This is not a complaint thread, this is a thread that poses a legitimate, if controversial question.
This is not a thread for complaining. Recently, someone I respect and care for has accused me of being antisemitic. The more I tried to reassure them that I wasn't, the more they said I was digging myself deeper. That me being not mindful of being antisemitic meant that I could be and not notice it. That I didn't need to be like the KKK or the Nazis or the Spanish Inquisition to be an antisemite: that there was a continuum, in which I could unwittingly find myself.
This filled me with grief. Not because I care for my reputation or the esteem that person had for me, but because I couldn't imagine how horrible it could be to live with such a mindset. Anyone could be an enemy, after you and those like you, for something you did not even choose but were born into. And I was incapable of reassuring them that just this one person, me, was not a threat, was not malevolent or prejudiced towards them. They are living a nightmare, and I can't help at all, I can't even make one piece of their world feel safer. Seldom have I felt so powerless...
Many people are behind the times, and maintain a prejudice against Once Acceptable Targets
that are not so anymore. Given that the prejudice is socially damaging, they hide behind legitimate arguments to strike against the objects of their Irrational Hatred
(or contempt, or fear, or...). This can make things difficult to benevolent people who do not share those intentions when they put forwards the same, legitimate arguments.
If someone protests against being accused of prejudice against an ethnic or cultural group, when can we believe them?
Suppose that, for example, you make an argument against Zionism, and that you are accused of being an antisemite. How do you prove your inquisitors wrong? But, then again, should you have to? But then again, are you, unknowingly? Are you in need of a Heel Relization
Or suppose that, for example, you make an argument against some (negative, "stereo")typical behavior of one ethnic group or another, calling those who perpetrate them to Stop Being Stereotypical
... but you aren't a member of said group. Could you reasonably be accused of racism? How would you fend it off? How would you distinguish yourself from someone who would say the same things out of malicious prejudice? Can't a "white" person speak badly of BET or Tyler Perry
As a matter of fact, even supposing the accusations were true, that the person arguing against Zionism, or BET, or the Islamic Veil, is, in fact, doing it out of prejudice... isn't it unfair, in terms of debate, to use the Ad Hominem
, the Genetic Fallacy
that, because their intentions are evil, their arguments are necessarily false? Wouldn't it be better, stronger, more virtuous, to simply take apart the substance of what they have to say?
Is this not an Abomination Accusation Attack
? Is this not damaging for both the accuser and the accused? Isn't it intolerable, to have this mindset, to live in this world, where there is "you" and "those who are like you", and every single one of "the others" is liable to be plotting to opress you, deride you, make you feel like less of a person?
How can one ever feel comfortable among "others"? How can one ever trust again?
edited 22nd Aug '12 2:51:19 PM by TheHandle
"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours." Yogi Berra.