What to do about a friend who is becoming a hater?
October 13, 2013 11:08 PM Subscribe
Someone close to me (a man) is developing an increasingly conservative, even bigoted, viewpoint on a number of topics. Please help me figure out what the hell is going on and what I can do about it.
posted by switcheroo to human relations (38 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is someone that I am (or was) very close with and whom I care deeply about. He's in his mid-20s and has been living in South Korea for about four years as a doctoral student. During that time I've seen him about twice a year, every year. The last two or three times he’s been home to the U.S. I’ve noticed a shift in his beliefs. At first it was offhand comments relating to people being “fat” (he insists on saying “fat” and “fatties” rather than obese / obese people). That pissed me off, so I started calling him out on it and probing into what made him say such things, which led to the realization that he’s developed views like this about a lot of issues.
- he thinks that people who are obese "have let themselves go", should be shamed, etc
- thinks that race is not much of a problem in the U.S.; see justice / prison system
- that poor people should be able to change their lifestyles to better their situation; doesn't accept that poverty is a cycle etc
- anti-feminist stuff.... (never got to the core of his beliefs there)
- has a huge problem with "sluts", which is to say women who have a lot of sex; thinks that having lots of sex is bad for society, even if there are no obvious negative repercussions like STDs or unwanted babies
- piercings and tattoos; has told me that if I get a tattoo he won't speak to me for a year (even after I pointed out how utterly absurd this is)
It's really alarming to me that his viewpoint is changing like this and I don't really know why it is. When I asked him about it, he talked about how South Korean society is a lot more socially conservative than ours. (Koreans apparently shame people relentlessly for things like obesity, and shun people with tattoos and piercings, as well as unwed mothers and people who dress provocatively etc.) But I don’t see how simply being around people who have views like these can have such a huge effect. Mostly he's ignorant of a lot of facts, and seemingly he's been reading things on the web that are backwards and confirm his biases.
I want to send him lots of articles that cite lots of facts to change his mind. Is there a better way? (If not, can you suggest reading material?) Is this something he will grow out of?
I feel really silly for asking this question, since in our society today -- or at least among thoughtful people -- most of these things are not even issues anymore! Please help!