Q: I was accused me of being a bigot. I have been supporting him through some tough times – I have been upset & pressured- and he said last night that “helping a black child” doesn’t make me good & that I was a bigot. For the record, he is black and I am white. I am hurt & concerned!

A: You didn’t mention what you did that he thinks is “bigoted.” You only mentioned that you have supported him and he hurt your feelings with his comments, especially the below-the-belt comment about “helping a black child.”

To me, there is a big difference between being a “bigot” and being prejudiced. If he accused you of having prejudice, I’d probably just say that since you are human I’m sure you are sometimes prejudiced. You probably have ideas about “men” and “women” and “blacks” and “whites” and “rich people” and “poor people” and “politicians” and “lawyers” and many other groups that don’t apply to every person within those groups. That’s prejudice.

To be a bigot you have to, I think, be against that other group, and see them as enemies. And you certainly aren’t against everyone in his group because you haven’t always been against him!

I basically just think that the specific words he used when he was angry are not very important. What is important is what you did that made him this angry, and what he did that made you angry (before, during, and after this argument), and whether you are glad that you have supported him as much as you have or if you regret it to some degree. If you are glad you supported him, keep it up and enjoy it! If you regret it, stop it. In either event, don’t expect anything in return for support you have given freely. (Don’t even expect appreciation. In a fair world you would get it, but the world isn’t fair – and if this person hasn’t been appreciative in the past there’s no reason to expect it in the future either.)

Bottom line: This argument was about something else. Focus on that. What matters is what actually went wrong between you. What he wanted vs. what you did… What you wanted vs. what he did… And how well each of you asked for what you wanted – and said yes or no clearly – at the time.


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