What is bigotry?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
22-09-2010, 12:35 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2010 12:40 PM by Ghost.)
What is bigotry?
Hey.

I have read some shocking things on this board recently. I'm going to respond to something BnW said to me in the "How do Theists Explain Races" thread here for two reasons. First, this would totally derail what I think is an interesting conversation about the nature of race. Secondly, I think that bigotry is a subject that this board would benefit from exploring.

So, BnWs response to me was the following:

Quote:RE: How do theists explain races?

Quote:-All cultures are valid


Why? Says who? Why do we have to honor all cultures equally?

I agree that we are all one race, but the idea that we all live our lives equally is, to me, absurd. I find nothing valid about a radical Islamic culture that believes women are property. I find nothing valid about a evangelical Christian culture that teaches gays, and everyone else who doesn't believe exactly as they do, are going to hell and must either be saved or destroyed. Was the Catholic culture that lead to 1,000 year Inquisition valid?

Quote:-Disliking a group other than your own is the definition of bigotry, so yes, only bigots dislike Islam


No, disliking a group other than your own based on perceptions and not facts is the definition of bigotry. Disliking a group other than your own for specific reasons based on actual events is not bigotry. Obviously when you define a group in the most sweeping terms (i.e. Muslims, Jews, etc.) it is tough to argue that bigotry is not in play but the simple act of disliking a group is not, in and of itself, bigotry.

Here is my response. I invite people to respond to my response to BnW and to post their own ideas and concerns about bigotry.

-----

Hey, BnW.

Quote:Why? Says who? Why do we have to honor all cultures equally?

I didn't say anything about honouring them. I said they are all valid. Just like all species are valid. They are all part of a system and we don't have the right to wipe them out or to undermine them because they are inconvenient. It's also irrational to hate competitors for competing with us when all life on our planet is engaged in competition.

You know what I think about better. There's no such thing as a better culture. There's just adaptive ones and maladaptive ones. The adaptive one's flourish while the maladaptive ones are self-eliminating. To quote the estimable Daniel Quinn, "There is no one right way to live."

Quote:I agree that we are all one race, but the idea that we all live our lives equally is, to me, absurd. I find nothing valid about a radical Islamic culture that believes women are property. I find nothing valid about a evangelical Christian culture that teaches gays, and everyone else who doesn't believe exactly as they do, are going to hell and must either be saved or destroyed. Was the Catholic culture that lead to 1,000 year Inquisition valid?

I can't imagine what living our lives equally might mean.

Accepting that cultures are valid has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with condoning everything they do. You can find their practices abhorrent. You just can't discriminate against, undermine, have animosity toward, hate or attack them because they are different.

If one goes after another culture based upon moral arguments, then they are implicitly saying that their morality is superior. That is the reason that the foreign morality must be denounced or replaced. I know of no universal morality. I know only of subjective moralities. I see no point in fighting over something that we know for fact will be different from culture to culture.

Quote:No, disliking a group other than your own based on perceptions and not facts is the definition of bigotry. Disliking a group other than your own for specific reasons based on actual events is not bigotry. Obviously when you define a group in the most sweeping terms (i.e. Muslims, Jews, etc.) it is tough to argue that bigotry is not in play but the simple act of disliking a group is not, in and of itself, bigotry.

It is absolutely, utterly and with out question, impossible for an entire group of people to conduct themselves the same in all cases, believe the same things in all cases, or commit an act of violence against another group or another individual as a single unit. For example, saying "that black man raped my mother", provided it's not a false accusation, is a fact and an historical event. But disliking all blacks based on that incident is completely irrational. Not all blacks are criminals. Not all Catholics are pedophiles. Not all Scots are cheap. And beyond question, not all Muslims in the world attacked the United States, support Sharia, like the idea of Theocracies, treat women like property, wish to commit acts of terrorism or have already taken part in acts of terrorism. To assume that they all do is to strip them of their individuality and their humanity. There is no fact or historical incident in existence that can lead a rational person to dislike or discriminate against an entire group of people. It is possible to dislike elements of a culture, specific memes, but it is beyond doubt irrational to assume that every single member of a cultural group possesses those memes and engages in those behaviours.

