What does mocking achieve? I know some people have silly beliefs and attitudes, but how will ridiculing them change that? All that mocking will achieve is to create further divisions between human beings, which, I believe, was what the ridicule was supposed to be highlighting and protesting… you know, humans uniting against prejudice.
The racists protest against the Muslims, someone else protests against the racists, I protest against the protestors, someone else protests against me, and so on and so on. And what has been achieved? More division amongst human beings. And who benefits from that, but our would-be conquerors?
If we wish to influence others, i.e. if we actually want to end prejudice and not just shift it to the next unpopular group (history repeats, yawn), then we need to be able to engage with them in discussion, and to do that requires us to be tolerant and respectful towards them… in other words, we need to be the grownups, and we need to end our prejudice against them.
First and foremost we need to appreciate that people believe what they do for a reason. When we understand this then we will see that they, just like us, have their own beliefs, and, just like us, they have reasons for their beliefs, and also, just like us, they feel justified in their reasons, and – guess what – just like us, they are not going to change their beliefs just because someone else happens to disagree strongly with them.
So, who is right and who is wrong? The group who can laugh hardest at the other, or the group with the best argument? This is the point that we need to remember… If we are right and they are wrong then why would we even need to ridicule them? Why not just be confident in our position and create an environment where healthy dialogue can take place and where we can share our views? To lower ourselves to mocking others is almost an acknowledgement that our position is weak… not wrong, just not fully thought through, contradictions, hypocrisy etc. apparent.
We need to be mature. We need to be examples of tolerant, empathetic and intelligent human beings. We need to be secure enough in our position to extend a hand of friendship to people like the racists and to invite them to sit down and discuss – without mocking, without anger, without hatred – our different points of view. Of course, we can’t expect others to just change their minds immediately, but at least we’ll have created an opportunity to plant some seeds, and at least we’ll be creating an environment that will allow future dialogue to take place.
Ridicule is counter-productive, it creates divisions, and it is just another form of prejudice, and, therefore, those who engage in it need to consider just how serious they really are about tackling these issues, as opposed to just seeking an outlet to vent their own self-righteous prejudice. It is the prejudice in our own hearts that is the prejudice to be protested.