Thursday, December 29, 2005

On Bigotry

I'm a bigot. According to, a bigot is "One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ."

But I have a problem with this definition. I think there is a major difference between being strongly partial to one's own religion or politics and being partial to one's own race or ethnicity or sexual orientation. I think we need two words.

Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are inherent. And they have no inherent affect on a person's ideas. To say, "I hate black people because they are all gang-bangers or welfare bums" is a completely bigoted statement. For one thing it is totally untrue. For another, there is no causal relationship between race and gang-banging or anything else. But to say, "I hate Christians because they believe in irrational things" is different. (Note: I'm not saying I do. I don't hate anyone.) For one, this is true. Christians are defined by an irrational belief. They choose to be part of that group.

I am strongly partial to my religion (or lack there of) because I think that other religions are substantively wrong. I think feel the same about people who believe in god as I do about people who deny the holocaust, think the Earth is flat, or who believe 2 + 2 =5. If that makes me a bigot, fine. But I'm the good kind. People like this are the bad kind.


Mark Murphy said...

I agree with you. Back when the Badger Herald was taking heat for running The Cartoon, I pointed out that it wasn't racist to attack Islam because Islam is a belief system, not a race.

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