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Culture

Calling People "Phobic" Is Inaccurate And Dangerous

By S.G. Cheah·· 7 min read
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At some point, you'll have to admit this uncomfortable truth. One of the most annoying things about being a woman in 2020 is knowing that you're squandering a lot of your intellect thinking about really dumb things.

By this, I don't mean squandering it on mindless entertainment (I love a good silly sitcom or a trashy reality show just as much as the next person), but rather, I'm referring to us women spending our brainpower analyzing pseudo-intellectual, quasi-scientific issues brought up by the identity politics crowd. It’s almost impossible to have a productive debate anymore because as soon as you voice an unpopular opinion, you’re probably silenced by being called one of the following:

  • Sexist

  • Intolerant

  • Xenophobic

  • Homophobic

  • Islamophobic

  • Racist

  • Bigoted

If you have legitimate concerns about the erasure of borders due to globalization, they'll call you xenophobic. If you have valid criticisms about Islamic terror, they'll call you Islamophobic. If you’re worried about obliterating the meaning of what it is to be a woman, they'll call you transphobic. A phobia is traditionally defined as “an irrational fear of or aversion to something.” This is why accusing people of being "phobic" is inaccurate and dangerous, especially when people have legitimate reasons to be afraid.

Transphobia: The “Irrational Fear” of Transgender People

The latest outrage du jour we have to pay attention to is the controversy over J.K. Rowling's "transphobic" comment. J.K. Rowling, the author of the popular children book series Harry Potter, recently created an uproar on the internet because she tweeted about how absurd it is that we're using the phrase "people who menstruate" to distinguish between biological women and transgender women, in order to not offend transwomen (who, of course, don’t menstruate). In identity politics, “people who menstruate” and transwomen become subsets under the umbrella term “woman.”

J.K. doesn’t back down on defending biological women.

After being attacked on all fronts by trans-rights activists, Rowling wrote a 3,500-word essay defending her position on why she stands by her view. Unfortunately for Rowling, she received intense backlash from the public, especially from her fans. Luckily for me, I don't care what her fans think because reality is absolute. If you're born a man, then you're not born a woman. 

When a grown woman expresses her fears about women’s spaces being taken away, that’s not an irrational fear.

But by declaring this, Rowling was deemed a TERF, an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. From what I understand, the TERF is a supposedly hateful feminist who excludes transwomen in the fight for gender equality. TERFs are deemed to be intolerant by the intersectional, identity politics crowd for being “transphobic.” When a grown woman expresses her fears about women’s spaces being taken away, or how her sexual identity is threatened by transgender activism, that’s not an irrational fear.

Islamophobia: The “Irrational Fear” of Islamic Terrorism

Among the unfair accusations of labeling someone Islamophobic is the utter evasion of all the horrific atrocities that were committed by Muslim extremists under the name of Islam. It’s not “Islamophobic” to point out the problems that are inherent with devotees of Wahabism, which is a sect of Islam (albeit a very powerful one), who are bent on forcing the kafir (nonbelievers) to adopt things like Sharia Law, even in the West.   

If you’re aware of how Islam works, you’ll know that while there are moderate Muslims out there (like Zayn Malik and the Hadid sisters) they aren’t representative of the beliefs of most Muslims worldwide. Pew Research has shown that the majority of Muslims in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa believe in the application of Sharia Law, which includes killing those who leave the religion and stoning people who commit adultery. These values are not compatible with Western society, which believes in religious tolerance, sexual freedom, and women’s rights.

The majority of Muslims in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa believe in the application of Sharia Law. 

We have seen the social ills that have been caused by mass refugee immigration to Europe: ghettos that police dare not enter in England, bombings and terrorist attacks in once peaceful nations, and a disturbing rise of anti-semitism. Yet when residents of Europe and the U.S., including Muslim citizens, voice their concern about radical Islamic culture, they are shouted down as “Islamophobic.” Never mind that the majority of terrorism victims are Muslim themselves. Never mind that horrific abuse is still being perpetrated in Islamic countries. Those victims depend on the West to stand up for them in a world that turns a blind eye to their suffering.

Xenophobia: The “Irrational Fear” of Immigrants or Foreigners

The other common name thrown at those who are worried about immigration is “xenophobic.” We’re seeing a growing opposition to the concept of national borders. “Globalists” as we’ll call them, smear those who have legitimate concerns about how a foreign national would break a country’s immigration laws as being Xenophobic. 

It’s not Xenophobic for a citizen of a free country to be concerned about the blatant disregard from a foreign national who would actively break a country’s law. There’s a simple word to describe those who break the law. They’re called criminals. And as we have witnessed, criminals who disregard the law will lead to problems like drug cartels exploiting women and children into a life sexual slavery. 

It’s not Xenophobic for a citizen to be concerned about the blatant disregard from a foreign national who breaks a country’s law.

Yet, if you raise your concern about being worried about drugs, gang members, or other violence being imported from Central America, you’re xenophobic. If you’re upset that immigrants aren’t learning English, you’re xenophobic. If you worry about immigrants who don’t want to assimilate to American culture, you’re also a xenophobe. Apparently, having opinions on border security and immigration now constitutes an “irrational fear.” 

Calling People “Phobic” Silences Free Speech

The worst thing about this strategy is how it is really is an exercise in silencing independent voices. By calling J.K. Rowling transphobic, the aim is to shame her into silence. Calling people you disagree with "phobic" is essentially a way the identity politics crowd bullies their opponents into self-censorship. People are so afraid of being called racist or “phobic” that they’ve stopped speaking up. Self-censorship is a very dangerous threat to free speech.  

We can already see how this is being applied in other countries. In the UK, the government is now allowed to put you in jail for using “hate speech.” In Canada, you can be fined or jailed for contempt of court if you refuse to use someone’s preferred gender pronouns. New York already has a law that allows for massive fines if you use the wrong gender pronoun for a transgender person. 

People are so afraid of being called racist or “phobic” that they’ve stopped speaking up. 

In a country that used to value freedom of speech and expression, it’s unnerving to see activists so effectively using derogatory words in order to shame and bully their opponents into silence. We can’t let cancel culture and virtual name-calling bully us into silence on crucial issues.

Closing Thoughts

The underlying danger with smearing people as bigoted and “phobic” is that by doing so our society shuts down healthy and civil discourse. Personal attacks through name-calling allow for detractors to dismiss valid arguments as illogical. It’s the definition of an ad hominem attack. Those who engage in ad hominem attacks are not interested in seeking the truth. Rather, they seek to destroy — hence their affinity for “cancel culture.” As their political mentor Saul Alinsky taught them, “Ridicule is a man’s most potent weapon.”

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