Sunday, June 19, 2011

Internet Arguments That Piss Me Off: Racism Edition

Confrontations with racists suck, especially when you kinna liked them. But that gives me a reason to bitch and moan about argument forms that annoy me: the racism edition.

1. "It's just a joke"

This is almost always the first lame, pathetic justification that racists use to disguise their awful habits and beliefs. It's okay to be a racist pig because it's supposed to be funny. The flaw in this "reasoning" is the idea that hate speak is incompatible with humor. Obviously, that's not true. It's really easy to make ugly, mean jokes and some of them are pretty funny. But humor is not worth racism plus racism isn't necessary for humor. If you think racist humor is funny, you're a racist. You might also be a comic, but you're definitely a racist.

2. "It's just the way I am/was raised"

Then you are, or were raised, a racist. What? Did you think racists just magically appeared? No. People are racists, actual human beings, and they're usually racist because they were raised that way; racism begets racism, this is a known thing. So, saying that's the way you are or the way you're raised is not a justification for racism, but an acknowledgement of you being a racist.

3. "I belong to persecuted group X therefore I could never be racist towards persecuted group Y"

This one falls apart on two levels. The first is that everyone is discriminated against by someone else, so pretty much anyone can make this claim . . . thus, when applied to racism (or any other kind of social hatred) it falls apart as being without descriptive value because it applies to everyone indiscriminately. It's basically saying that racism doesn't exist because, in the end, everyone is victimized by someone else, justifying racism. Circular reasoning is not high in meaning.

The second way it falls apart is because harm committed against a person does not justify them committing further harm. Just because Louis Farrakhan has really been legitimately persecuted on a bunch of different levels does not justify his anti-Semitism. Because you or your loved ones have been hurt doesn't give you a free pass to hurt other people. Two wrongs still do not make a right.

4. "I have an X friend"

Fortunately, I quit the conversation before the person got to this one. But we've all heard it. Because, y'know, you are on speaking terms with someone from a persecuted group, it's okay to say nasty things about that group. This one has been sufficiently debunked that I doubt I'll go anywhere describing it more.

So, anyway, if you find yourself falling into any of these patterns, you might want to hold up a second and give a thought or two. At least, y'know, if you want to keep talking to me, at any rate.

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