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I come down on the other side of this issue.

I do feel regret that people have their feelings hurt, but often times I think the fact that they do is silly.

I think that "Racism" and "Bigotry" are evident when a person believes a particular skin color or class/group of people is inherently below their own or inherently deserving of lesser treatment or of less human rights.

I do NOT think that they are evident in innocent word usage alone.

Example:

I don't think that "blackface" is automatically racist. Sure, it has a history of being used in a racist way. Sure, it CAN be racist. But that doesn't mean that if I, as a white guy, dress up as Jimmy Hendrix for Halloween, that it is "racist." It means I think Jimmy Hendrix was awesome, and that's it. Some girl in Australia was caught in a photo wearing black makeup on her face. She was instantly vilified on the internet. Turned out the photo wasn't exposed properly. She had been wearing dark purple makeup. Was supposed to be Barney or something. The internet relaxed. I think: Black makeup; purple makeup; whatever; neither one says anything about the mindset of the wearer with regard to another race of people. Sure, plenty of people get offended, but I believe we should protect each other from actual racism and bigotry, not from silly offense taken from innocent behavior of others. I don't think we should accept the definition creep that has obviously opened up the words racism and bigotry to include any little thing that offends somebody.

If I punch a Mexican, that does NOT automatically mean I'm a racist. It means THAT GUY did something, totally unrelated to race, that royally pissed me off. Sure, accuse me of violence. But more often than not the internet will explode with outcries of racism. It's stupid.

I personally have no desire to call anyone the N word. I'll use whatever name/pronoun somebody is happy with. But I'm not ALLOWED to use it? Even though I wouldn't mean it in any racist way? Even though you use it YOURSELF? Because my ancestors were racist A-holes? Stupid.

My wife is Asian. I make Asian jokes occasionally. I personally favor the ones about the stereotype of short Asian women being bad drivers. Because, you guessed it, my wife is not that great of a driver. And she's short. And it's funny once in a while. That's it. I love my wife like crazy. I think she's a BETTER person than me. I don't even know statistically if the stereotype has any basis in truth or not. It just makes us laugh. That's it. No animosity intended.

And that's the real difference. Racism and Bigotry require Intent. If you innocently say something to me, and it turns out I don't happen to like it, that does NOT mean you're a racist or a bigot.

xtn
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