Thought of the day

There seems to be quite some confusion around the word “bigot”. I encourage its use where appropriate because, why give undue respect to people? Call a bigot a bigot. Naturally, this brings with it some issues.

Now, I use the term when referring to foes of gay marriage. But I’m being general right now. I’m actually a little more specific than that: I use it for people who advocate against gay marriage. I have one friend who believes homosexuality is wrong and a sin and blah blah blah. But as a California resident he was against Prop 8. Right or wrong, gays have rights. That belief and his voting record absolves him from bigotry. A little more than half of his fellow residents, however, are active bigots. The same goes for my state. To deny a group rights because one simply dislikes that group is bigotry. This isn’t that hard.

The next issue is that people think they can throw the term around willy-nilly. Disagree with a position? Do it with little respect? Do it with aggression? Why, that’s bigotry, of course! Except it isn’t. If that was the case, every instance of revolution or social upheaval, regardless of context, would be a bigoted endeavor. A “bigot” isn’t just someone who thinks what you believe is stupid.

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21 Responses

  1. …..Yet you haven’t defined” bigot” except you know one when you see one. . I have difficulty when you defend a friend who is not a bigot because he is opposed to Homosexuality because his voting record affirms their rights.

    In my thinking his voting record on an ad-hoc issue may not be bigoted but his firmly held beliefs are! I do not know your friend as you do. But from your brief description he thinks it’s a sin to be gay, that’s religious intolerance. That’s bigotry in my mind.

    I guess what you are saying that it’s OK to be bigot -ted as long as you don’t act out on it….hmmmm…I don’t know about that.

  2. Bigotry, by definition includes hostility. We all have opinions of things, I don’t think, people should smoke crack. That doesn’t make me bigoted towards crack smokers. If I went around punching them, than perhaps.

  3. While I vote the same way you do on gay rights issues, I personally don’t like using “bigot” for people who were brought up to have certain prejudices. For example, if your grandmother is uncomfortable with gay marriage, I chalk that up to her being from a different time. If your younger cousin doesn’t accept gay people, however, and he grew up north of the Mason-Dixon line, than let him have it.

  4. We’re tossing around a word “bigot” because it can be used inappropriately. You seem to put the emphasis on “hostility” while I on the resistant non-evident belief in the word.

    I think my sweet lovable Grandmother can in fact be a lovable bigot like Archie Bunker….but nevertheless a bigot. I don’t use the word that much as we all have some bigotry in us……

  5. I only put the emphasis there because that is where it belongs. What really gets me is the word is typically only applied to certain particular disapproval.

    Wiki gives the definition as: “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.”

    Merriam-Webster: “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices”

    Is animosity towards those who disapprove of homosexuals not bigotry as well? It’s a horrible word and not really worthy of productive use.

    Personally I don’t care what gays do. That doesn’t mean I still can’t disapprove without being given a childish label.

  6. The meaning of hostility might belong to you…but not me. I prefer the Merriam-Webster definition. Hostility may or may not be based on bigotry.

    How can one disapprove gays??? What is it that you seem to vigorously object when nature created them that way?? What would ever change your mind?

    I have the feeling the answer to my last question would be nothing. If so, in my mind, the bigot label would apply.

  7. The same thing can be said of some criminal acts, that they are a product of a persons nature, that some people are more prone, even predisposed, to violence for example.

    I don’t think that it’s bigotry to disapprove of behavior, which is exactly, as well as the only, aspect of homosexuality I disapprove of.

    Things such as marriage, for better or worse, are privileges, institutionalized acceptance if you will. Staying with marriage, states are able to define the qualifications to have that privilege. They place all kinds of restrictions on who can marry, quite lawfully.

    How many times one can marry, what familial affinity two people can have, etc. Yes, many also say that the person you can marry must be of the opposite sex.

    If it were to be put to a vote to remove the state from marriage all together I would surly vote in favor of it. Alas, while the state is involved in the sanctioning of marriage the states, and so the people, are free to define the conditions of it.

  8. Even if you favor that definition, are you not “obstinately” devoted to your own opinion that my disapproval constitutes bigotry? You seem to be, just as obstinately as I hold that opinion.

  9. I keep away from the dictionary definitions on the word because they basically mean ‘anyone who believes anything firmly’. If we’re going to define a word to mean everything, then it doesn’t really mean anything.

  10. Well we can’t define our words individually. Pandemonium would ensue.

  11. We agree. . I am a bigot towards the bigoted.

    “The same thing can be said of criminals, that they are a product of nature”

    I think this is a bigoted remark to compare all homosexuals with some criminals . To my knowledge, scientist have yet to discover a criminal gene or a gay gene. If you have done so, I encourage you to write it up for peer review. I would like to read a critique of it.

