You’ve probably heard the word “infiltrating” before and maybe you think of secret agents, or the game Metal Gear: Solid. But what we’re talking about here is infiltration on a small, psychological scale. This can be done, for example, in the current climate of the United States, through gaslighting and manipulative speech that only requires you co-opt a small percentage of social justice language. Combine that with the fear of fascism, the panic of having every single one of your civil rights stripped away, and you get what’s called, “crisis fascism.”
People who otherwise would not have bought into fascism years ago, would buy into it now, even maybe unknowingly, out of a very distinct need to feel safe, to feel like nothing’s wrong. To feel that, when the time comes, if the time comes, they won’t be one of the people culled by fascism.
Which, if you know your history, is a repeat of things that happened during the thirties and forties.
But what’s this “personal bigotry” phrase? I’ve seen this now from maybe five to six different people on Mastodon, and I’m assuming that if it can happen there, it’s probably already happening elsewhere.
Personal bigotry is this idea that, while marginalized people definitely aren’t capable of enforcing oppressive ideas against the oppressive class (people who hold privilege over them) on a massive scale, they are, however, capable of doing just that on a personal, one-to-one basis.
Now, this makes absolutely no sense. But fascist ideas being introduced into marginalized spaces don’t need to totally make sense. They just need enough people to buy into the idea that it does make sense enough that their seed can be planted and it can grow.
And that’s what’s happening.
What is personal bigotry, really? This is actually just a re-branding of the idea of reverse oppression, that marginalized people criticizing and protecting themselves from their oppressors can somehow be classified as bigotry and oppression in and of itself.
Using this logic you absolutely could say that misandry is real, reverse racism is real, cisphobia is real, heterophobia is real—but those of us who’ve been around long enough know that none of this is true, or even possible.
What do fascists want more, than to convince you that they are in fact the victims and that the people they hate are the real oppressors. The real threat to society. That’s been their message the entire damn time.
In 2017, and going forward, we have to be vigilant. We have to pay attention. We have to look at new ideas being introduced into our communities with a critical eye. The next person this affects could be a total stranger, or it could be one of your friends. Yes, your best friend in the world could easily fall into “crisis fascism” and end up on the opposite side of the line.
Because the need to survive, the will to live, in every single person, is one of the strongest motivators in the world, and we have to keep fascism from infecting our communities to the point where there are no communities left. The next time you see this happening, it may not be wrapped in an easy to deconstruct phrase like “personal bigotry.” It could be something completely different, it could take you by surprise and maybe, if you’re not looking at it critically, it’ll convince you that these people are right.