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josie's avatar

Is the description "narrow minded" just another cheap shot. Just one more item in the bag of political cheap tricks?

Asked by josie (30934points) May 7th, 2011

Occasionally, on Fluther and elsewhere, when things get a little heated, the description “narrow minded” gets tossed out. I really do not think it is a description of intellectual capacity. I think it is intended as an insult.

Sort of like “racist”. Once upon a time, I think that there was a legitimate observation that people out of habit and/or upbringing might render a negative judgement against others based solely on skin color.

But then it became a tool. Now, all too often, the lable “racist” is simply a cheap way to try to get people with white skin to shut the fuck up if they have a legitimate disagreement with somebody who is not white (Like in the last presidential election).

Perhaps once, “narrow minded” meant that one did not really know how to evaluate a rationale debate, or analyze data.

Has that changed? Has “narrow minded” deteriorated into just another form of political insult?

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11 Answers

optimisticpessimist's avatar

It is intended as an insult. However, I always thought narrow minded meant that you only looked at something from a narrow view as in you only saw one side of an argument and either did not or would not look at it from another point of view. The problem with this insult though is that someone can analyze a situation from multiple points of view and still feel their original perspective/solution was correct. Unfortunately, if they are not good at articulating why they arrived at the conclusion, they are easily labeled as narrow minded.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I would venture to say that anyone using the term “narrow minded” is familiar with the definition of the term, so it’s quite likely that the person being called “narrow minded”

probably is.

After all, it’s not a term one simply grabs out of thin air.

WasCy's avatar

Don’t forget “mean-spirited”.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Now that I think about it, I don’t know too many people who are not narrow-minded. Most of us have very specific views of things that nothing will convince us to see any other way.

“Narrow minded-ness” is the norm, though we’re loathe to apply the term to ourselves.

ddude1116's avatar

I get the feeling that people use it to convince themselves that they’re correct, and everybody who disagrees is wrong. Personally, I prefer its counterpart, open-minded, when dealing with anything that pertains to it. Whenever I want to introduce someone who’s generally more conservative in their interests something bizarre, I request the “keep an open mind” about them or they’ll just dislike it. Otherwise, it is just a cheap shot as @josie said initially.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Yeah, it’s a cheap shot.

“You won’t give me the courtesy to accept _____ is a reasonable point of view.”

While conveniently ignoring the fact that denying someone their perspective is narrow minded as well.

The truly open-minded person would not be bothered with this discussion at all. “Open-mindedness” has no allegiance”. It has no investment one way or another. Seems to me that anyone calling themselves “open-minded” is a person using subtlety to influence a particular way.

Cruiser's avatar

It just might be an overdue wake up call.

lillycoyote's avatar

It’s always better, when and if you have an issue with or an argument or disagreement with someone’s position or politics or beliefs or values if you can express your opposing argument in more than one or two words, and if you can’t, if you simply rely on name calling with no further elaboration then there’s really no point in saying anything. Simply saying someone is narrow minded or racist doesn’t really accomplish anything if you can’t back it up, I don’t think.

ratboy's avatar

It’s so much worse when the narrow mind resides in a fat head, I think. But I’m willing to be open-minded on this issue, providing nobody disagrees with me.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Cheap shot.

I suppose the come back would be “I’m not narrow minded – I’m focused”.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Bit from column A, bit from column B, with plenty of overlap between the two. I think some people who like to fancy themselves intellectuals will throw it around without properly analyzing someone else’s arguments. Sometimes it’s completely accurate. Personally, I just don’t find it that useful of as either an insult or an arguing point.

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