What Do You Wonder, Wonder Cat? – Racists and Bigots

An explanation of the title: so when I was in elementary school, I was in what was called a MAG class, a Mixed Age Group. Three different teachers had a mix of first, second and third grade. It was, really, a pretty good success, though I don’t think my old school does it anymore. These three classes, we did everything together, and one of those things that is just burned into my memory for no particular reason is sitting in the east indoor gym, with the projector screen down, while some man whose voice screamed “Dad of the 50’s/early 60’s” talked to a cartoon cat, who said “I wonder…” “What do you wonder, Wonder Cat?” And the video was about spiders. So now when someone says “I wonder,” my response is always “What do you wonder, wonder cat?” Hanna hates this.

He also hates it when I ramble, so let’s move on.

This was something I was thinking about Wednesday morning as I lie awake and three: are all racists also bigots?

Logically speaking, not all bigots are also racists. Fifty years ago, they would have been, but the new generation has been, by and large, successfully trained to say, “What? No! I don’t see [insert racial category here] people, all I see is a rainbow of people!”

One of the few things I learned in my race class last year is that this is actually incredibly stupid, and ticks off some non-white people some of the time. Because if I categorized it as X race doesn’t like it when you say X thing, well, that WOULD be racist! It’s a bit of a fine line. The irony of it is, seeing a rainbow of people is the best way to think of it. Race as a biological construct is not real, it’s simply not. There are biological reasons we are different colors and shapes and sizes, same as sexual orientation, but as a category, it’s a social construct. Interestingly, so its homosexuality. In many cultures, it does not “exist” as a conception of thought. This is not to say same-sex relations don’t happen, because they do. Just that no one categorizes it as “other.” That’s a topic for another day, those with questions can leave comments. Or, as I got in my vlog about this, those with incredibly wrong and bigoted remarks about how it is sinful and unnatural, don’t worry, I can handle you in the comments too.

Anyway, back to the other point: race should be acknowledged, but not made a big deal of. This is easier said than done, I know, but we really make too big a deal out of categories that we create. People are just people. We need to learn that far more than we need to learn about how our “rainbow is special,” and “all hearts are the same color,” or whatever else you learned in high school.

To my larger point: if you asked someone who feels that same-sex relations are sinful and wrong and then asked them if they thought X non-white racial category was inferior, most of the time (certainly not all of the time), the reaction would be shock and horror. Because, “No! That’s not right!” And certainly it’s not. But part of the problem with modern social censure against racist ideology is that those who espouse it, consciously or no, will at least not publicly admit so, for they understand the complicated social rules we set up as a culture that say it is wrong to at least EXPRESS such ideas. In another half century, this will also be true of bigoted thought. If we’re lucky.

Anyway, the central question: are all racists bigots? If so, are all bigots racists? I think it goes without saying that all racists are probably bigots. If someone is a white supremacist, they probably don’t have rainbow flags and pink triangles decorating their rec room. Stranger things have happened, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 99% of the time, this is not the case.

Are all bigots, however, racists? More than likely not. Some may be passively racist – believing in gross stereotypes or claiming that they’d date a non-white person if they wanted to, but they just don’t want to and no, it’s not because they dislike inter-racial marriage (it’s shocking how much of an issue this still is with some people). But I bet there are some absolutely anti-gay rights people out there who would fight for racial civil rights at the drop of a hat. Humanity is a complicated, ironic, and often illogical species. I am sure such people would cry foul at any parallels drawn between these two disparate groups.

Well, I’m going to be late for work, but there’s your deep thought for the day. And hey, if you are a racist/bigot who isn’t going to flame me, please comment! I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it – so long as you’re not being a little bitch about it. It happens.

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About emilydnelson

A recent graduate of Hofstra University with a B.A. in anthropology, Emily is like every other twenty-two year old on the planet - trying to figure out what the hell to do now. Follow as she struggles with writing, her social work job, and bopping from coast to coast.
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