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Seeing Through Insults, Racist or Otherwise July 13, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.

It’s a simple fact that when people get in a heated argument, they often say something to hurt the other people, choosing at the time to say the most hurtful thing they can think of. It’s not like they normally care about whatever they choose to say; they say it because they know it’ll bug the other person.

So when people call someone “fat” or “stupid” or make fun of a physical characteristic, they’re not doing it because they care about their opponent’s weight or think they’re really dumb, they say it because they know the opponent cares more about it than they do.

I think much of the outrage over people’s mean statements would be dissipated if they remembered that simple fact. Take Michael Richards making racist comments to a heckler in a nightclub: I don’t think Richards is racist, but he wanted to piss the other guy off, so he hit him in what he hoped was a soft spot.

He shouldn’t have said those things, but his real problem was anger management, not racism. I think many “racist” comments have a similar origin, and would be better countered by addressing the underlying conflicts, rather than getting agitated about the comments themselves.

Which brings us to the present time, where we have California Governor Jerry Brown telling us that if you want to enforce federal law on illegal immigration, you’re:

[A]t best … troglodyte, and at worst … un-Christian.

But Jerry Brown doesn’t give a hoot about Christianity – he’s just trying to shame Christians so they’ll fall in line. If they were black, the equivalent would be calling them “race traitors” or “Uncle Toms,” as people have done with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Rather than coming from anger, Jerry Brown’s comments come from a desire to manipulate people. But it’s the same exact technique, and it deserves the same response: address what’s really going on, not his ridiculous verbiage.


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