’re past that).
  • The ‘Not Me.’ (aka: someone else said it, not me — I’m just repeating it/ passing it forward.)
  • The ‘You’re Misinterpreting’ (aka: the dictionary definition/ I wouldn’t get offended if it were me)
  • The ‘Doesn’t Apply’ (aka: special snowflake/ the bigoted connotations of this joke do not actually apply to the specific subject of this joke, therefore not bigoted!)
  • The ‘I have _______ friends!’ (aka: hate the sin but love the sinner/ I’m not racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic because I have close _____ friends!)
If you ever find yourself defending a racist, sexist, or homophobic ‘joke’ with any of these, I recommend you stop and really examine your attitudes and how you’re coming across. Who are you making comfortable with your remarks? Bigots, or victims?
Another way to put it might be like this: If you crack a rape joke, you’re perpetuating rape culture. You’re making rapists feel comfortable, not rape victims. You are contributing to rape culture. In the same way, when you crack a racist joke — or sexist or homophobic joke — think for a minute about which culture you’re perpetuating. You’re making the bigots feel comfortable, like their views are widely accepted and shared. You are perpetuating a culture of bigotry.
Just some food for thought.

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