Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Is A Bigot?

What is a bigot, I have been asked. Well, what is a bigot? According to that treasure house of knowledge Wikipedia, "A bigot is a person who is intolerant of or takes offence to the opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset. Bigot is often used as a pejorative term to describe a person who is obstinately devoted to prejudices, especially when these views are either challenged, or proven to be false or not universally applicable or acceptable.

The origin of the word bigot and bigoterie in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and started with the sense of "religious hypocrite" Forms of bigotry may have a related ideology or world views."

Gee, it looks like there have been bigots for quite a long time - and especially religious bigots.

Quite often bigots will argue that their hate speech is in fact "freedom of speech". Let us look at freedom of speech also then, from WIkipedia: "Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship or limitation. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to denote not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are closely related to, yet distinct from, the concept of freedom of thought. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on "hate speech"."

Right, so freedom of speech is considered to be de facto - up until the point where it reaches the boundary between freedom of speech and hate speech. What is hate speech? "Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade[citation needed] a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, ideology, social class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, hair color, etc.), mental capacity, and any other distinction that might be considered by some as a liability. The term covers written as well as oral communication and some forms of behaviors in a public setting[citation needed]. It is also sometimes called antilocution[citation needed] and is the first point on Allport's scale which measures prejudice in a society." Thanks again, Wikipedia.

Just to sum up, freedom of speech is the expression of ones thoughts or feelings - without in the process committing hate speech - which is harming or inciting harm to others - which is something BIGOTS do.

Clear enough? So bigots in general commit hate speech in the process of being bigots. In fact, that is one of the defining characteristics of bigots, I would say.

While we are at it, here is another relevant definition, also from WIkipedia - "Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group." (they haven't included "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" yet, but the same principle apples.

Genocide? That's right.

Have a look here:

Many striking similarities between the items on the list on that page and the way bigots make war on GLBT stand out among the very few points that have not yet occurred in SA - but which are already rampant and unchecked in places such as Uganda and Jamaica.

  • They divide communities into "us" and "them",
  • "One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases",
  • "Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda...",
  • "Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity...",
  • "It is "extermination" to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human",
  • "The perpetrators deny that they committed any crimes".
Equate the above with the disinformation, lies, propaganda, hate speech, hate crime (including violence), campaings to strip GLBT of equality and human rights and the anti-social activities of GLBT-hating groups and individuals as well as related events around the world (compare them with those of other countries) - and see the future. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

And that, my friends - is a bigot.

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