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Tom Zirpoli: Hate and hypocrisy run rampant

Some people are racists, some are ignorant and some are just plain hateful.

Donald Sterling, owner of the Clippers basketball team, sounds like a racist as he tells his half-Hispanic and half-African-American girlfriend that he doesn't want her to bring African-American friends to his basketball games. Sterling is a smart man who has had a lifetime of travels, experiences and opportunities. During his career he has been around all types of people in various situations. Regarding his comments, he cannot be called ignorant; he knows better.

Then we have Cliven Bundy, the cattle grazer in Nevada who has refused for 20 years to pay grazing fees while his cattle feed on public land. Bundy has been characterized as a racist by those who have listened to his rants about how "the Negro" might have been better off as a slave. You don't have to listen to Bundy for long before you realize that he is not the smartest cow in the herd.

There are those who are both racist and ignorant, but mostly hateful. Musician Ted Nugent, for example, calls the president of the United States "a subhuman mongrel" and wonders aloud "if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War." Nugent is Exhibit A for this category.

Ignorant people take an observation and generalize their one observation to everyone and every situation. If they see a black person on welfare, then all black people are welfare queens. If a Muslim blows himself up, in the eyes of these folks, all Muslims must be terrorists.

Of course, there have been numerous white people who have committed hideous crimes of terrorism in the U.S. But people like Bundy know many white people and, thus, are able to grasp the concept that these bad white people don't represent the majority of white people. They don't, however, have close personal relationships with other African-Americans or Muslims.

Ignorant people don't allow facts to confuse them. The majority of folks on welfare are white. Many of them are veterans, the elderly and people born with disabilities. This, however, is information that doesn't fit their perception or worldview of people on welfare.

Sometimes, facts get in the way of their beliefs.

If you hate Jews, the facts about the Holocaust need to be challenged because they don't align with your worldview of Jews.

If you hate black people, the facts about slavery need to be challenged because they don't align with your worldview of African-Americans.

If you hate Muslims, the facts about the treatment of Palestinians by Israel must be ignored.

Hypocrisy is also a characteristic of the ignorant. Bundy, for example, talks despairingly about folks on welfare, but doesn't seem to understand that he has been on government welfare for over 20 years. The small fee he and other Nevada ranchers have been asked to pay the federal government - about $1.35 per head of cattle per month of grazing - is heavily subsidized by the government. We, the American taxpayers, are feeding Bundy's cattle.

Speaking of hypocrisy, I was amazed to watch how quickly so many Republicans came to the defense of Bundy after he claimed that he did not "recognize the United States government as even existing" and, thus, doesn't follow our laws or pay his taxes. Bundy owes over $1 million in back taxes. Yet, according to Republicans, illegal immigrants who pay their taxes and follow our laws must be deported because they "broke the law" when they crossed the border.

It appears that for some politicians, white ranchers who break the law are "patriots," but Mexican maids making our beds and cleaning our bathrooms are criminals who need to be identified at traffic stops and sent to jail.

Some people don't just have double standards; they have multiple standards depending on a person's race, religion and political affiliation.

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