Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bigots Are Stupid

I was thinking about the word hate the other day and I realized that the only other word I could think of in the English language that was more often overused and misused was love. (Go figure, right?)

I'm as guilty as anyone of regularly misusing hate. It's really easy. "Oh man, I hate that commercial!" "Oh man, I hate this weather." "Oh man, I hate reality shows!" And my favorite, all-encompassing proclamation: "Man, I hate this!" What I forget is that hate is a really strong word. I should keep it in reserve for special occasions, for things I really despise. So I got to thinking, when I say hate, how often do I really mean it? I mean really mean it? What do I actually despise? Well, stupidity. And hate.

I hate stupidity. Not to be confused with ignorance. In my own little personal life-dictionary, I define ignorance as a lack of knowledge but a willingness to learn. But stupidity is a lack of knowledge with no desire to know any better. (Most of the time stupid people don't even know they're stupid.)

Take bigots, for example. Bigots are stupid. Everyone (except them) knows they're stupid. They hate because of something completely arbitrary. People are born black or white or brown or yellow. They're born gay or straight or bi or, sadly, none of the above (I'd hate that). None of which has anything to do with how well they can fire a rifle or flip a burger or balance a spreadsheet. But Barney Bigot will discriminate against them because he's stupid. Sometimes I wonder, when Barney and Betty Bigot go to the movies, say "A Time To Kill", and the racists are the bad guys, do they root for the racists? Do they go, "Huh? I don' geddit. Why is ever'body clappin' fer them colored boys?" Bigots hate so indiscriminately, if they bumped into themselves on the street, they'd probably hate each other. To hate without reason or provocation is stupid. And I hate it.

So, in summation: I hate stupidity. And I hate bigots because they're stupid and spread hate.

Maybe next time we can discuss the word dislike. Way longer list…


  1. Welcome to the blogging world, my dear! It’s going to be fun seeing where you go with it.

    I’ve always thought of ignorant vs. stupid this way: Ignorant people can learn and are willing, they just haven’t been given the proper knowledge or tools yet. While stupid people have been given the facts, knowledge, and tools yet still choose to make incorrect choices (whether in thought or deed). Why yes, I do believe that's what you said as well. ;-) But let’s talk about hate and bigotry.

    I can’t stand either. It’s difficult for me to understand how people can hate an entire group of humans, based solely on their race, religion, sexual preference, size, mental capabilities, or anything else that makes them even slightly different than the perceived “norm.” Having grown up in Texas, I’ve seen my share, including, and yes I’m ashamed to admit this, a few in my own family. I realized early on that you can’t change them or their opinions about certain issues. Although I can’t do anything about family, I can choose friends who are open-minded, and I can speak up or take action when I see or hear wrongs, and believe me I do (just ask anyone who knows me well). I may not change the world or that person, but at least I tried.

  2. @Christy: I'm betting your mom can attest to your willingness to "step up" when you feel the need! ;-)

  3. I love that you've decided to reserve the word "hate" for things you really despise. I love that you would hate neither being gay, straight, or bisexual. I didn't really ever stop to think that there might be someone who wouldn't fall into one of those orientations. What would the 4th sexual preference be called? And are there others of which I am unaware? I love the way you entertain me and make me think. :-)

  4. I agree totally. I have made a huge effort to teach my children about diversity. I think that they have learned well and that makes me hopeful for the future. I wish everyone would teach their children to accept others for the differences that make us all who we are.

  5. @Steven, yep she can, as can a few others who have been with me when I've opened my mouth to stand up for someone/something in public. Someone had to do it. ;-)

    @Patricia, well stated! I work in a unique position and get to see both preschool and college students, and the diversity/tolerance messages that are sent to them by the institutions they attend. Based on what I've seen, the future is hopeful. Kudos to you for teaching your children about diversity! It starts at home.

  6. @All: Sometimes I kinda wish I had kids only so I'd someone to pass on the values to that my parents gave to me. I guess a good compromise is to spout-off to anyone who'll listen to me. And, hey, lets me lecture strangers!

  7. @Steven64, @Patricia, and @Christy: Teaching our children about diversity and tolerance at home and school are our only hope of a future with less bigotry. Sadly, I've given up on a future completely bigot free. Wish it was possible, but I don't think it is. I was raised in multi-cultural family and I'm very thankful.

  8. hey, we need love, don't we? how come then that hate is not ok, as hate is just the 'other' side of love? I agree that we use words without thinking, often enough using them in a way that makes it meaningless, which goes for "I love you" just as well as for the use of the word 'hate'.
    But expresseing the word gives us some kind of safety, too. we can hide behind hate (and love) and have a safe distance. I don't mind someone hiding for a while, as long as this is not the end of it, but just part of a process that leads to some kind of acceptance...
    oh by the way, congrats Steven64, to your blog, and thanks for telling me!

