As simply as possible: we are so used to the media and entertainment world portrayals of the bad guys vs the good guys. Even without the instant visual identification of black cowboy hats or white ones, we know that racists are stupid, foaming at the mouth, barely literate hysterical people and that anti-feminists are macho, arrogant, pompous windbags.
And yet, we all understand that we have family members who appear completely utterly normal who look and sound just like us…but are utterly racist. If you tell them so, if you treat them as so, they become belligerent and angry because they’re NOT racists: they just know certain things to be truths. As you argue why “Black Lives Matter” is utterly the right slogan and yes, “All Lives Matter” is inherently wrong to say, you will find yourself marveling at how some can be so oblivious to this truth. Because: they will not accept a label of “racist”. They’re not racist, they don’t want to be racist, they would never choose to be racist. What they do not realize, what they do not accept is that racism is not always an active choice: it can simply be a matter of absorbing, however unaware, the racism of the world around you and living within that reality.
And so it is with sexism and misogyny. Even some who would jump to the front of the line to call themselves feminists spout anti-feminist points of view, utterly oblivious to the irony.
From the beginning of the current US primary election campaign, we have seen and read much discussion of sexism and misogyny against Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Anyone who opposes her, anyone who disagrees with her, anyone who supports Bernie Sanders sneers at the suggestion. They know as an utter fact that they are not sexist: they couldn’t possibly be, so they won’t consider it for a single second. They will not dignify the accusation with a moment’s thought.
And off they go to discuss the oblivious racism of many of the perfectly good people they know…