On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on satisfying psychological needs, insane murderers and the death penalty, ideological consistency, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 5 July 2015. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Speaking Out Against Bigotry

Radio Q&A: 15 July 2012, Question 2

I answered a question on speaking out against bigotry on 15 July 2012. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.

When should a person speak up against bigotry? My boyfriend and I were at a party at the home of one of his coworkers. One person at the party started using offensive homophobic slurs, so I asked him not to use that kind of language. He persisted, and the conversation escalated into an argument. My boyfriend did not take a position, and he later said he "didn't want to get involved" and that it had been "none of my business" to stick my neck out against the bigot. I believe that silence implies acceptance. Though there may not be a moral obligation to intervene, it still seems like the right thing to do. What is the moral principle behind this? Is it important enough to end a relationship over?

My Answer, In Brief: A person need not – and sometimes should not – dive into an argument over bigotry, but he should not passively accept or tolerate it either. In most cases, a person can register an objection, and if the bigotry persists, extract himself.

Tags: Bigotry, Communication, Conflict, Ethics, GLBT, Justice, Race, Relationships


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.

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