What is your view on this?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by waloshin, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

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    #1
    I've heard from two people that they are not homophobic but just dislike gay people.

    Now is that not homophobic? And why would someone believe such a thing anyways?
     
  2. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #2
    "-phobic" means "afraid of". Someone who is homophobic considers gay people to be some sort of threat (like that evil Andrew Lloyd Webber). One could, theoretically, be uncomfortable around gay people (dislike them) without viewing them as threatening.

    Of course, the idea that these people of whom you speak do not like gays is pretty absurd on the face of it, since hets have pretty piss-poor gaydar: how can they honestly tell if a person is actually one of them GLBTs? Every time?
     
  3. Shrink, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011

    Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #3
    Just a semantic point:

    While it is true that "phobic" refers to an intense but irrational fear, the word "homophobic" has taken on a looser definition in colloquial speech.

    Generally it refers to a negative attitude toward gay (and GBLT folks) in general. Not necessarily a fear, but a prejudiced attitude.

    Yes, I know that the psychodynamic interpretation posits that the negative attitude stems from an unconscious fear of of one's (supposed) latent homosexuality. As one with professional expertise in human sexuality, my attitude toward that theoretical approach is that it is b********t. (That's a technical term describing a poorly constructed theory with poor scientific and empirical support!:p :rolleyes:)

    I'm suggesting that one not be too literal regarding the word "homophobia)

    Edit: BTW, if you are looking for a quick and dirty, two paragraph explanation of the concept of prejudice - you won't get one. It's an entire field of study with an immense body of literature. Suggest taking some Social Psych and/or Sociology courses if you are really interested. It's a big area of study!
     
  4. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #4
    Actually, no, that isn't true. Although "phobia" has stuck in the public consciousness as meaning "irrational fear," mostly because it's fun to pass around all those technical terms for fear of ducks and so forth, it actually means any irrational aversion, which may be expressed with fearful or aggressive averse reactions.

    It follows the pattern of "xenophobia," which is not screaming terror of foreigners, but a prejudiced dislike of them, often with attribution of conspiratorial motives or projections of reverse persecution or ill will that usually are not the case.

    Very few people who "just don't like gay people" don't also have colorful ideas about the "gay agenda" and conspiracies to indoctrinate children, to "force (this or that) down my throat" and so forth. That's homophobia.
     
  5. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #5
    You make a good point.

    However I would suggest that in a true phobia the aversion contains a fear of some unspoken catastrophic consequence occurring as a result of exposure to feared stimulus or situation. In agoraphobia the housebound individual avoids going outside because of some (frequently unstated) fear of some negative consequence of going outside.

    I would still suggest that homophobia is a colloquial use of the term "phobia" and not a strictly correct usage.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #6
    I will never understand how anyone can dislike an entire group of people they've never even met. It's idiotic.
     
  7. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #7
    Hmm. I find that a visceral belief that homosexuality, or a society that tolerates it, entails some inarticulable dire threat is an incredibly common facet of "just not liking gay people."

    I agree with you to the extent that no one goes into therapy or is prescribed Klonopin to manage his homophobia, but I think the phenomenon has more in common with a "true" phobia than you are giving it credit for.

    I think one distinction to make is that the homophobe typically fears cultural acceptance of homosexuality, not individual homosexuals (except maybe Lee -- have you seen that guy? ;)). Because of this, he reacts to individual homosexuals with aggression instead of the way an arachnophobe does to an individual spider, but his fear is of the collective. I'd bet you you could take a substantial proportion of "colloquially" homophobic people who "just don't like gay people," drop them in the middle of the "gayborhood" of any big city and witness a reaction that might make that Klonopin prescription seem like a good idea.
     
  8. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #8
    Once again, interesting points.:)

    I'm afraid I may be being picky - so if I am...apologies.

    You make a comparison between the reaction of an arachnophobe ("true" phobia) and a homophobe. The arachnophobe does not act with aggression toward the feared object (spider), but rather seeks to escape - flees. One the other hand, some (many?) homophobes do not flee, but act aggressively (as long as the odds are in their favor). This strikes me as a very important distinction between a clinical phobia and homophoba.

