Falling out of aeroplanes and hiding out in holes… and why respect is not always deserved

A now former friend on Facebook posted this video:

They then wrote in praise of these police officers for speaking out against people who were leading the charge against the evil ‘liberals’ who were using the word ‘racist’ to dominate conversations through intimidation.

For those of you who can’t get through the slack-jawed ranting in the video, it basically amounts to: ‘Dear person who accused the police of racism: “Shut up!  Just shut up!”  We are personally insulted by the claim that we’re racists.  It’s very offensive to call us racists.  We put our lives on the line to help the community and you call us racists.  We protect you from terrorism, y’know?  Oh, and activists are evil.’

What they should have said was: ‘We have been accused of racism.  We don’t believe that we are being racist but we welcome scrutiny to clear our reputations.’

During the conversation, her husband weighed in to say that he had the right not to be called racist, even if he was racist, because being called a racist is offensive…  Yeah.  This was more than slightly ridiculous, and I said as much.

Another friend of hers contributed the following:

please realize that there is a difference between having a debate and being divisive, if you don’t respect your opponent in a debate, then you will not only fail to convince them, but you will open yourself up to further attack

And that gets us to the thrust of this post: why do racists deserve respect in a debate?  It’s not like they’re saying anything of any intellectual worth.  Indeed, the world is in a small way worse for the fact that they’re allowed to express their racist and ignorant opinions.  They hide behind demands for ‘respect’ while showing absolutely none to other people.

By giving them ‘respect’, we help legitimise their views.  If I respect your opinion on Andrew Lloyd Webber, I understand that two intelligent people could — for many reasons — come to vastly different opinions about the merit of ALW’s works.  But I can’t understand that two intelligent people could come to vastly different opinions about whether or not being called racist is ‘just as bad’ as being racist.  I can’t understand that two intelligent people could come to vastly different opinions about whether minorities should feel included in mainstream society without having to assimilate.  I can’t understand that two intelligent people could come to vastly different opinions about whether the correct attitude towards being accused of racism is to yell ‘Shut up!’ at your accuser.

Some opinions are not worthy of respect.

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