Looking in the Mirror – reflections on the nature of bigotry

iPhone’s are no substitute for laptops.

I need to go buy myself some new technology. But I am going to have to make do and type this on the most awkward tiny qwerty…

My life has taken some peculiar turns recently. But the benefit is – I have so much material for ‘the book’. Or the story. Or the poems or the songs.

Or maybe it’ll be a black humour sit-com script… One where there are no sympathetic characters; where the exception to prior expectation is the rule…

On the journey over the Lang Whang today I found myself pondering a current co-worker’s advice. ‘I should examine myself’ I said out loud – and to just an audience of me. Examine myself closely. Unveil those unconscious (but maybe not so secret) ‘prejudice/s’…

Is it the case that we all have them? What judgements do I make that cloud my objective vision and hurt others? That do disservice to me – to those who touch my life or whose lives I touch?

I started to make a list – just to open up the subject. I was frightened by the exercise. What if I hacked off a 20 tog goose down duvet full of prejudice-camouflage and found I was really Hitler’s mother’s clone? Or Paul Ryan’s would be script writer?

Was this possible? Was I really a closet bigot? Too busy disguising myself in the totalitarian clothing of the ideologue feminist to recognise when my intolerance to the sexist, racist, homophobic rantings became – in a perverse way – a pious prejudice all of its own.

Had I killed ‘fun’? Was I taking myself too seriously? Was the imposition of my value system on the workplace or my home or my friendships an intolerable unacceptable humourless act?

By not laughing when the joke relies upon an inference that blacks are stupid or women good only for sex or all Muslims are terrorists or all ‘Japs’ are evil slitty eyed bastards… Do I just need to loosen up? Quit the sanctimonious holier than thou act and grow up?

Is political correctness ‘gone mad’ after all? Should I start reading – and believing – the Daily Mail? Does that last question reveal me in my true prejudicial glory?

I despise bigots. Dislike Tripe. Don’t much appreciate the way in which some members (male) of my household splash the toilet seat and never flush. I really and heartily dislike wasps. Fear and hate ticks and rats. Loathe social conditions which foster poverty, need, ignorance and greed. I cannot stomach Buckfast Tonic Wine. 50 Shades of Grey. Big shiny BMWs or Subarus or Chelsea Tractors. Members of the BNP or EDL or Conservative party – and sometimes SNP…

Fake tans gone tango toned make me grimace and think mmmmm not much going on upstairs…

The pursuit of fame; greedy cheeky unpleasant wains and sambucco make me grind my teeth.

The mother who hands her yearling a baby bottle full of coca cola makes me despair and think: poverty, deprivation, premature death.

Thuggery. Mindless brutality. Unthinking and casual violence appall me. American pitbull terriers terrify me and have me thinking: addict or dealer or both?

I’ve worked with the intractably pious and stiff-necked. And it is not good. But have I become what I fear?

My old ostensibly communist grandpa was Trotskyist – not Stalinist – and lived by a credo of tolerance. He met every man or woman face on and equally. He bowed to no one. He taught me to repeat ‘they may be the same as you but will never be better than you’ and ‘tolerance nurtures humanity’. He also taught me never to spit out of the window of a moving car.

I know that I will spend my life examining and reflecting and searching for that hitherto unconscious discriminatory impulse. And when I find it – if i find it – I shall stamp on it. Very hard. Yes, very very hard. To make quite certain that I never do become that love child of Sarah Palin and Michael Gove – whom I fear so much.

2 thoughts on “Looking in the Mirror – reflections on the nature of bigotry

  1. We have had to deal with your shenanigans at Flimsy Cups many times.

    We can handle it. In fact, we love it.

    What can you do about genuine feelings and reactions…not a whole lot.

  2. Haha e.f. – and I love Flimsy Cups. It's a funny old thing though – that conflict between the desire to ensure freedom (the liberal impulse) and your own personal reaction to things like obscene language. What I see as sexism for instance may just be another person's idea of 'a joke'. One man's 'prejudice' is another man's firmly held belief… So, when do I cross the line and become a self-righteous prescriptive eejit…or am I already there. Gulp.
    Ultimately I have only my conscience to guide…
    You're right. Genuine feelings and reactions – not much we can do. Though maybe we each have a duty to guard against hurting others? Are there values or principles that we can all assert? Or is everything 'relative'…? Are there some things that we should not 'tolerate' (contradicting what my old granpa taught me – though I am certain he didn't mean the Nazis or similar)? Or should we tolerate all opinions or beliefs?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s