Writing Prompts: ‘Bigotry, Both Ways?’

I saw a social media post the other week, and it got me thinking. Does bigotry go both ways?

Where do we stand on stuff like misandry, or reverse-racism?

If we want to get uber-technical, then it’s entirely possible for a black person to hate white people in general terms, or women to hate men, or for members of the LGBT community to resent those who are straight. However, the true picture here is more complicated than this. On one side, you have a lengthy history of institutional attributes, and coercive elements. On the other, you have a reaction to those elements.

To offer some greater context, consider race relations. In a lot of western countries the prevailing narrative is that white people have held more positions of power than black people, and continue to do so. This is not to say that in countries where white people make up the majority this is a surprise, but it also means that white voices are more easily heard, especially when they make up the majority of those in authority, and especially over prolonged periods of time. Whilst society has attempted to take steps to address racial inequality, there are still plenty of people who believe that white people are better by virtue of being white, which is the result of decades, even centuries, of white people controlling the wheels of society. There are also far more historical injustices against black people by white people, than the other way around. With a lengthy, deep-rooted embedding of white-on-black racism, is it any surprise that there would be resentment of this? To be honest, I think it’s a heavy stretch to consider this ‘reverse racism’.

There’s more. I know of fellas who regard feminism as misandry. They love to paint feminists as man-hating. Perhaps some feminists do hate men, but this hardly means they all do (I personally know feminists who are married!), and for those who hate men, people need to ask ‘why?’ Once again, who has had control of power and influence for a prolonged span of time? Men have exerted various forms of control over women for centuries, and whilst there has been progress towards equality, those who complain that feminism is a form of man-hating are cherry-picking examples on purpose, to push back against equality. It is once again no wonder that some women hate men, for the manner in which men have controlled and manipulated women. This is to say nothing of the numerous individual examples women can point to of harassment, threats, and violence, for saying ‘no’, or for simply having the audacity to exist.

The LGBT community will share this feeling. Once again there has been a persistent historical trend for conversative and religiously-led societies to deny the LGBT community the rights and freedoms granted to heterosexuals. These are trends woven in the fabric of history and culture. Like racism and sexism, homophobia and transphobia have deep roots across time, and those roots are wrapped around some disturbing notions. There are still parts of the world where being gay can get you killed, and in other, supposedly enlightened parts of the world, coming out to your family can render you hated and shunned. In some places, you cannot get a job, by virtue of being LGBT, and in others, you cannot find a home. Is it any great shock that the LGBT has historically resented the influence of conversative religious beliefs upon them?

The flipside to all of this is that the racists, misogynists and homophobes of this world now behave like the embattled, beleaguered parties. They complain they do not have a voice in society (which conveniently ignores how they have enough of a voice to complain in the first place). They claim their rights are being eroded, because others have equality. They point to a handful of examples, and ignore all the historical and current evidence that shows their viewpoints are fundamentally flawed. There is certainly not parity between the extent and depth of racism, misogyny and homophobia, and the push-back against them.

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