Being critical is not always prejudicial

There are a myriad of terms to describe why one person might dislike another. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ableism, ageism, sexism, these are all reasons why people think others don’t like them. Sadly, what’s missing is a term to describe people who dislike the rude, insensitive, objectionable, regular plain jackasses who seem to be absolutely everywhere. There’s no term ending in a trendy-yet-completely-inappropriate suffix to describe people who dislike the unlikable.

All too often, criticism, dislike, anger and resentment are attributed to inherent characteristics instead of how an individual acts.

Take Obama, all the criticism of Obama I’ve seen is met with accusations of racism. I despise Obama. Not because of what color he is, but because of what he’s done. Calling racism anytime someone criticizes a minority is the equivalent of a child shoving their fingers in their ears while screaming that they can’t hear anybody. It shuts down the argument and closes any avenue for understanding.

It’s absurd that racism is the first thing people think of. It certainly couldn’t be the fact that Obama executed an innocent teenage American citizen by drone strike without due process. It couldn’t be the fact that Obamacare is a broken system in flames, a failure of socialism. It can’t be that cash for clunkers ended up costing the nation 1.4 billion dollars to destroy countless amounts of machinery and throw it in dumps. Certainly not the fact that Obama broke his promises to protect whistleblowers or close Guantanamo Bay. Or the fact that to date he has deported 2.7 million people, more than have been deported in total between 1900 and 2008 while criticizing Trump for wanting to deport illegal immigrants.

To many, the only possible reason for someone to dislike Obama can only be his skin color. To me, making Obama’s race the single most important aspect of him – to the exclusion of his actions and conduct – is racism pure and simple.

I’ve met trans individuals who were affable, considerate, just all around awesome individuals who I am proud to call friends. I’ve also met trans individuals who are annoying, childish, close-minded, malicious bullies. Only the latter group thinks I’m a transphobe.

Of course, no one’s surprised. It’s the easiest thing in a world to chalk up being disliked as a result of inherent characteristics beyond one’s control. To act in a manner acceptable to others is infinitely more difficult than giving up and saying that criticism must be due to the faults of others. Introspection is a scary thing, to really be honest with oneself and examine one’s conduct and accept that one might be wrong is downright terrifying for some.
I’m reminded of an acquaintance who once told me about all the terrible things they do at their work, basically making the case to me that she was probably one of the worst employees at the whole company. Not too long after, she complained about her failure to get a promotion to a management position and blamed sexism and ageism for her being passed up for a promotion. I’m almost impressed by the mental gymnastics some people can engage in, too bad it’s outweighed by the despair I feel at the wasted potential of that brainpower.

Obviously, I’m not trying to say that racism and homophobia and all that don’t exist. They absolutely do, but I suspect that it’s far more of a rare occurrence than people think. One of the most self-defeating things people can do is to ignore genuine criticism and the opportunity for self-improvement in favor of maintaining their belief that they are without fault.