    Again, I agree that there may be similarities between the two. Your point about a cultural fear ("they"re going to take over") is an interesting one. I'm just being a picky jerk about usage.

    And about Lee-- oy vey! :eek: ;)
     
  9. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #9
    Haha! You guys are funny. I guess I'm not what people think of when they picture a gay guy though.
     
  10. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #10
    Yes, but that's exactly the point I'm trying to make. Suppose you encountered someone who was very confrontational with old people, who went out of his way to loudly insist that it was morally wrong for medical science to keep people alive so long, wouldn't shake hands with an old person because old people carry diseases, who trolled around the Internet looking for discussions that have the most casual mention of living past sixty, or heaven forbid, an actual elderly participant, so that he could leap in and insist, for the million-and-first time, that he does not approve of old people. Suppose he founded organizations trying to pass laws requiring all people to be put on an ice floe and set adrift on their sixtieth birthdays, like ancient tradition demands.

    First off, I hope we can agree there's something that might merit psychological attention there, despite it being a pretty normal day for a great number of those who "just don't like gay people."

    But second, might you not speculate almost immediately that this hypothetical person is expressing an extreme form of the mild gerontophobia many people experience, say that feeling of unease many people get when visiting an elder care facility? What he fears is not old people but he seems terrified of old age, and very probably of becoming old. He does not flee from old people because he does not fear them as individual people. He doesn't believe the elderly themselves are going to attack him the way a spider might. What he dreads is the phenomenon of which they are examples.

    The point I was getting at is, fight and flight are (of course) opposite sides of the same coin. When the feared thing is more abstract, the expression of that fear could be confrontational rather than cowardly. Particularly in that very real set of homophobes who actually are repressing their own homosexual feelings, I think the term "homophobia" can rise beyond being just an informal synonym for bigotry, to the level of an actual phobia in the sense that should be treated.
     
  11. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #11
    Ok, I'm pretty much with you on this. You make a good argument. I don't want to disagree just for the sake of it. Your position makes sense - well thought out.

    It has been a pleasure discussing this with you. Respectful and rational argument is a joy. Too often discussion descends into argument ad hominem.

    Thanks for the challenge :)
     
  12. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    #12
    I have no problems with homosexuals, and they should get the same rights as a straight folks, but I don't like how someone is completely vilified for not sharing that view.
     
  13. Grey Beard, Oct 23, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011

    Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    #13
    Wally, you know that there are those that are for the GayWay and those that are against. Bigotry has been around like, forever. I recall your questioning your own sexuality and the lesson learned from that experience should enable you to confront the two people who are projecting homophobic tendencies, and just tell the pillocks to suck it up.
    KGB:D
     
  14. likemyorbs, Oct 23, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011

    likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

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    #14
    Agreed. I have no problem with the colored folks, and they should get the same rights as white folks, but i don't like how someone is completely vilified for not sharing that view.
     
  15. Andeavor macrumors 6502

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    #15
    When somebody tells me that, I will then ask them if they also dislike musical theater, television, fashion and getting their hair done...
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    Substitute the word "homosexual" with "black" or "Jewish" and the word "straight" with "white". How does your post sound now?
     
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #17
    Seriously, and when are we going to deport people who wear grandma jeans to concentration camps already? :mad:
     
  18. leekohler, Oct 24, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011

    leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #18
    I guess. I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks that people who are different from them do not deserve equal rights should absolutely be vilified.
     
  19. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #19
    This is a common confusion. Freedom of speech only means the government is prohibited from silencing you. To suggest that other private citizens should be discouraged from reacting naturally to distasteful expressions is to contradict the very rationale for freedom of speech in the first place, which is that every person is innately entitled to his own private conscience.

    If somebody is being a jerk, there is no principle of law or ethics that makes you a bad person for calling him on it. Quite the contrary, doing so has much to recommend it. When someone's sincerely held viewpoint is that the law should oppress a group of people for the sole sake of some vague benefit to his delicate sensibilities, then he is wrong. He is violating the spirit of freedom and the letter of its Constitutional embodiment, and his viewpoint, however sincere, is offensive to any moral person. While I stop short of saying a decent person is obliged to oppose him openly as a matter of principle, I present it as an eminently respectable option.
     

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