Are You a Bigot?

Bigot

Probably not, but you’ve more than likely said bigoted things and didn’t even realize it. You may be wondering if you are a bigot. If you are, that’s a good thing. It means you’re acknowledging that you may have said or done things in the past that were hurtful to others and you don’t want to do that anymore.

Maybe we should see what a bigot really is before we into the question of whether you’re a bigot or not. Merriam-Webster says a bigot is “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”. I would say that the fact you’re even wondering whether or not you’re a bigot is a pretty good sign you’re not one. But as I said in the first sentence, it’s quite possible you’ve said some bigoted things over the course of your life.

Right now, you might be wondering what you might have said that was bigoted. In looking for a good example of this, I tried a lot of different statements. But, one that a lot of people have said recently is “We need to take this country back!” Why is that bigoted? Think about this for a minute: who do we need to our country back from?

Lest you think I’m preaching to you from some holier-than-thou summit, rest assured I’ve made my share of bigoted statements over the years. Maybe not the one mentioned in the last paragraph, but that’s only because of timing. I looked for written examples, but I must have deleted them when I realized they were offensive. Rest assured that with my propensity to shoot off my mouth without thinking, I’ll make more. Take that as assurance that none of us is immune to momentary stupidity.

You might think we’ve gone too far; asking hasn’t the pendulum swung too far the other way? Depends on where you are in relation to that pendulum. If you’re a white male, yeah, from your point of view, it probably has swung too far. But, if you’re a woman, an African-American, a Muslim, a gay person, or any other minority, you probably don’t feel like it’s swung far enough because you’re still catching crap just for being who you are.

Whenever you say something, it should always remembered that what you mean is, at best, half the equation; the bigger half is what your audience hears. For example, you may not mean it this way, but what minorities hear when you say “We need to take our country back” is “We need to take our country back from you”. Now, in John, Jesus told us to “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other.” I’m pretty sure these kinds of statements don’t live up to that commandment.

Look, the point of this isn’t to make you feel like shit because you’ve said or done things that are bigoted, racist or any of the other ugly words we don’t want associated with our words or actions. The point is to make you aware that, sometimes, we all say or do things that are bigoted or racist or any of those ugly words we don’t want associated with our words or actions. None of wants to be “that guy” (or “that girl”). You know the one I’m talking about, the person who says incredibly insensitive stuff and has no clue how insensitive they’ve just been. Don’t you think being aware of what we say is the first step to avoiding that?