Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Misogynist, racist and other abused diction

One of my little pet peeves is the consistent misuse of certain sets of words.  The easiest way to make some one back down from their stance is to make them feel bigoted.  Disagree with a feminist, you are a misogynist; disagree with some one of a different ethnicity, you are a racist; disagree with a homosexual and you are homophobic.  

The sad thing is that these words have very clear meanings.  They are not nebulous conceptual words that can be interpreted in many ways.  They are not slang words that arose informally with many differing meanings.

A misogynist is a person that hates women.
"I think women are stupid.": not a misogynist.
"I think women shouldn't serve in the military.": not a misogynist.
"I think women need to be beaten regularly so that they know their place.": misogynist.

A racist is a person that believes race is the primary determinant in the characteristics of an individual and that this difference implies that one particular race is superior to others.
"I dislike rap music.": not a racist.
"I don't date Asian women.": not a racist.
"I think White people need to reclaim their rightful place as masters over the other races.": racist.

To those misapplying these words:  learn to support your stances with reasoning and facts.  If you are forced to resort to such petty tactics, you have already lost the debate.

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