Believe It or Not, Befriending Bigots Can Backfire Rather Badly

Those who advocate for social change are often held to a much higher standard for perceived consistency and kindness in comportment than those who don’t. In the case of the latter, tone-policing runs rampant, often based on the flies and honey principle. If you’re oppressed, you’d better be nice, the reasoning goes, lest you piss off the more powerful and they feel empowered to oppress you even harder.

Aggressively promoting being “nice” seems very attractive and unobjectionable in its face. After all, don’t we want more allies? Don’t we want to keep people on our side? Don’t we want to have people get to know us so that they like us and want us to have rights? How can you make friends to fight with you on your side if you’re so darn mean?

Sorry to break it to everyone, but befriending bigots in the hopes of changing them via exposure isn’t a surefire solution to the problem of bigotry.

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Believe It or Not, Befriending Bigots Can Backfire Rather Badly
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