When it comes to social stigmas, nothing comes close to those three.
Not stealing, not lying, not even murder. Who exactly is the arbiter of what is and what isn't deemed culturally appropriate? The left is. They call the shots.
The left has decided that tobacco use is a terrible thing to engage in while marijuana use is fine. The left has decided that being a man who is accused of sexual harassment is a more egregious crime than a woman who may be lying about it. And the left has decided that being accused of racism (many times without merit) deserves mass condemnation and losing one's livelihood and reputation forever.
If you are a white man (especially one with conservative views) you are already in the crosshairs of social stigma. You damn well better not smoke cigarettes, or say or do anything to provoke the ire of a woman, or (Heaven forbid) say or act in any fashion that might be taken as a slight against a person of another race or culture. If you do, you're done. Ostracized forevermore.
Acknowledging that true racism, real harassment (whether sexual or otherwise), and cigarette smoking are bad things is something we can all agree on. No clear thinking adult person would ever condone any of these.
But these are not 21st Century enlightened ideas. Decent civilized people going back generations have always agreed that racism, in the true sense of the word, and the harassment of others is wrong. Period. And people always knew that cigarette smoking was unhealthy.
Contrary to popular dogma, even in the 1930's and 1940's, (usually recognized as the height of cigarette smoking in this country) the general population knew very well that cigarettes weren't good for them. It wasn't a secret. Most smokers knew it and many chose to engage in it anyway. Even in the old movies, the same movies that made smoking look glamorous, from time to time you'd hear a character say things like, "You oughta cut down on those coffin nails, they're not good for you."
But for years it was up to the individual to decide for him or herself whether to smoke or not, society as a whole had nothing to do with it. A smoker wasn't considered a pariah or a lesser person for smoking back then, but now smoking has become one of the three deadly sins of our modern world. Smokers are delegated to hiding in back alleys or out behind the garage. They are shamed and despised, looked down on in much the same way that heroin addicts or sexual deviates were viewed in earlier generations.
Conversely, smoking dope has become not just acceptable, but "cool." Thanks to liberal propaganda marijuana legalization is increasing each year state by state. No social stigma at all attached to using this particular drug. I would argue that opiates, cocaine, and even heroin has much less of a stigma attached to them than does cigarettes.
Sexual harassment, as differentiated from out and out sexual abuse or sexual assault, can mean different things to different people and is subject to interpretation.
The dictionary defines it as "unwanted or inappropriate sexual remarks or advances." So what does that mean? If a guy makes a pass at a girl a bit too aggressively is he engaging in sexual harassment? Yes, if the girl involved decides he is.
If a women happens to be attracted to a man who has come on to her, everything is honky-dory. But if she doesn't happen to like the guy, then she can consider that sexual harassment. Even just complimenting a woman on how she looks could be taken as a form of "unwanted sexual remarks" if the woman wants to interpret it that way.
We've seen how the leftists, the media and #MeToo movement have blurred the lines between harassment, abuse, assault, and sometimes just plain old-fashioned rudeness. In the rush to believe any woman who claims to have been victimized by a man, all affronts are equal. A remark, a gesture, a crude or sloppy pick-up line is considered in the court of public opinion to be as bad as any sexual crime. Once accused, the man is toast.
Being labeled a racist is without a doubt the absolute worst stigma that can be attached to a person today. In the past the term racist wasn't used as loosely as it is now. Originally the term was reserved for people who willfully and with malice engage in prejudice and hate against those of another race.
Today left-wing politicians and others freely use the word as a way to discredit those who disagree with them on policy issues.
If President Trump wants to build a wall to protect our southern border he is called a racist. If President Trump wants to have enhanced screenings for those coming to the US from terrorist countries he is a racist.
If you're Irish and wear a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo that's called cultural appropriation and that makes you a racist. But if you're Mexican and wear a green shamrock on Saint Patrick's Day, well that's fine. It seems the left is never short of double standards.
Strong terms like racism and sexual harassment are thrown around far too easily and too often. The words should be reserved for genuine infractions and not just for name calling to win public opinion. But name calling and stigmatizing is what the left does best, that's the only way they can win their arguments.
They can't win on logic or truth.
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