The word "bigot".

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by garbonzo, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

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    The word bigot is thrown around a lot by liberals, especially to anti-gay opinions, but I'm wondering if it is a bit misused by now.

    Isn't an atheist who believes there is no need for organized religion a bigot?

    Isn't someone who calls another person a bigot, themselves a bigot because they are intolerant of a different opinion?
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    No.

    No.
     
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  5. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    garbonzo, you should search Bing for Google, search Google for a dictionary, then look up the word "bigot" in it, then look up every word in the definition in a different dictionary.
     
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  7. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    And you will conclude that, in essence, you are correct, unless you are old French in which case a bigot is someone from Normandy.
     
  8. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    Garbonzo what are you driving at? If you want to say something about a group of people then by all means do so but do it in a way that does not show your intolerance of others.
     
  9. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

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    What are you talking about? Can you intellectually explain why calling another person a bigot makes themselves a bigot because they are intolerant of a different opinion please?

    I've read the definition but I'm confused. It says anyone who is intolerant of a different opinion.
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The Paradox

    This is one of the last vestiges of a paradoxical argument in support of bigotry, that the rejection of hatemongering is itself hateful—essentially that the rejection of discrimination and inequality is inherently discriminatory and unequal, or that it is unjust to condemn injustice.

    It also comes back to a notion I often describe: Equality is an increase for the majority, but a diminishment for the minority.

    And its accompaniment: One is only equal to another when the one is superior to the other.

    Let us start with a simple dictionary definition:

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    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

    (Merriam-Webster)

    The first part of that is the longer-standing; the especial focus on the modern context you seem to be lamenting.

    My opinion on bigotry is that bigots ought to be proud of their outlooks. If they are ashamed to be called people who are obstinately or intolerantly devoted to prejudice, I would suggest the problem is being obstinately or intolerantly devoted to prejudice.

    You know, it's not fun to be called clumsy, but if the term is accurate?

    In terms of the anti-gay question, it isn't racism, and the homophobes demand to be called somethng other than homophobes. Perhaps it is presumptuous on my part, but the more accurate label of ego dystonic homosexual doesn't seem to serve the general purpose of human decency and progress.

    Homophobe, bigot, closet case. All of them are accurate. Which one will they step up to celebrate? What's that? None?

    Well, therein we find the problem.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    "bigot". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2013. Merriam-Webster.com. June 25, 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It's a bit more than that. It involves condemnation, contempt, hatred etc directed towards someone based solely on their race, religion, income, gender, sexual orientation etc.

    Someone who dislikes terrorism is not a bigot. Someone who dislikes all Arabs (because they're all terrorists) is a bigot.
    Someone who dislikes creationism is not a bigot. Someone who dislikes all Christians (because they're all creationists) is a bigot.
    Someone who dislikes gender reassignment surgery is not a bigot. Someone who dislikes transsexuals just because they're transsexuals is a bigot.
    Someone who dislikes the policies of the US government is not a bigot. Someone who dislikes all Americans is a bigot.
    Someone who dislikes criminals is not a bigot. Someone who dislikes blacks (because they're all criminals) is a bigot.

    See how that works?
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Bigotry is, properly, the intolerance of ideas, not people. We misuse the word "bigotry" to mean hatred or intolerance of Afro-Americans, Latinos, etc., but that is not bigotry, that is racism. We misuse the word "bigotry" to mean hatred or intolerance of gay people, but that is not bigotry, that is homophobia. (Yes I agree that this word was not well thought-out, but it's the one in use.)

    Hatred or intolerance of Christianity, Islam, or any religion is bigotry. Hatred or intolerance of Christians, Muslims or members of any religion is simply religious discrimination.

    No. Anyone (atheist or not) who is intolerant of organized religion is a bigot. To believe there is no need for it is not quite the same as being intolerant, although I agree that many people probably fall into both categories.