  9. oops, telephone interrupted me:

    when I ask myself, what is maybe easier: someone who stays silent or someone who communicates, but sort of "talks without thinking", I admit I guess it is a bit easier (although maybe annoying) to handle someone who is at least communicative (I know what I am talking about as I am a silent type in real life)
    And I guess using words like love and hate in inadequate situations suits the need for drama in us, besides giving a hideaway... which does not make it better.
    And what about the possibility to form your thoughts while talking? While talking your awareness of a topic (hopefully) grows, but you need to possibility to move between "Extremes" to find your own place. "Just" thinking thoughts does not have the same quality like speaking them out aloud.

    I know I sound like I disagree. I am deeply convinced there is always more than one way. I am not the "either-or" type of person. Which means, I don't necessarily disagree just because I have additional ideas :)

  10. @Steven64, just wanted to wish you the best as you join some of us in the blogging universe! Keep it up because I like what I've read so far.

  11. Like your blog. Hit it randomly on Blogger. I particularly like this post.

    Agree that hate and love are both overused or misused. And bigots are stupid. Will never understand them. I do my part to be open and accepting of others as they are. Hey, I'm no saint and there are reasons for bigots to hate me.

    Keep rocking the blog. I've bookmarked you and will be back.

  12. @sorei: Interesting point. I guess, most of the time at least, it's better to say it wrong than not say it at all. And unlike you, I'll never be accused of being quiet! lol! Good to see you here! :-)

    @Kent: Glad you stumbled into the neighborhood, dude. Hope you stick around.

    @All: You've all made my first into blogging a blast. Thank you! ;-)

  13. Hate is such a strong word and you're right it is over used. I try to avoid it, but it does slip out. I also don't like it when people use the word love to describe how they feel about everything. Over used. There are so many other words in our language that can describe the feelings you're having. Look them up. Expand your vocabulary. I try to reserve the word love for the man I'm engaged to and does the same for me. I love him. I don't love apple pie. I enjoy it. I like it. I crave it. But I don't love it. I love my fiance. How did I get on love when your topic is hate?

  14. @Michelle:
    LMAO! If you've gotta go off on a tangent, it may as well be from love to hate. And besides, hey, you're engaged. You're supposed to be predisposed to love right now. :-)

    Not to get too preachy or sanctimonious, but the other word that I keep coming back to is starving. I don't think I've ever met anyone that's actually starved before. Hungry, famished, a little peckish, but starving? Uh-uh. People in Rwanda are starving. People in NYC slums are starving. Victims of Katrina starved. Me, I'm just hungry.

  15. I completely agree about the word starving being overused. Not to contradict you Steven, but I once was starving. I don't use the word flippantly. I honestly do mean I was starving. I had no food and no prospects of having food for a long time. It was a really low point in my life. I'm very grateful for what I have now. That's probably why I appreciate everything so much, including the love my fiance and I have. I never take for granted that I'm fortunate to have a job, a home, food, a car, and a little bit of savings. And my fiance? I can't tell you how incredibly lucky I feel to have this man who loves me for who I am. He loves me in spite of my flaws and my past. I'm just so very appreciative of love right now. I haven't always had it in my life, and for the first time, I honestly do feel loved by someone. He cares about me and what happens to me. That's unbelievable! Thanks for understanding. :-)

  16. @Michelle:
    Not a contradiction at all, just a change in my status: now I do know someone who's starved. A few years ago, I went through an episode where I was on the brink of starvation. (My therapist called some of my physical symptoms signs of malnutrition.) It was awful so I may have an inkling of what you experienced. (Despair, hopelessness, plain ol' tired.)

    I'm about to get ahead of myself because I'd like to write about this, but you seem to have a strong sense of self-awareness, anther thing that seems to be lacking elsewhere. The genuine appreciation you express for your life today - job, home, car, the love you and your beau share - is truly refreshing. I'm SO happy for you!

  17. Thank you very much! :-)

    I'm very sorry you had to go through a time of hunger. It's a horrible experience. I hope your life is better now.

  18. I appreciate your sympathy. It was a pretty lousy time. I was battling a pretty crippling depression. But at the risk of sounding clichéd, it made me a better person having survived it. Food is so plentiful now that I'm starting a diet Feb. 1! (not kidding)

  19. WOW! What a first post! Good, but kind of in your face or something. Glad I read your other post first. Gonna read more though cuz @Hooka gave you a recommend on Twitter and I like what the dude has to say.

  20. Great blog overall! I'll be back to see future posts.

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