Monday, February 12, 2007

From the 83% that aren't bigots

Shameful: that's the only way I can describe the recent poll that found 17% of Canadians wouldn't want a gay person living next door. 17%: that means almost 1 in 5 of us is a bigot.

A favourite blogger of mine addressed the poll on his blog; he was understandably upset and discouraged by the results. But it wasn't just the poll itself, it was also the fact that this number, 1 in 5, which seems so high for liberal Canada, got so little publicity. Where was the outrage from the other 4 in 5 of us?

Maybe we just didn't believe it. My first thought about the poll was that it had to be some kind of anomaly, the result of bad methodology or an insufficient sample size. Undeniably there'll always be a few knuckle-dragging fucksticks around, but I couldn't believe there'd be that many. So my initial reaction to the poll was to dismiss it as a crock of shit. But under my disbelief, there was a faint shiver of shame and embarassment at the thought that maybe, just maybe, it might be true. That 1 in 5 Canadians might actually be that bigoted. Even more so when I realized the sadness and the awful, hurting hate that those poll numbers aroused in my blogging friend... and little wonder.

It doesn't do much good to apologize for the ignorant and try to assure those hurt by these nitwits that they're the exception; I understand how a number as high as 17% could be disappointing, if not paranoia-inducing. I just hope that those affected will remember that for every one of them, there's 4 of us who'd welcome anyone except a bigot as our neighbour. And when push comes to shove, 83% can push a lot harder than 17%.