    Calling someone a bigot is merely expressing an opinion that this person is intolerant of one or more ideas. It may be a perfectly accurate description. It doesn't make a bigot out of the person who observes this intolerance and comments on it.

    We all tolerate bigots on a daily basis, don't we?

    This word arose in a previous era, and was applied, more precisely, to the Normans rather than the population of Normandy. At that time England was under Norman occupation, leading to the strange (but not quite unique) phenomenon of the occupiers being assimilated by the occupied people. The Anglo-Saxons never overthrew the Normans; there was no discontinuity in English government. Yet the Normans stopped speaking Norman French and adopted English, married Anglo-Saxons, and merged into the English population. There are still millions of Englishmen and women with French surnames, who consider themselves as English as the Queen, and deservedly so.

    The French back in the old country regarded the Normans in England as a different, but related, people. They coined their own words to describe them, and one was "bigot." The origin is unknown, but one suggestion is that it came from the common English epithet "by god," which the more devout French regarded as blasphemy.

    The same thing happened in China. The Mongols conquered the country and ruled it. But in the process they adopted Chinese as their language, took Chinese spouses, and eventually assimilated without ever being overthrown. It's been pointed out that the Chinese did the same thing to the Communists, whose political system was gently merged with Confucianism (respect your elders and let them own all the capital) and the Dao (stop complaining and make the most of what you've got), to become one that is more palatable to the Chinese--and astoundingly more successful.

    No, you've got it altogether backwards. Bigotry is directed at ideas, not people.

    No no no. Someone who is intolerant of the philosophy of terrorism is a bigot, and in this case we see that bigotry is not automatically a bad thing! Someone who is intolerant of Muslims (our biggest fear of Islamic terrorism is from Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear-armed Pakistan, whose people are not Arabs) is a racist, not a bigot. (We've already coined the word "religionist" to mean something else so we have to settle for "racism" when talking about hatred of religious people.)

    Again, wrong. Creationism is an idea so intolerance of it is bigotry. And again we've certainly rehabilitated the word and cleansed it of its negative connotations. Nothing wrong with being intolerant of creationism! Someone who is intolerant of all Christians because he assumes they're all creationists is merely an idiot.

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    That's not an idea, that's a surgical procedure. So the word bigotry doesn't apply at all.

    No, that's something akin to homophobia although I don't think we've come up with a word for it yet.

    He has to be intolerant of them, not merely dislike them. Many of us Americans dislike these policies, but we don't treat Congressmen the way some of us treat Afro-Americans, Muslims or LGBT people.

    Nope. Perhaps the word racism applies, although one of the defining characteristics of America is the Melting Pot, so we are actually "raceless."

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  13. arauca Banned Banned

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    great kid you just hit the righteous in their mouth.
     
  14. arauca Banned Banned

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    Do you know something else then NO NO NO , please explain you NO
     
  15. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

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    Damn, you always pull through. You are the best. The linguistics part of this forums wouldn't be the same without you. This has been so enlightening for me, I think many people have a need to understand this also.

    I used atheist as an example. =) So can you give an example of someone being intolerant of organized religion compared to those who simply dislike it and feel there is no need for it? I've looked up these words but fail to see a clear difference.

    Okay, so just like saying, "this person is a racist," doesn't automatically mean that I am intolerant of racism? Even though this is usually what it implies.

    As you point out below, there are many things we should be bigoted about, right? So we can't or shouldn't be intolerant of all bigots. But there still arises a problem in that we don't use classification when throwing around the word bigotry. We call someone a bigot without saying what for? Calling someone a bigot because they are intolerant of the terrorist philosophy is supposed to be a compliment whereas calling someone a bigot because they are intolerant of LGBTs is supposed to be an insult. So because I am intolerant of certain kinds of bigotry, that makes myself a bigot.

    So using the word bigotry without any classification can and does create a paradox. Saying, "bigots are the scum of the earth," etc. is naive, yet many people use variations of this. "You're a bigot," is considered an insult, but there is no classification around the word, like it is supposed to mean all bigots are bad. In the same way all racists are bad and calling someone a racist is an insult.

