Fox News is the source of many ills. One of the most irritating/horrifying result of FN’s existence is “reverse” argument. You may know it as the ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ zinger/comeback from our youth. Effectively, any un- or undereducated bigot now has, at least to their tin ear, a “smart” sounding “argument” to explain/justify/deny/deflect attention away from their bigotry.
I experienced this reality-challenging argument back when California’s Prop 8 was sparking discussions on gay rights on many mainstream fora. One, apparently, was the (utterly unwatchable) View. From what I understand, Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Hasselbeck got into a discussion on the matter. Someone I Know was all aflame with the unrighteous indignation and engaged me in the following conversation:
SIK: It’s just WRONG.
Me: What is just wrong?
SIK: How the LIBERALS are always insisting that people need to be tolerant, but then THEY [i.e., the LIBERALS] are the most intolerant people I know. On national TV, even!
Me: What on earth are you talking about?
SIK: You know, Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopie and Janeane Garafalo. Hypocrites. They [the LIBERALS] tell us we have to be tolerant of them [by ‘them,’ this person meant The Gays on this particular occasion], but they aren’t tolerant of us. You know, I don’t care if someone is gay, but I don’t want it shoved in my face all the time. I don’t want to know about it and I don’t like being told that I HAVE to give the gay lifestyle my approval or I am being intolerant. And if someone thinks that homosexuality is wrong, they have a right to talk about it. But when they do, They [again, the LIBERALS] say all sorts of nasty things. THEY are the ones being intolerant.
Me: Ummm…so, because someone advocates for tolerance, they must tolerate intolerance or they are hypocrites? I don’t get it.
SIK: Yes- exactly.
And there you have the “reverse” argument. Essentially, if you see something that you believe to be homophobic/racist/bigoted/sexist, and you say ‘hey – that is homophobic/racist/bigoted/sexist!’ then you, my friend, are a “reverse” homophobe/racist/bigot/sexist. So, if I find racism repugnant and I inform someone that their remarks are offensive, I am being a hypocrite, because I should respect their right to be racist? Or I am somehow infringing on their First Am rights by not listening? Or I am being “rude” by calling them names? WTF? I am supposed to respect shit like this?
You can see this more pointedly played out in all the “reverse” racism claims. Which apparently now can be used both offensively and defensively. The offensive or ‘traditional’ use is when A attacks B as being “reverse racist” because B has either engaged in or supported actions that promote non-whites. See, for example this argument or this compilation of ridiculousness. As I have written before, I think this is complete and utter bullshit. You don’t make things truly equal by just calling it equal.
But the new defensive use is even more mind-boggling. As you can see on any comment board, “reverse racism” is also when someone observes that a person or comment is racist. Because, as I understand it, you are assuming that it/they are racist because they are expressing racist thought. BUT, they insist they are NOT racist and that you, therefore, are racist, because you have assumed that they are racist. Yeah. I know. It’s confusing. But I am sure you all know what I am talking about. For example, take this sign:
If I point out that this sign is offensive and seems racist to me, the signholder would say (with the unrighteous indignation) ‘it isn’t about race! You keep making it about race – so YOU are the racist!’
But you know what? I didn’t make the sign.