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Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

May 26, 2023

Bigotry?s Sloppy Language

When I hear "Power to the people," I really want to know who "the people" are. This is the sloppiness of references because it implies the people, journalists, intellectuals, Jews, Chinese, Blacks, elites, are all one thing. One does not have to live to a great age to know that there is no "all" of any category that is just one thing.

The most common hate mongers today talk about hating "elites." What kind of elites? Are very rich people elite? Would you include prize fighters or rap musicians in one box with "old money" or new Silicon Valley inventers?

And are they the same as all "intellectuals?" Are all university professors intellectuals? They certainly would not say so. Nor are all authors who write books and articles cut from one cloth.

Is "Congress" one thing, or is it divided into political parties, into competent and incompetent, into honorable or greedy? Are all Senators elites? Are they all lawyers? What about those who are soccer moms, former military, small businessmen, scientists, and con-men or women? I see all types in government.

Is there such a thing as "The Press? Is there somebody pulling strings, manipulating news, backing one candidate or another? Is the small-town newspaper the same thing as the great national papers of record, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times?

Is today?s "media" just one thing, or is it newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, and Internet? How about blogs? How about Tweets? How about conspiracy theorist radio and TV stations? Are they all one thing? And is Fox News really news, or just the Trump Republican Cult the Propaganda Lying network?

As for people that haters hate, do they ever consider that none of these groups are one thing only? Hitler and today?s anti-Semites hate Jews because they are mega-billionaires (George Soros). They also hate them because they are all communists, or all intellectual elites, or all Christ-killers. How can they be all of these things at one time? What about the Communists who hated Jews because they were all small shopkeepers, all doctors, all lawyers, all gangsters?

Then there are those who hate the Chinese. Can a population of more than 1 billion all be alike? Are Chinese in China the same as Chinese living in America or Europe?

The racists who for centuries have hated people of African origin really have trouble putting them all in one box. Skin color alone is problematic because American descendants from slaves often have the genes of their White masters in their blood. The century-long effort to solve this problem by the "one drop of blood" fantasy has never worked. Many emancipated slaves with more than one drop of white men?s blood have been able to cross over into the mainstream of America?s White population.

The rest cannot be ignorant, lazy, incompetent, or criminal all at the same time. There are too many extraordinary people of color (what color?) in our society today who are professors, doctors, senators, chefs, governors, and even one president, for that to be true. As for brain power, how can one account for one of our best beloved astro-physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who educates us all?

When I hear "people of color," I ask "what color?

Haters have one more target: women. How many wife-beaters and murderers do we have who claim that all women are the same: duplicitous, stupid, and weak? How else have we endure centuries of deprivation of women, forbidding them education, professions, and liberty because they all have "smaller brains?"

Some men who believed this as long ago as Ancient Greece knew better. Think of Plato, 2,500 hundred years ago, saying that if women had men?s educations, they would be as bright? He personally knew one, Aspasia, who was.

Can we really consider all men, even White men, one thing? Are they all wife beaters? All gun lovers? All religious nuts? Of course not. Is Christianity just White colonialism? Then how account for Quakers, who wanted slavery ended and who treated their women as equals?

Sloppy language and sloppy thinking indeed!

686 words

Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of "How Do You Know That? Contact her at Lfarhat102@gmail.com or www.globalthink.net.