    Bigotry ≠ Racism

    So aren't the majority of us still misusing bigotry? What should we say instead? Would, "you are an anti-LGBT bigot," be more accurate?

    Okay, I have one question about this though. Why does Webster dictionary say this?

    This clearly says a group of people, not ideas.
    [/QUOTE]
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Actually there was no Linguistics subforum until I came on board. My only credentials are that I make a living as a writer and editor and that I have a great, but totally amateur, interest in the subject.

    I dislike it and feel there's no need for it (except instinctive, as Jung postulates). But I tolerate it.

    What I don't tolerate is that particular strain of fundamentalist religion (almost completely limited to certain Christian and Muslim congregations) which teaches its disciples that they are just a little bit better than the rest of us because they have "the word," and therefore have not just a right but an obligation to bring "the word" to us, even if it means disrespecting our rights. They believe that our civil rights, which are conferred by governments, a human institution, are trumped by their own directive to bring us around to their cause so that we will not spend eternity frying in Hell. They're just being nice to us and saving our "souls," after all, and we'll realize that and thank them once we have "the word."

    Usually, perhaps, but not invariably. And that one example doesn't extend to all statements of similar construction. If I say, "this person is a Texan," you'd have to know me pretty well (perhaps by reading my posts on SciForums

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    ) to figure out whether that was a compliment or an insult.

    I agree that the meaning of the word has been almost hopelessly muddled.

    I agree, this muddle has caused us to redefine the word.

    I didn't come across that one.

    As I've noted many times, English is a democratic language, not an authoritarian one. The people who speak it are the ones who can change it. Dictionaries merely record usage. But since written sources are easier to deal with than spoken, journalists, in practice, have a disproportionate influence over English. So it's inevitable that the dictionary definition of "bigot" will align with popular usage.

    We'll need a new word for intolerance of an idea.
     
  17. quinnsong Valued Senior Member

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    Great thread. Thanks. How about ideaphobe or just fundamentalist will do.
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    No, an atheist who believes there is no need for organized religion is not a bigot. He just believes there is no need for organized religion.
    Now, if he believes that all religious types are stupid - that would be bigoted.


    No, someone who calls another person a bigot is not themselves a bigot because they are intolerant of a different opinion. Thinking someone is stupid, bigoted etc for something they espouse is not bigotry. You can disagree with what a black man says without being a bigot. If you think that 1) all black men think the same as that guy and 2) therefore all blacks are idiots - then you are a bigot.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I suppose that would be right. But for clarity we should stick to the wording of the definition. If he is intolerant of religious belief, then he is a bigot.

    We're surrounded by stupid people everywhere we go. But we tolerate them. We can even work with them, play with them and love them. Stupid people can be kind, helpful, loving and tolerant. So can religious people. Most of them are quite decent and don't give me any reason to be intolerant.

    Only a tiny fraction of Christians are holy-rollin' fundamentalist evolution-deniers, and only a tiny fraction of Muslims are terrorists.

    My dog isn't very bright--not even by dog standards, since he's a Lhasa Apso. But I love him anyway because he does all kinds of wonderful things for me that don't require a 3-digit IQ. (Or even 2 digits.

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    )

    I don't think that intolerance of stupidity qualifies as bigotry. Stupidity is not an idea! In fact it's more like the absence of ideas!
     
  20. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    So would stupidity be a form of general bigotry since stupid people seem to be intolerant of ideas in general?
     
  21. arauca Banned Banned

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    So what is wrong to be a bigot, a bigot is the one who openly expresses their likes and the dislikes . We all are bigots , just that some of us express ourselves and many don't express them selves , them pretend to be open minded/
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Well actually, to be more precise, stupid people have stupid ideas.

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  23. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    Stupid people have NO ideas. They repeat simple ideas as profound... which to them, might be.
     

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