Bigotry is annoying and too common -- that much people can agree on. However, people also tend to think bigotry is unchangeable, which it’s not.

This could sound a bit idealistic, which is understandable. After all, there are many, many people who simply refuse to listen to ideas of equality, regardless of how much one tries to convince them. On the other hand, there are also many people who simply aren't informed enough to properly understand concepts of equality.

I myself used to be a bigot. It’s quite embarrassing, actually. In my freshman year of high school, I was conservative...and not just a little bit. I walked around the school hallways in a token fedora telling other people about why racism didn’t exist in the modern day, how abortion wasn’t a women’s rights issue, and why Fox News was the only reliable source of information. To say that I was a mess would be an understatement.

Yet somehow, my beliefs did a complete 180. Unsurprisingly, this was the result of education and research regarding the issues that I had been babbling about. After a year or two of friends taking the time to explain why I was incorrect, I was finally able to come to justified conclusions and understandings on the very real issues that still affect entire groups of people. Instead of blindly accepting what I had been told from one source, I began to do research myself and actively seek different viewpoints on the same situation. And while a large portion of this growth came from a willingness to acknowledge change, a majority of the growth came from friends around me who helped me understand why my views on certain subjects were bigoted and incorrect.

Of course, I need to recognize that I was privileged in having friends who were willing to educate me, and thus willing to put energy into changing the lens that I viewed the world through. It is not the job of the oppressed to fix their oppression - marginalized groups didn’t ask to be discriminated against, and shouldn’t be further burdened with trying to “earn” equality. But at the same time, we have to remember that people can grow and change, and that it helps to educate.

Obviously, we shouldn’t police how marginalized groups respond to their oppression. Doing so only reinforces the role of the oppressor. Sometimes we just need a little reminder that growth is OK.