I spend a lot of time reading things on the Internet, and a lot of it, I don't agree with. I don't often like to get into it with people online, because 1) it's pointless, and 2) I've very rarely ever seen online debates remain civil and polite, because hiding behind a screenname gives people license to be rude and awful.
I did engage yesterday, however, because one person was making absolutely insipid comments about minorities and women, and that absolutely gets my back up. Usually when I read things I disagree with, it's just that someone has a completely different view from me on a political issue, or they have a different definition of terms (like, feminism), but wow, this was the first time I'd actually ever confronted someone who is just blatantly racist and misogynist, and I wanted to explode.
Obviously, I wasn't the only one. There wasn't a single comment in support of anything he had to say, but in the spirit of debate, people constantly asked him to clarify his statements and give reliable sources, which he didn't, and when we point-blank called him out on his biases, he just did not answer them. Many of us repeatedly asked him, "Why do you think minorities deserve to be scrutinized, but not white men?" and of course, he didn't answer that because obviously he feels that he as a white man doesn't deserve to be put on par with minorities and that he deserves some special exemption. He had a lot of ridiculous BS to throw at everyone, but when really called on to explain himself, he could not.
And I was FUMING, so much. He obviously doesn't want to be called a racist or a misogynist, but hey, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck...
This got me thinking... WHY do we have to be polite to this guy? When everything he says is dripping with hatred or specifically-directed bitterness at the very least... Why do I have to respect his views, if his views are that I am undeserving, manipulative, and in all ways inferior to him, just because I am female and a minority? That's not a "different perspective," that's discrimination. That's hate. He obviously does not respect me as a human being, so why should I give him the benefit of treating him like one?
America has this prevailing attitude of "I can say what I want and believe what I want, because this is America." And I have to heartily disagree. When what you say and what you believe starts infringing on the safety and well-being of others (not just individuals, but entire sectors of the population), YOU NEED TO BE STOPPED. I don't have to respect you and see your side if you're racist. I don't have to respect you and see your side if you hate women. (You obviously don't respect me and care to see MY side, so I don't feel that you deserve the same consideration.)
You can only return understanding and kindness for hatred to a certain extent. You can only try to rehabilitate certain people and change their views. Sometimes, people just need to be stopped.