by Dr. Boyce Watkins
*I once had a friend who thought it was inconceivable for a woman to defeat a man on the basketball court. My friend, who was a very good player, happened to come upon the misfortune of meeting his match. The woman who showed him up was a college hoops star and eventual player in the WNBA, and she made my friend look silly.
After losing to the woman in a game of one-on-one, my friend challenged her to double or nothing. The woman then proceeded to spank my homeboy like a four-year old at daycare, taking his money once again. But my friend was stubborn; his brain could not absorb the fact that he was beaten, and that it was time to walk away. The woman took every penny he had, and he still doesn’t believe women know how to play basketball.
I learned from watching my acquaintance make a complete ass out of himself that a commitment to sexism can get you into serious trouble. The same is true for racism, homophobia, or any other bias you hold near and dear to your heart. These prejudices cause us to make the irrational decision to cut off our nose to spite our own face. When it’s all said and done, the closed-minded person almost always loses.
A recent example of this phenomenon has been the debacle known as the Republican primaries. Because the right wing is so outraged about having a black man in the White House, the party has been hijacked by illogical extremists who are determined to make themselves into dinosaurs. Unfit candidates such as Rick Santorum have been pushed to the top of the party, and Republicans will ultimately lose the White House because of their own internal divides.
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