Sunday, August 30, 2009

Words mean things- some definitions

It seems that we (ok not we- but troll d'jour) need(s) a 101 post on hate.

Like I said about misogyny before- if it was just your simple, garden variety of hate, like some people have for brussel sprouts or like I have for walking barefoot on grass, then it would be easy to deal with.

But misogyny, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc. are not simple forms of hate. With simple hate- you avoid the things you hate. I wear flip flops in the park, for example. But with whatever flavor of bigotry (and isn't it interesting how people generally aren't just one flavor of bigot) it's not just a matter of avoiding things that that they hate. Troll d'jour, for example, keeps coming to this blog and commenting. Bigotry is hatred coupled with a need to control or demean, or prejudice plus power- which is the sociologists' definition. (People who use dictionary definitions of different flavors of bigotry are almost always using that very narrow, inaccurate definition to somehow prove that they aren't whatever definition they are using).

I hate walking barefoot in the grass. But I don't hate grass. I don't feel the need to rip up all the grass in the world or limit the ability of grass to grow unrestricted. I don't hate all grass for making me feel uncomfortable or icky. I don't make jokes at the expense of grass, talking about how it lazily it lies there waiting for someone to come water it. It's not slutty grass cause it will let just anybody walk all over it, it wasn't asking to be mowed by letting itself get all tall. I don't hate people who like walking barefoot in the grass. I don't tell grass to go back where it came from.

If I did any of those things, I'd be looked at pretty funny. But bigots do those things all the time, and they think their hatred isn't even hatred. It's common sense or just how things are or even a command from god. They don't understand that doing things like trying to control women's bodies by outlawing medical procedures or forcing them to change their names upon marriage is just as ridiculous as if I went and said that grass can only be grown in 2 foot square patches (so that I can always step over the patch) away from the public view. If i said it was unnatural for two different kinds of grass to cross breed I'd be as bigoted as people who say it's unnatural for two people of the same sex to marry.

But bigotry is hate plus a need to control or demean.

If you think there is ever any situation where a woman forfeits control of her own body, whether it's during pregnancy, or because she wore her skirt too short or had a drink at a bar and was raped, or if she marries and has to get a new name, then you are a misogynist. If you've ever seriously used the word feminazi- you're a misogynist.

If you have ever used the words "lame" or "retarded" as an insult or whined about ADA requirements, (or any number of other things, my abelist repertoire is sadly lacking)you're an abelist.

If you think that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry, or raise children or if you've ever called a transgendered person a "he/she" or an "it" or if you think that gay sex is a sin, you're a homophobe.

If you use the term "illegal immigrant" and honestly think that a person's mere existence on one side of a border is a crime, you're a racist. If you think that racial stereotypes exist for a reason, you're a racist. If you think there is such a thing as reverse racism, you're a racist.

If you want to control or demean people based on an intrinsic trait that they cannot control, then you are a bigot. It doesn't matter if you THINK that your intentions are not to control or demean or to hate. Bigotry does not require intention.

And truthfully, I couldn't care less if you hate me. I do get seriously pissed off when you try to control me or insult me because of that hate. If all the haters did was cut themselves off from the things they hate, then bigotry would be like walking barefoot in grass.

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