Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Fight Against Racism and Bigotry Continues. . .

Racists, even the worst, most blatant sort, tend to look for justifications for their hate. The most ignorant forms of racism rely on very basic forms of hate speech, reducing its targets to a non-human-status or mere animal. Primitive racists alienate 'the other' by calling them 'savages' or 'lazy' or 'smelly' or 'stupid.' It doesn't much matter what adjective they use, they all have the same object - to mischaracterize and reduce.  

As society "progresses" racism and bigotry grow more 'sophisticated,' and people begin to construct elaborate excuses and justifications for their hateful beliefs. Because in modern society it has grown increasingly unacceptable to simply express blatantly racist beliefs, people find supposedly reasoned justifications for their hatred. These excuses largely come in the form of some kind of supposed threat posed by "the other." In the US racists have created an elaborate narrative about millions of so-called "illegal aliens" who threaten to somehow undermine the integrity of the political and social culture of the United States. Anti-Gay bigots have a similar narrative about the legalization of gay marriage. They kept telling us that it will disrupt and eventually destroy society. 

One of the most troubling forms of racism and bigotry is that which evokes the notion of "security" to justify its hatred. Worse yet is the growing practice of promoting bigotry in the name of freedom. This strategy targets the practices of religious minorities and tells us that only by curtailing those freedoms will the rest of our freedoms be protected and guaranteed. So our government trades on ancient fears and hatred of Muslims and attempts to tell people what "not" to wear as though that will keep the rest of us 'free.' Such "leadership" on the part of the government has the knock-on effect of creating public space for the expression of underlying feelings of racism and bigotry. To trade on this increase in acceptable racism the government seeks to create a 'snitch' line whereby you report on the actions of your racialized neighbours, giving it the name of "barbaric practices" tip-line, thus creating in the public mind an association between certain groups and barbarism, further stoking the fire of racism. This is, of course, an entirely contrived attempt at promoting hatred and fear in the population given that all the supposed "barbaric" practices are those practiced by racialized people and are all already illegal. 

If anyone doubts that these policies are the thin edge of the wedge, look no further than the words of Conservative incumbent candidate Brad Butt who this week floated the idea of deporting Thomas Mulcair to France, a country from which he holds citizenship. 

The idea of using "feminism" to justify a ban on the volitional religious choices of certain women is a bit like invoking pacifism as a call to war. But then reason has never been the bigot's strong suit. 

Though bigot's and racists have held sway over people's thoughts and feelings in various ways throughout history, they are slowly but surely losing their battle. Love is, indeed, better than hate, and hope is better than fear. Those who would seek to foster racism and bigotry for political gain would have us forget what is perhaps the simplest lesson in life. Though some people are easily swayed by hatred and fear, some of us hold our ground and raise high the standard of real freedoms, the freedoms to wear what we want, to love who we choose, to worship how we see fit, to hold ideas and beliefs that are ours, and to defend those rights in others. I will fight for these things, and when I am gone by daughter will continue the struggle, and so on till the fight is done. 

I agree with Martin Luther King Jr. when he said that - "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality……I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." 

1 comment:

Owen Gray said...

Provided, of course, that there are Martin Luther Kings among us who are unafraid to express that conviction, Kirby.