Disliking another group that is not your own is bigotry. That bigotry is insidious and that it goes without notice often is a separate issue.

Saying, "I don't agree with":
-The Inquisition
-The denial of rights to gays
-Female circumcision
-Materialism
-Vegetarianism
-Regime change
-Preemptive strikes
is a perfectly rational thing to say.

Saying, "I don't like group X because of Y," is not only irrational, it is bigotry.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2010, 03:09 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2010 03:12 PM by BnW.)
RE: What is bigotry?
Quote:I didn't say anything about honouring them. I said they are all valid.

I did extrapolate some from your comments, so fair enough on your comment. I'm curious as to what you mean by "valid" though.

Quote:It is absolutely, utterly and with out question, impossible for an entire group of people to conduct themselves the same in all cases, believe the same things in all cases, or commit an act of violence against another group or another individual as a single unit.

Ok, I read this and the commentary beyond and something occurs to me: one of us does not know the definition of the word "culture". I think it's you.

A culture is not a set series of behaviors that everyone follows, but is more of a set of values and customs accepted by a group of people with some kind of commonality, generally geographic and usually, but not always, a religious commonality.

Your "rape" example is flawed because rape is not a part of black culture (I'm ignoring for the moment that I think the idea of some kind of universal "black culture" is preposterous as it's besides the point). Someone who is the victim of a violent crime and, based on that experience, decides to blame and hate everyone who shares a common trait to their attacker - be that trait skin color, eye color, choice of clothing, etc. - is, at best, irrational and, at worst, a bigot. That, however, has nothing to do with culture.

However, someone who is the victim of a crime that has its roots in a common belief and value system and then blames that entire group - that culture - for the crime is not, in my opinion, a bigot for feeling that way. So, for example, if there was a group of people in some far away land who's social evolution said raping of women they did not know was a permissible and moral activity, then I don't automatically consider a woman who was raped by someone from that culture an irrational bigot for hating that culture. Note, I did not say hating everyone in that culture, but hating the culture I think is fair and not bigotry.

I'll go further and say I don't think the rest of society has any obligation to consider such a culture as valid or should have any compunction about working towards its total eradication.

Using a less fantastical, but equally reprehensible, example, let's look at the South African culture of apartheid. Treating blacks as second class citizens was an integral part of white South African culture. It was not something just one day decreed but was part of the social evolution of that country going back to its settlement and, therefore, I think fits within the definition of a culture (whereas I would not consider Nazism part of the overall German culture as it existed for such a brief period of time in the scheme of things).

Nations all over the world took a stand against apartheid, including sanctions and open condemnations. Were they wrong? Was the Afrikaner culture equally valid to, say, that of Irish Catholics and one that needed to preserved and treated with respect? Was it discrimination to single out white South Africans? Was it insidious bigotry?

Or, was it an attempt by the world at large to actively reject what they saw as not a valid culture but instead a political structure designed for the sole purpose of elevating a few people into wealth and prosperity at the expense of a majority of others. If the Afrikaners had made a cultural argument, or a religious argument, to defend their stance would it have strengthened their argument to the world?

Bigotry is when you attribute certain characteristics to a group as a whole and then judge that group based on that. However, judging a group based on the values and mores that they themselves put forth; especially values and mores that make it a point to treat different members of their group or other groups as less than or subservient; is, for me, not the same thing. Obviously, we're talking macro and not micro here - generalities vs. individuals. And, I readily concede you can quickly find yourself down the road to outright bigotry. But, I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at a culture that embraces female circumcision and having a negative view of it or trying to eradicate that culture, or at least that part of it.

