Unfounded accusations of prejudice are just as bigoted and mindless as prejudice itself.
This new form of hate is called ‘prejudice staging’ where people accuse others of prejudice to stage their own political beliefs. The phenomenon is an effective tactic to discredit your opponent’s views, as we tend to disregard the arguments of those with prejudicial views, and rightly so. However, in too many cases in today’s society, accusations are made by outspoken individuals who don’t necessarily hold prejudiced views, but simply have fundamental ideological disagreements with their accusers.
Too often, accusing your opponent of prejudice is used to shut down an argument. Last month, when suggestions were made by a Conservative MP that there should be dental checks to authenticate the age of Calais Jungle Migrants – many of whom looked older than 17. A number of critics in the press denounced the suggestion as ‘racist’; despite there being no evidence that he suggested any prejudice on the grounds of race. Several commentators, including Jo Maugham QC and The Scotsman columnist Euan McColm even hinted that this method would be akin to Nazi policy. Accusations of this nature and scale are not only absurd and grossly exaggerated – as their accusers should be aware - but they belittle and patronise the issue of prejudice itself, by being too casual and unfounded. It is a form of bigotry in itself.
Fortunately, we are now entering an era of politics where these methods are facing a backlash in society and it couldn’t have come any sooner. However, the counter-intuitive aspect to this is that liberal and progressive thinkers are increasing their claims of prejudice, slogans, and name-calling in a more aggressive attempt to discredit their political opponents.
The failure of this tactic to work over the last few months, in recent elections on both sides of the Atlantic, has only emboldened outspoken politicians across the world. My advice to those engaging in this kind of behaviour, would be to start providing robust opposition in the form of reasoned arguments, and stop the prejudice staging.
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