Tolerance, bigotry and the difference between them.

12 Jul

So.

Ender’s Game.

The movie is coming out later this year and many people are calling out to boycott it.

The novel’s author feels that doing so is to indulge in bigotry against him, and has publicly pleaded for tolerance.

For those not familiar with it, it was originally a well loved science fiction novel, written in parts a la Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.

Long ago, and on the recommendation of a friend, I bought a used copy of it for my son–another avid reader who devoured books at such a fast clip that trips tot he library were a biweekly affair (once with me, once with his father). He liked it enough that I got him a couple of the sequels, then he moved on and I pretty much forgot about the novel.

Until a few years ago, when I started seeing comments about the author’s homophobia and general bigotry. After following links to articles written entirely by OSC himself–please keep in mind, I’m not talking about bits of text quoted out of context, but the man’s own words–I decided I’ll never read any of his books.

Yes, I may be missing out on great writing–or even just good writing–but I have the right to choose how I spend my time and how I spend my money, and the right to whichever criteria I want to use to make those choices.

I don’t see how exercising my right to free association–which includes the freedom NOT to associate, in any way, shape or form, with those whose views and beliefs I find abhorrent–means that I’m intolerant.

I am not advocating for people who share OSC’s beliefs to be deprived of their rights to believe what they will, or to express their views, or to marry who they wish*. I am not advocating for them to be viewed and treated as subhuman, nor am I lobbying for legislation to make it illegal for them to find personal happiness and live lives free of harassment. (Interestingly, OSC and many who share his beliefs, do advocate for all of the above.)

So let’s be clear:

Choosing not to associate with people I find abhorrent, and expressing such views publicly while not campaigning for laws that will deprive them of their civil rights, is tolerance.

Actively working towards making it legal to deprive whole segments of humanity of their freedoms based on the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, their national origin or their place in the gender/sex continuum is bigotry.

Orson Scott Card, the National Organization for Marriage, the Tea Party, WBC and others are bigots. I tolerate their right to believe what they will and to spew what they do spew, while exercising my right not to associate with them, my right to believe what I choose and my right to express those views.

~ * ~

* So long as both parties are legally able to consent, that is.

~ * ~

You can read more if you follow the links from this piece on Salon and this wonderfully satirical post by Ken at Popehat.

ETA: oh, and this awesome post by Chuck Wendig (tip of the hat to Estara Swamberg, over at Dear Author’s comment thread)

3 Responses to “Tolerance, bigotry and the difference between them.”

  1. Lori 12/07/2013 at 5:42 PM #

    This is an interesting situation to me. I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime and enjoyed thousands of books. Some of the authors, I later learned, were anti-Semitic, homophobic and/or misogynist.

    But I loved the books.

    Can you hate the sinner but love his work? Does reading something that gives you pleasure or peace or inspiration, if it was written by a bigot, mean you support his bigotry or did he rise above it in touching you?

    I do wonder these things.

    • azteclady 12/07/2013 at 6:00 PM #

      I wonder as well, but I’m a lot less conflicted when the author/artist is still alive and still able to divert part of the money I’m paying for his/her art/book toward causes that go directly against my own beliefs.

      I am quite convinced OSC will use some of the money he makes as a producer of the movie to fun NOM and other movements/associations that are working towards making homosexuality a crime (again).

  2. Lori 13/07/2013 at 1:55 AM #

    I think you make a great distinction with the fact that he’s still alive. I love the short stories of Saki and later learned that he was anti-Semitic. I really questioned my feelings about it but finally allowed that people are products of their environment and time. Do I like the author less? Yes. But I still love his stories.

    No chance I’d ever read OSC or support him. Just like I quit Curves when I read how anti-female the owner of the company was.

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