Last point: I work for Scots and you are wrong. They are all dirt cheap. It's like a badge of honor with them. My VP is on me for every penny I spend. Otherwise, he's a great guy but as cheap as the day is long.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2010, 05:22 PM
RE: What is bigotry?
Bigot in modern terms simply means someone who doesn't want to roll over and go back to sleep when threatened by an inferior culture. (this would include a violent, sexist, racist and homophobic culture at the extreme end of the scale)

In non-liberalism terms a bigot is someone who refuses to do anything outside of their own culture.

In modern terms also it is considered bigotry if the minority classes don't have the same about of representatives as the majority classes, even if the ratio is 1:200 or more.

[Image: sigone_zps207cf92c.png]

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015
Live long and prosper.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-09-2010, 02:39 AM
 
RE: What is bigotry?
Dictionary.com offers as the definition of bigotry

Quote:1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.

The key here is intolerance. Atheists may stubbornly disagree with the creeds, beliefs, and opinions of theists, but most of us are willing to tolerate the existence of theism. What most of us atheists seek is freedom of religion for all, including freedom from religion. Some theists (many of them fundies) are intolerant of atheism, however. I'm very intolerant of intolerance, but I don't think that makes me a bigot.

I'm reminded of the Dylan song (It's alright, ma (I'm only bleeding)):

Quote:As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred
Quote this message in a reply
23-09-2010, 09:34 AM
RE: What is bigotry?
"I can have little or no tolerance for the religions and still like these people."

So then, does this statement mean that you are bigoted against the religion, but not the people? It seems that if intolerance is the defining characteristic of bigotry, then the answer would be yes. At least it seems that way to me. If this is the case, why is bigotry towards a religion any better than towards a persson? Also, how do they differ?

So many cats, so few good recipes.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-09-2010, 12:07 PM
RE: What is bigotry?
I'm not sure this matters, but it occurs to me that this thread title asks one question and then Ghost goes onto discuss a different issue on cultures and what it means that they are all valid. Then he goes on to examples that clearly deal with bigotry as opposed to views on cultures, which is what I was responding to.

So, I guess for me, the question here is: what are we talking about?

Seriously, I think we are having 3 different conversations like 5 posts into this thread.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-09-2010, 02:23 AM
 
RE: What is bigotry?
BnW - It's called thread derailment. Happens all the time. Is this news?

Stark Raving:
Quote:So then, does this statement mean that you are bigoted against the religion, but not the people? It seems that if intolerance is the defining characteristic of bigotry, then the answer would be yes. At least it seems that way to me. If this is the case, why is bigotry towards a religion any better than towards a persson? Also, how do they differ?
First question - yes. That's exactly my position. I have no problem with accepting that.
Second question - because religion is an abstraction. It's hard to cause harm to an abstraction, whereas bigotry directed at people often leads to harm.
Third question - see answer to second question.

I can imagine a riposte to this ... but abstractions are created by people. How can you be bigoted toward an abstraction and not be bigoted toward the people? Hence, I'll respond to that pre-emptively: It's easy. I do it all the time. I have lots of believer friends and we have perfectly normal social interactions and I don't hate or find it hard to tolerate them for having a belief I don't share, despite my stubborn intolerance of their religions, so long as they're not pushing their religion on me. They know I'm an atheist and apparently can tolerate me despite their misgivings about atheism. I don't push atheism on them, in turn.

Are you suggesting I should be tolerant of the intolerance religions have for believers in other religions? I don't feel at all ashamed about being intolerant of intolerance, even if it meets a dictionary definition for bigotry.
Quote this message in a reply
24-09-2010, 07:07 AM
RE: What is bigotry?
Quote:BnW - It's called thread derailment. Happens all the time. Is this news?

No, but it is the first time I've ever seen it done by the thread's creator in their opening thread. Just seemed novel to me and, therefore, worth noting. Like the first time someone reached the top of Mount Everest or the losing of my virginity.

Quote:Are you suggesting I should be tolerant of the intolerance religions have for believers in other religions? I don't feel at all ashamed about being intolerant of intolerance, even if it meets a dictionary definition for bigotry.

Count me in this group as well. And, when it comes to extremism, I'm an anti-extremist extremist.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: