The “Ism” of the Future

October 7th, 2009

Every once in a while on the internet, there is a discussion of some famous genius or otherwise admirable figure from long, long ago.  And, quite often, the person, despite their abilities, has some regressive beliefs about race, sex, or the like.

Someone will then inevitably attack the person for those beliefs.  And, inevitably, someone will then counter that by saying that those beliefs were standard back in those days, and “who knows which of our current beliefs will be considered ridiculously discriminatory in the future?”

I know the answer: Me.

No, people in the future won’t be thinking “wow, the 21st centure was really big on discriminating against bugbread”.  I mean “I am the one who knows which of our current beliefs will be considered ridiculously discriminatory in the future”.


Yeah, right there, that word will probably be verboten.  “Low intelligence” would probably be better, but who knows, that may still sound to future ears like “colored” or “negro” sounds to us.

Low intelligence (as opposed to ignorance) is a matter of genetics and perhaps nutrition.  We are pretty good with handling *really* low intelligence (sure, some people still say “retard”, but we’re talking about “geniuses of the past” and “geniuses of the present”, and I can’t imagine any geniuses using the word “retard”).  We understand that if someone is mentally retarded they aren’t an object of ridicule.  And, of course, a person of average or above intelligence isn’t an object of ridicule either.  but the grey zone in-between is a constant object of ridicule.  I’m no better, I do it myself.  It’s a rare day when I don’t talk about someone as being an idiot (usually someone I see on TV).  But on more sober reflection, while ignorant people have no excuse, people with low intelligence aren’t really to blame for their condition.

So, there you go.  My prediction.  If any future researchers from 2209 are reading this blog, I realized it first.

2 Responses to “The “Ism” of the Future”

  1. Iain Says:

    I first thought this very same thought in New York when in a “dscrimination seminar” the staff were told not to say other people are stupid. A worker from my office in Tokyo laughed and said to me “Yeh, but if there stupid then you should call them stupid”.

    By the way, have you noticed the abstract nature of “racism” now. There is no longer any agency. The utterer has no intent of racism, but stil the racism is deemed to exist.

  2. bugbread Says:

    I think that comes with the whole “invisible backpack” concept. I’m not really opposed to it, as it makes some sense, but the whole “no matter how hard you try, you will always be slightly evil because you’re born white and male and have an invisible backpack” thing can rankle because, you know, nobody likes to be told that they’re inextricably more or less evil based on the color of their skin.

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