Editorial: Everyone can be a bigot

Racism is a powerful subject, with a broad spectrum of issues, but for this week’s editorial we will be addressing the bigoted comments in regards to race carelessly voiced on Skyline’s campus.

A common misconception, both in the media and in societies’ public voice, is that only Caucasian men and women can make close minded, bigoted comments. At one point in time we have all heard someone justify their stereotyping and bigotry with the oft quoted “I can’t be racist because I’m not white” or “I’m not white so I can’t be a racist.” Is there a rule somewhere out there that says if you are from a certain continent or country then it is acceptable and encouraged to act like a small minded moron? Who has been spreading the rumor that, in 2014, there are cultures exempt from practicing respect and common decency? Did someone hand out the proverbial “get out of jail free” cards in regards to allegations of bigotry, and if so were they only dolled out to specific groups?

This widespread belief does not exclude our illustrious Skyline College, itself a melting pot of numerous cultures and varied people. Chances are relatively high that, while walking through the cafe or the bookstore, that an observant passerby will hear such justifications being spouted from the mouths of our very own student body. Labeling a nearby African-American student as a derogative word but quickly following it up with “Well I can say that cause I’m…” or poking fun at a passing white student with inflammatory jibes and insults, only to hide behind the revelation that “It’s OK it’s only a white guy/girl.”

Anyone can be a bigot. If you are a living human being then you have the capability to be a bigot. It doesn’t skip a generation or a specific cultural group. It is a learned behavior as we’ve all seen either through our own children or through the children of friends. Bigotry is a cancer of society. It spreads unchecked, and we do not realize the severity of the situation until it is too late. Claiming that only “White people” can be bigots is akin to stating that only certain people are going to get cancer, or leukemia, or ALS. Anyone and everyone is a viable carrier for societies’ most-preventable disease, whether they want to admit it or not.

Hatred is not color coded, and bigotry is not limited to one creed or culture. Anyone and everyone has the potential to be a good human being, but they also have the capability to be a close minded hate-filled fool.

Bigotry is bigotry regardless of your country of origin or the color of your skin, and hiding behind your culture when you make idiotic remarks against others in jest only perpetuates the cycle. If you hear someone using their cultural heritage as an excuse for their hate then call them out on it. Let them know that, regardless of where they’re from, they are a bigot.

Obviously bigotry is going to be a part of the social problem for many years. No one is refuting that. But in order to evolve and move past such petty mindsets we have to hold ourselves accountable for the things we say and do. The concept of being incapable of bigotry because an individual is not white is ridiculous and, in all honesty, the type of excuse that keeps us all from growing and moving forward as a society.

Update: this has been replaced with the most recent version. 9:32 a.m. 10/3/2014.