language shaping attitudes

How Dare You Call Me A *ist

I see it all the time, both online and off – Person X writes/says something, Person Y says “gee, what you just said/did was kinda *ist” and Person X comes back with “how dare you call me a *ist” (or Person Z butts in with “how dare you call X a *ist”) .

But behaviour is never a fully accurate reflection of character. Bad habits we engage in unthinkingly don’t necessarily make us generally bad people or even generally thoughtless people, but this tends to be the reaction to having those bad habits challenged as marginalising behaviours – that the challenger is calling us a bad person.

The point is that this one particular act that is being criticised has problematic cultural assumptions embedded within it, and those problematic cultural assumptions are what need to be challenged.