BIGOTRY: REAL VERSUS IMAGINED
Carol Moore - 12/10/07 Version
very easy for politically confused, dominating or disruptive
individuals, groups or government entities to sow dissension by
exploiting the very subjective ways that “bigotry” can be
regarded by various people. The fact that people may be members both of
groups which have oppressed others and ones that are oppressed makes
things even more confusing and subjective. That is why all of us must
be aware of the various categories of real and imagined bigotry.
Awareness can make one sensibly wary of those who are quick to
make harsh accusations. Let us all be willing to discuss the
issues of bigotry, domination and oppression openly, honestly and
following are categories of real bigotry, though whether specific words
or acts fall into them can be highly subjective and open to debate.
HARD BIGOTRY: Hatred or dislike of, or contempt for, members of any group because
of sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, or other characteristics;
can be held by members of both oppressor and oppressed groups,
including towards members of their own group; can be anger or revenge
for past or current wrongs, real or perceived; or can be ideological;
not easily ameliorated.
BIGOTRY: Can be similar to hard bigotry, or a product
of insensitivity, poor education, unfamiliarity with members
of other groups, or immature attempts at “humor”; but
individuals are capable of changing attitudes with education and
association with members of the disliked groups.
SOFT OR COVERT BIGOTRY: Not aware of, willing to admit, caring about or willing to speak out against the oppression
suffered by members of any group, including out of fear of retribution
from oppressor groups.
following are categories of imagined - or even falsely charged - bigotry, though whether specific
words or acts fall into them can be highly subjective and open to
debate. These categories can overlap.
CONFLICTS AMONG OPPRESSED GROUPS OVER RELATIVE OPPRESSION:
Members of groups oppressed because of sex, sexual orientation,
race, ethnicity, religion or class may clash over which group
represents the "most basic form of oppression," or suffers the most
oppression in general or in specific situations. They also may clash over whether members of a group
banding together for mutual protection and advancement itself becomes
oppressive, either within small segments of society, or especially when
the group gains sufficient clout in government to advance their agenda.
And, of course, there may come a point when the great majority of
people within the larger society may feel that "in-group solidarity" of
one formerly oppressed group has become more oppressive towards the
majority than any current oppression suffered by the oppressed group.
OPPOSITION TO ANY MENTION OF GROUP DIFFERENCES: Anyone, including members
of oppressed or oppressor groups, may oppose any mention of differences
within or among sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, etc. groups for any
reason, claiming that is bigotry. This may be one means of dealing with the conflicts over relative oppression. However, too often it is manipulated to suppress complaints about oppressive behaviors by lone individuals or organized groups of individuals.
OPPOSITION TO ANALYSIS OF OPPRESSION: Anyone, including members
of oppressed or oppressor groups, may oppose having their motivations
and behaviors analyzed or studied, even by academics, and claim that
any such effort is inherently bigoted. As above, this may
be one means of dealing with the conflicts over relative oppression. However, too
often it is manipulated to suppress complaints about oppressive behaviors by lone individuals or organized groups of individuals.
ANGER OF THE OPPRESSED: Those in denial about, or who do not understand
or sympathize with, oppressed groups’ real oppression may assert
that angry statements or analysis are bigoted; when members of one
oppressed group complain about the behavior toward them of another
oppressed group they may find themselves charged with bigotry.
However, it is true that at some point the anger
of the oppressed may itself becomes bigotry against all members of the
oppressor group, although that will always be a matter subject to
OVER-REACTION TO INNOCENT MISSTATEMENTS: Anyone, including members of oppressed or oppressor groups,
may claim that clumsy or inaccurate, but innocent, statements are
bigoted; the willingness to explain and/or correct such statements is
useful to deciding if statements are bigoted.
FALSE ACCUSATIONS: Anyone, including members
of oppressed or oppressor groups, may falsely claim words or deeds are
bigoted; they even may claim people have made statements or committed
acts they have not; the motivations for false allegations may be
paranoia, impulse to protect one’s group, bigotry, and/or gaining
or maintaining economic, social or political dominance and
supremacy. Exposing and fighting false accusations is especially
important when they are made to intimidate or dominate.