    Both heterosexual and homosexual behaviour is natural. There are aspects of both behaviors which are unhealthy and dangerous. Would you then classify all heterosexuals as criminals????

  12. Paul, I’m curious to your insistence that “Both heterosexual and homosexual behaviour is natural”

    It sounds like you’re saying because it occurs in nature we should accept it. The same-sex behavior of animals research is mired by politics – my understanding is its rare to see animals that EXCLUSIVELY engage in same-sex behavoir.

    Should I really wait for some lemur studies to come in to tell me if I can courteous and respectful to gay people?

    Even if it was completely unnatural I would still tolerate and accept it.

  13. Your last statement would indicate you are not a bigot according to my meaning and usage of the word bigot…the subject of this post.

    I don’t understand why you are curious why I think both behaviours are natural. They are what they are. I believe studies of sexual identity indicate Heterosexuals are at the peak of the bell curve regarding sexual identity of all humans…..but the there are gradations of sexual identity both before and after this peak.

    I would call the behaviour associated with those varied identities natural. I’m not sure of the love life of Lemurs…..we humans are far more complicated than any other animal….but I’ve heard of studies which tell us same sex practices are on the rise for other animals Whether or not these studies are mired by politics I can’t say with any certainty.

    And regardless of the outcome, I agree you should not wait and see in order to be courteous and respectful to gays.

  14. You think it is a bigoted remark to compare one behavior with another?

    It’s just as accurate to make the same comparison with heterosexuals, I meant nothing by it. Was just reading an article about crime and whether or not there may be strong predispositions for some people to commit them.

    You can keep your political correctness, Its a fine comparison. I made it quite clear that I was comparing what could be considered natural behaviors, to make my point that even if true it doesn’t demand my approval or acceptance.

  15. When the comparisons are positive I do. When you infer all homosexuals are criminal is like saying all blacks are lazy.

    Those are bigoted remarks whether you mean it or not and I trust you do not consider yourself bigoted.

    Political correctness depends upon the political ideology of the speaker and to the audience he’s addressing his remarks. This discussion has nothing to do with right/left/center/ politics. The biological functioning of human beings is apolitical,
    Why can’t you accept that and move on.

  16. P.S.,,,,,Iv’e realized I have put all my emphasis on the physical and nothing on the emotional side of our human nature. Of course our emotional needs play a major part in behaviour. To love..to be wanted..to feel and touch and hug and embrace…to delight and pleasure ourselves and others…..they go on and on and makes us quite different than the Lemur.

  17. Michael: Based on your post, you appear to believe that anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot. That in itself is bigotry. A bigot is more than someone who believes strongly in something…that would also describe a convert, a fanatic, a “true believer,” a person of principle, etc. Bigotry includes an irrational commitment to one’s point of view and an unwillingness to even consider views different from one’s own. It might be helpful if you took the time to check out some “dictionary definitions.” For example, m-w.com offers the following, “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”

  18. Except I didn’t make any such inference.

    Behavior is still behavior. You’re too focused on what the behavior was. I compared two behaviors that are widely believed to have biological components, that’s all. It just wouldn’t have the same effect if I said:

    Socially unacceptable behavior A and homosexuality may have biological components. I like to talk in real terms. Greed is another biologically motivated but sometimes frowned upon behavior, one which you railed against in a recent post.

  19. Michael: Based on your post, you appear to believe that anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot.

    That’s actually exactly the opposite of what I said. In fact, my whole post is based on people calling others bigots for that reason; they’re abusing the term.

    That in itself is bigotry.

    1) You just admonished me for using the word this way. 2) No, it isn’t.

    A bigot is more than someone who believes strongly in something

    Good job, you contradicted your sentence that immediately preceded that one.

  20. ‘I focused on two two behaviors that are widely believed to have biological components”

    When scientist can isolate these components and can conduct sociological studies and control the myriad of social, familial and other influences on human behaviour, we might have a better idea as to the etiology of the behaviour. Of course, such a study is impossible and the debate of nature vs. nurture will be unresolved for some time…if ever.

    Until then, your statements are blowing blue ideological smoke on the subject.

  21. I’m quite certain that I don’t care about whether a behavior is the product of nature or nurture. In this case, like I said, I simply chose what I had just been reading about because it fit the space I was looking for.

    You are judged for your actions or in-actions. I’ll never hold a spoken opinion against someone, actions, that is behavior, I will.

    I also disapprove of people not using coasters. Am I a double bigot now? A super bigot? I’d rather be a super bigot if there’s a choice.

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