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Mel Gibson and Isagani Cruz: Bigots?

Mel Gibson was arrested last month for drunk driving, but got into more trouble for saying that, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" (see TMZ for docs and more). He has since apologized, but he has been called a bigot, nonetheless.

A few weeks later, Isagani Cruz wrote "Don we now our gay apparel" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 August 2006), and provoked, among others, Manuel Quezon III's "The grand inquisitor" (PDI, 14 August 2006). Cruz asserted his right to free speech in "Neither here nor there" (PDI, 20 August 2006), which prompted Quezon to reply with "Oblivious in Cloud Cuckoo-land" (PDI, 21 August 2006). Others, of course, have jumped into the fray. And yes, the word "bigot" has been used.

Gibson has apologized, but Cruz seems unrepentant. Can a relationship be made between the two? Jews are different from homosexuals, right? Well, the best answer I have is: it depends. According to Wikipedia (as of 24 August 2006), "A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from their own."

If you think that Cruz was not being intolerant when he wrote, "Let us be warned against the gay population," then you would probably be right to think he is not a bigot. After all, he did not say "Kill the homosexuals." Which begs the question: what exactly did he want to accomplish by writing what he wrote? Did he intend to influence public opinion or was he just exercising his right to free speech? In which case, should Gibson be called a bigot? Best answer? It depends =)

Though many viewed Gibson's apology as a PR stunt, Cruz may want to consider issuing a similar statement:
I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.
But in the end, it may be good to reflect on a song from Avenue Q:
Everyone's a little bit racist sometimes
Doesn't mean we go around committing hate crimes
Look around and you will find
No one's really color blind.
Then again, how would you define "a little bit"?

Category: Education

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