I admittedly was a little hesitant to address this one because of the weight and political biases that go with it. So let me preface by saying that I don’t care who’s a republican or a democrat, man or woman, black, white, asian, etc. If you enjoy reading, you’re all right by me.
In Magnifica, Lia’na is often abused for being an elf. Both dwarves and humans hate the slowly-dying race for reasons dating back to the pre-historic Alliance of their people. At one point she asks why and the only answer that Toby can give her is that she is an elf. In this case, Toby’s assessment is quite accurate. I made it fairly clean cut that most of the people attending college with her, don’t know her and most have never even seen an elf before because they’re so rare.
As a result, these people take out their hatred, or racism, on her because the stories that they’ve been told in their history classes have fueled their biases without any point of reference to refute it. I made this pretty clean cut as I wanted Lia’na to be a nice person, one that was kind and who, when people gave her the time of day, would be very friendly.
However, there are often times when said biases, hatreds, or racism, are not so clean cut and unfortunately, the assumption of bigotry is becoming more and more prevalent whether it’s appropriate or not. Allow me to illustrate my point with three examples…
George Bush – During his administration, immediately following 9/11, if you disagreed with him or his polices/actions, you were pretty much automatically labelled anti-american or unpatriotic. We saw this happen with Dixie Chicks.
Barack Obama – You can go to any news source and in the comments section now, or on facebook, in almost any thread dealing with President Obama, when criticism arises, there will almost 100% of the time be an accusation of racism. Reading comments like this, one could draw the conclusion that you can’t dislike the president because it was racist to do so. Jimmy Carter perpetuated this in a few of his statements.
Lena Dunham – So I bring her up because she was a more recent example. She faced a huge storm of controversy following the release of her book because of a section in it dealing with her and her sister when they were younger. I’m not going to get into the subject matter, because I personally find it distasteful, but a lot of people, arguably majorly conservative, but also parents and others, came forward and unleashed a war of words on her. Well… a simple Google search now will yield a plethora of results saying that all of her criticism stems from misogyny, or because she’s overweight, or other outstanding reasons, and not because they just don’t like her.
I’m going to use the last one as an example because I’ve followed some of her work. So I am just going to come right out and say this; I do not like Lena Dunham. She’s a fellow artist and an activist for women, and of course I respect that, but I don’t like her.
Is it because she’s a woman? I think most of the women I know would tell you otherwise as, by sheer numbers, I have more female friends than I do male.
Is it because she’s overweight? I’m overweight, and I’m pretty sure I don’t self-loathe… no usually anyway…
Is it a combination of the two? Again, no, my reasoning is covered above.
So why then? There must be a reason…
Well yes there is a reason. I don’t like her because I don’t find her amusing or entertaining, I find her politics misguided, her activism methods to be unnecessarily blunt and somewhat suspect, and if I’m being totally honest, I find her somewhat pretentious.
Does this have anything to do with her gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or personal appearance? No. I dislike her because of the content of her character.
So what does this have to do with anything? Well too often if someone dislikes another person or philosophy, we automatically jump to the assumption that there is some larger deep-seeded personal bias. The question is… is this appropriate and are we as a civilized society better off for it?
Honestly, no. I really don’t think we are. Our society is one that has thrived on the free exchange of ideas and opinions, but by automatically jumping to the above conclusion, we create a society where people are hesitant to speak their mind for fear of being labelled.
Is political correctness to blame? Yes and no. Political correctness is often blamed, but if we go back and take a look at the original intent and structure of political correctness, we can plainly see that it has been taken out of context and badly misinterpreted.
Now, are there people out there who dislike Ms. Dunham because she’s a woman? Yes. Because she’s overweight? Conceivably. However, is that the majority of the people who find her objectionable? I’d be willing to bet a bottle of Blue Label scotch that the answer is no. But to jump to the conclusion of racism, misogyny, or other bigotry, creates a society of timidness, resentment, and victim mentalities.
I remember what I was in college, I was in open debate with a professor over the definition of racism and I’ll never forget his words,
“The oppressed cannot by definition be racist.”
I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything more bogus in my life. Humans of any color can be racist, misogynistic, or bigoted. Humans hate, it happens.
So as warped as it may sound, it’s okay to dislike someone or something… as long as that dislike is on the basis of the content of character and not anything superficial, and to make the assumption of the latter, is a slap in the face to everyone who lived through suffrage or any equal rights movements.
Anyway, let me know what you think. I remind you all that this is just personal opinion, so don’t get mad if you don’t agree, just feel free to tell me why. I do my best to keep politics out of my posts.
Catch you on the flip side,
I agree with you here. Dislike shouldn’t be based on something trivial. People are diverse for a reason.
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Dislike based on something somebody says or does – content of character as you say – is definitely more rational than hatred based upon colour of skin, religious background. This was a very thought-provoking piece
Thank you very much! I was hoping it would get some gears turning! 🙂
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