Second Degree Bigotry - a working theory

Published by Aidan OGain in the blog Aidan OGain's blog. Views: 158

I wrote this not long ago. I posted it on my blog and a place or two, but figured you guys might like it, so here you go:





Yesterday at work I overheard someone’s loud conversation.

Man: Do you watch Big Bang Theory?
Woman: Oh, no. I’m not into all that dorky sci-fi stuff.

A conversation like this wouldn’t normally irk me, but it did yesterday. Maybe it was the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, maybe it was the lady looking up at the TV showing Star Trek IV in Nimoy’s honor and saying “Oh, no. What are they making us watch now?”

Actually I was already irritated before she insulted the memory of the recently departed. But why? I’ve heard people tell me things like this throughout my life. For example, here’s a recent conversation I had at work.

Person: Really? My Little Pony? You like My Little Pony?
Me: Sure.
Person: Well, I don’t like that show.
Me: Okay.

That’s my typical response after 20+ years of this conversation. When I was a teenager, someone saying this would have been utterly crushing. Now, I’ve got a pretty thick skin about it. But thinking back, is this actually some form of bigotry?

Person A: Really? A Yarmulke? You’re wearing a Yarmulke?
Person B: Sure.
Person A: Well, I don’t like Jews.

Hold it! Back up. It’s not that bad. A person who is Jewish is born that way. Liking Star Trek is just a choice. It’s a matter of personal taste like what food you like. So it can’t be considered bigotry in the same way. Ignoring the “what exactly constitutes a choice” question, here’s the conversation again.

Person A: Really? A salad? You’re eating a salad?
Person B: Sure.
Person A: Well, I don’t like salads.

At the very least this kind of behavior is rude. Who would say this at a dinner table? Yet we feel we can mouth off like this about people’s taste in music, or entertainment?

I don’t read a lot of romance or thriller novels, but I’m not walking by the romance isles going “Ew, romance! People who read romance are disgusting! I’m not into that gross stuff!” So why do people think it’s okay to do that walking by the Science Fiction and Fantasy isles?

I’m giving this a name: Second Degree Bigotry. It’s not the same as First Degree Bigotry - being a misogynist or racist, but it’s still not nice and it makes people feel bad about themselves. No one has the right to judge the taste of the world. I can like whatever I like and I don’t have to listen to anyone telling me its dorky or weird or disgusting. Lets work together to be polite, end Second Degree Bigotry, and allow people to be free to like what they like without harassment, abuse, or rude unnecessary and unwelcome comments.
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