Bigotry

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Bigotry is the characteristic of a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his own.

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  • τήν τε οἴησιν ἱερὰν νόσον ἔλεγε καὶ τὴν ὅρασιν ψεύδεσθαι. (Original: Greek)
  • κύνες γὰρ καὶ βαΰζουσιν ὃν, ἂν µὴ γινώσκωσι. (Original: Greek)
  • All seems Infected that th' Infected spy,
    As all looks yellow to the Jaundic'd Eye.
  • A man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes there is no virtue but on his own side.
  • The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
    May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.
    • George Washington, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island (1790).
  • Knowing that religion does not furnish grosser bigots than law, I expect little from old judges.
  • Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.
  • From Greenland's icy mountains,
    From India's coral strand,
    Where Afric's sunny fountains
    Roll down their golden sand;
    From many an ancient river,
    From many a palmy plain,
    They call us to deliver
    Their land from error's chain.
  • The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error.
  • Show me the man who would go to heaven alone if he could, and in that man I will show you one who will never be admitted into heaven.
    • Owen Feltham, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers: A Cyclopædia of Quotations (1895) p. 535.
  • A man may die by a fever as well as by consumption, and religion is as effectually destroyed by bigotry as by indifference.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, June 20, 1831; reported in the Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1909), p. 386.
  • You enquire where I now stand. That is a disputed point. I think I am a whig; but others say there are no whigs, and that I am an abolitionist. When I was at Washington I voted for the Wilmot Proviso as good as forty times, and I never heard of any one attempting to unwhig me for that. I now do more than oppose the extension of slavery.
    I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].
    • Abraham Lincoln, letter to longtime friend and slave-holder Joshua F. Speed, Esq., August 24, 1855.
  • I made a comparison at table some time since, which has often been quoted, and received many compliments. It was that of the mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858) p. 128.
    • Note: This quote is frequently attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who did use it from time to time, but was not its author.
  • I KNOW a good many people, I think, who are bigots, and who know they are bigots, and are sorry for it, bat they dare not be anything else.
  • There is no tariff so injurious as that with which sectarian bigotry guards its commodities. It dwarfs the soul by shutting out truths from other continents of thought, and checks the circulation of its own.
    • Edwin Hubbell Chapin, Living Words (1869) p. 231.
  • We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions—bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities. Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another, seeks to destroy all religion.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, campaign address, Brooklyn, New York (November 1, 1940); The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940 (1941), p. 537.
  • Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
    • Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869), Ch. LXII (Conclusion).
  • Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand
    With a grip that kills it.
  • The church has stood, a rock colossus of bigotry, in the path of ten thousand proposed reforms. Sane efforts to legalize birth control information, the manufacture of proper birth control appliances, appliances for the inhibition of the spread of venereal disease, public instruction in sex hygiene, free clinics for the treatment of venereal disease, the inspection and treatment of prostitutes, controlled prostitution itself, the publication of psychological and physical sex information, aid for unwed mothers—myriad attempts by sane men acting sanely on real problems—have been fought down by church-frightened legislatures and church-dominated courts.
  • The difference between de jure and de facto segregation is the difference between open, forthright bigotry and the shamefaced kind that works through unwritten agreements between real estate dealers, school officials, and local politicians.
  • Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
    • Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993), p. 12.
  • Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.
  • Some say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to require anything less–-the soft bigotry of low expectations.

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