Got questions for Little Bobby? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Little Bobby,
My uncle has told me that I need to “give Donald Trump a chance” because “Obama was worse.” He also thinks the words “socialism” and “fascism” mean the same thing. The few times we have discussed these things, I feel like my head is going to explode. How can I fight stupidity and ignorance with people who refuse to listen to reason?
—My Head Is Going To Explode
Dear My Head Is Going To Explode,
I recently had dinner with four Trump supporters. The group consisted of two conservative couples. Each couple was about a generation older than myself. Over the course of a single dinner conversation, it became clear what their “issue” is. They are afraid. In between bites of their chicken, beef and other mystery meats, they voiced so many fear-based opinions on topics such as immigration and race, that I assumed their fear of vegetables was the reason they did not eat anything green.
One of my dinner companions went so far as to say that when schools in Texas were desegregated back in the 1950s, it was done “too fast.” I almost choked on my salad upon hearing such an ignorant and hateful statement. Not only should the segregation not have happened in the first place, but schools in Texas were some of the last to desegregate. In fact, the Mansfield School District, near where I grew up, was famous for being one of the VERY LAST school districts in the nation to integrate. They ignored the 1954 Supreme Court decision on integration until 1965! No doubt that was still “too fast” for my racist dinner companions.
Your uncle might just be an idiot.
She went on to dig her racist hole deeper and deeper by telling me the older white kids could not handle being in school with “black kids.” She said “They should’ve just desegregated the kindergarten and then let THOSE kids grow up with the blacks, because it was too hard on the older kids.” Her fear and ignorance, and her lack of compassion for other human beings, was, and is, truly appalling. I quickly lost my appetite.
You have probably heard it said that we “can’t fix stupid,” but I do not agree. Quality education can fix stupid. I have been stupid and I still am in some regards. I was raised in an ignorant culture, to be a part of an ignorant culture. However, with the help of kind, intelligent people, I was able to fix SOME of my ignorance. That hope applies to most of us. But what we cannot fix is someone who chooses to be ignorant and to stay ignorant. You can only explain the difference between socialism and fascism so many times before you are just wasting your breath.
I know someone who has been a victim of domestic abuse, and sexual abuse, several times. Despite that, this person STILL voted for Donald Trump after he admitted that he was a sexual predator. I have tried and tried to get through to this person. But at this point I am wasting my energy.
If your uncle thinks that “Obama was worse” than the sex offender who is in our White House, your uncle might just be an idiot. It is up to you to decide whether there is any hope of you helping him out of his ignorance. If you have an otherwise good relationship with him, if he ever listens to you about anything, like sports, cars, music or whatever, then maybe—just maybe—you are someone whom he will eventually listen to. But it will take a lot of patience and wisdom on your part. Are you up for that?
On the other hand, if he is an old racist, misogynistic idiot who only listens to Fox News, then there might not be enough hours in the day, or patience in your heart, to deal with that. You cannot fight ignorance. You will both lose, every time. You can only try to help or not. I know it can be frustrating. There are many people in my life that I would like to help. There are many people who have helped me. But if your “head is going to explode” then no one is actually getting any help. Breathe deep. Take a step back and reevaluate how you are using your energy. Best wishes and let me know if I can further help YOU.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“Fascist cries both black and white. Who’s got the blood? Who’s got the gun? | Putting on the black tie, cranking out the white noise.” —David Bowie, “Black Tie, White Noise” 1993