So, yesterday’s blog post caused a little bit of a stir on my Facebook page. While several folks commented with their agreement with my point of view on the subject, there was one point of contention. Specifically, that a racist has just as much right to their beliefs as anyone else.
I’d agree with that statement. Everyone has every right to believe what they want to believe. I’d go a step further and say that everyone has the right to express their beliefs, at least if done so in a non-violent manner.
Here’s the thing though. Just as you have the right to believe all blacks are evil, inner city, welfare receiving, watermelon munching trash, I have the right to tell you you’re an ignorant jackpot who probably believes the world is flat and the universe revolves around the Earth.
I’m reminded of two quotes. The first is from author John Scalzi.
You are correct when you say you should be able to express your moral views on social issues, and as a staunch defender of the First Amendment, I will defend to the death your right to say whatever ridiculous, ignorant and bigoted thing that has been fermenting in that cracked clay pot you call a brain pan. But the First Amendment also means that when you say such things, other people have the a right to mock you and the silly, stupid words that have dribbled out of your skull through that word hole above your chin. If you call someone “unnatural,” they might call you an “asshole.” That’s the deal.
The second quote is from country singer Trace Adkins, from his song Fightin’ Words.
First amendment? Son, the first amendment protects you from the government, not from me. You can say whatever you want to out there. You come within reach of me, I’ll exercise my right to give you a good ol’ country ass whoopin’, is what I’ll do for you, by God.
I’m not going to change anyone’s belief system. Not here and probably not anywhere else. Quite often, racist and bigoted beliefs are so ingrained, they are almost part of a person’s DNA. Hard to fight against that with just a few words of text. But, all the energy expended to sustain that belief could certainly be better used elsewhere.