How to not be racist, sexist or bigotted

I am sorry if the title of this article made a false promise to lure you in, because to be honest, I don't believe it is possible to avoid being at least one of the above three. However, there is much you can do to cover up your true inner bigot, and this article will tell you how.

Sadly, being racist is part of who you are as a human. It is not that you are born racist. As a newborn baby you certainly never worried about who was in the crib next to you, however over time you absorbed ideas about your surrounding that were to help you survive. You quickly learnt what was normal and what was unusual, and you came to regard the latter with suspicion. Unfortunately you developed ideas about different people that were based on a combination of experiences, myths and hearsay. You learnt that Muslims are terrorists and black people are thieves, that Asians are all the same and Africans have AIDS. You learnt that Kiwis love sheep and Americans are, well Americans.
Having acquired all these ideas, you then learnt that they are wrong and should not be expressed at all, but the more you tried to unlearn these things the more they jumped into your head, and occasionally slipped out of your mouth. It was too late, you had become a racist and you had to somehow hide the fact.

It is perhaps of little comfort but still worth knowing that you are not alone. I too am a racist, and I suspect everyone else is. When I see an indigenous person driving a car, my first thought is that it is stolen. I know that is wrong and unlikely - it is a blatant racist thought. I wish there was a way of reprogramming my stupid racist brain, but there isn't. Given that the thought popped up, I know the only thing I can do is not say it. Great, problem solved. This is OK, as I don't need to talk a lot in public off the cuff, so this policy tends to work for me most of the time. Unfortunately however, this does not work all the time. Sometimes I do talk and say things, sometimes alcohol helps thoughts turn into words. But nevertheless, I don't do twitter like some people, I can control what comes out on my blogging reasonably well. But some of us do talk a lot, and will inevitably convert a bigoted thought into words that should not be uttered. If you are a minor celebrity for whom people are constantly analyzing your words, then you are in trouble. If you say something that could be interpreted as racist then good luck, you are now an official racist, and no longer just a closet racist. Your hope lies in the healing of time, the internet does move on and the comment you made when commentating a cricket match or when promoting King Kong the Musical will never be completely forgotten, but will become less relevant.

Covering up for your internal racism is mostly a defensive strategy, however there is the option of attack. Nothing will protect you better from being an outed bigot than if you spend your life condemning other people for being bigoted. In fact, there is an entire media industry out there trying to uncover the inner racist in us all. People are paid money to write stuff about these things, and their trade is outrage, they feed off outrage. They see someone slip up and they become outraged at what they just saw. They write about how insensitive this person was in saying what they said. Their minions join in the attack, decrying about how racist, bigoted sexist and insensitive their comment was. The internet buzzes with excitement, as soon the attack is met with resistance, with professional writers who make a living from defending our rights to be racist and bigoted. They say that the comment was just a joke, taken out of context and that anyone condemning this comment is an enemy of free speech and of course is a living example of "political correctness gone mad". Soon the story is the story, with hate mails being sent back and forth. It is then no longer a story about the original comment, its context or even the people whom were meant to be offended. It is a clash of ideological viewpoints, not fought with ideas and arguments but with claims of offence given. The winner of such a fight is the one who can claim to have been wounded the most.

Taking a side in the outrage debate is an option for us closet bigots, on one side you can be the arbiter of morality and present yourself as a person immune to the voice of bigotry. You can identify yourself with the oppressed minority and therefore unable to be a bigot. You could be an oppressed redhead, a glass-ceilinged woman, a hipster, 1/8th indigenous or slightly attracted to your own gender and take offence at the remarks of others. No one will ever know that even you, the champion of the oppressed was raised to be a bigot, and harbour unclean thoughts. On the other hand, you can be the champion of the oppressed oppressors, defending fearlessly your right to utter insensitive remarks, decrying the 'thought-control' of those ABC watching Chardonnay sippers who want nothing more than to invent bigotry where nothing exists. You deny the existent of oppression and racism and say it is all a leftist fantasy to hate our own nation. You will shed tears to show that you are the one being oppressed, with your privileged lifestyle being attacked as undeserved and the accusations of bigotry as hurtful to you and your family, your families friends, and people who sponsor your segment.

And so it continues, our bigotry festers and people actually really suffer from oppression, prejudice. Obese people are ridiculed on television, indigenous people suffer silently and women and men are forced to take up gender roles that do not always define the individuals. Fortunately it is a problem for greater minds to solve, those not involved in the outrage debate that manifests itself in our media.

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