Bigotry

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For this feeling there are many apologies, for there was never yet an error, however flagrant and hurtful, for which some plausible defense could not be framed... The two best arguments in the defense are, first, the worthlessness of the class against which it is directed; and, second, that the feeling itself is entirely natural. The way to overcome the first argument is to work for the elevation of those deemed worthless, and thus make them worthy of regard, and they will soon become worthy and not worthless. As to the natural argument, it may be said that nature has many sides. Many things are in a certain sense natural, which are neither wise nor best. It is natural to walk, but shall men therefore refuse to ride? It is natural to ride on horseback, shall men therefore refuse stream and rail? ~ Frederick Douglass
We have to live on this earth together. We cannot do without each other. ~ Floy J. Anderson
Every bigot was once a child without prejudice. ~ Elliott Ashby
We do not have to examine history very far before we see whole countries that have been blighted, whole civilizations that have been shattered by a spirit of intolerance. ~ Calvin Coolidge
In time of stress and public agitation we have too great a tendency to disregard this policy and indulge in race hatred, religious intolerance, and disregard of equal rights. Such sentiments are bound to react upon those who harbor them. Instead of being a benefit they are a positive injury. ~ Calvin Coolidge
The present difficulty, in bringing all parts of the United States to a happy unity and love of country grows out of the prejudice to color. The prejudice is a senseless one, but it exists. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
It is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
It would be unadvised to attempt to set up any one race above another, or one religion above another, or prescribe any on account of race, color or creed. ~ Frederick Douglass
Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Some people are ignorant, hateful, stupid assholes, and you can't fix stupid. We've managed to make it socially unacceptable, but there are always going to be idiots who hold unjustified racist attitudes towards others. Such is life. ~ Brad Matthews
Racism is an essential ingredient in the alchemy of empire, and always has been. ~ Justin Raimondo

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

Quotes[edit]

Sorted alphabetically by author or source
  • A man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes there is no virtue but on his own side.
  • Negroes are American citizens. First class taxpayers, but so often treated as second class citizens, if there is such. In our hearts, we would like to know what it is that the white man has against the negro. What can we do to make peace with the white man? We have to live on this earth together. We cannot do without each other. We as a group, want your friendship, won't you accept?
  • 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.
  • I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise.
  • 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.
  • The exercise of rights is ennobled by service and mercy and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The generally expressed desire of 'America first' can not be criticized. It is a perfectly correct aspiration for our people to cherish. But the problem which we have to solve is how to make America first. It can not be done by the cultivation of national bigotry, arrogance, or selfishness. Hatreds, jealousies, and suspicions will not be productive of any benefits in this direction. Here again we must apply the rule of toleration. Because there are other peoples whose ways are not our ways, and whose thoughts are not our thoughts, we are not warranted in drawing the conclusion that they are adding nothing to the sum of civilization. We can make little contribution to the welfare of humanity on the theory that we are a superior people and all others are an inferior people.
  • Yet in time of stress and public agitation we have too great a tendency to disregard this policy and indulge in race hatred, religious intolerance, and disregard of equal rights. Such sentiments are bound to react upon those who harbor them. Instead of being a benefit they are a positive injury. We do not have to examine history very far before we see whole countries that have been blighted, whole civilizations that have been shattered by a spirit of intolerance. They are destructive of order and progress at home and a danger to peace and good will abroad. No better example exists of toleration than that which is exhibited by those who wore the blue toward those who wore the gray. Our condition today is not merely that of one people under one flag, but of a thoroughly united people who have seen bitterness and enmity which once threatened to sever them pass away, and a spirit of kindness and good will reign over them all.
  • Overnight the world looked different. It wasn't one color any more. I could see the protection I'd gotten all my life from my father and Will. I appreciated their loving hope that I'd never need to know about prejudice and hate, but they were wrong. It was as if I'd walked through a swinging door for eighteen years, a door which they had always secretly held open.
  • Repugnance to the presence and influence of foreigners is an ancient feeling among men. It is peculiar to no particular race or nation. It is met with, not only in the conduct of one nation towards another, but in the conduct of the inhabitants of the different parts of the same country, some times of the same city, and even of the same village. 'Lands intersected by a narrow frith abhor each other. Mountains interposed, make enemies of nations'. To the Greek, every man not speaking Greek is a barbarian. To the Jew, everyone not circumcised is a gentile. To the Mohametan, everyone not believing in the Prophet is a kaffer. I need not repeat here the multitude of reproachful epithets expressive of the same sentiment among ourselves. All who are not to the manor born have been made to feel the lash and sting of these reproachful names.
  • For this feeling there are many apologies, for there was never yet an error, however flagrant and hurtful, for which some plausible defense could not be framed. Chattel slavery, king craft, priest craft, pious frauds, intolerance, persecution, suicide, assassination, repudiation, and a thousand other errors and crimes have all had their defenses and apologies. Prejudice of race and color has been equally upheld. The two best arguments in the defense are, first, the worthlessness of the class against which it is directed; and, second, that the feeling itself is entirely natural. The way to overcome the first argument is to work for the elevation of those deemed worthless, and thus make them worthy of regard, and they will soon become worthy and not worthless. As to the natural argument, it may be said that nature has many sides. Many things are in a certain sense natural, which are neither wise nor best. It is natural to walk, but shall men therefore refuse to ride? It is natural to ride on horseback, shall men therefore refuse stream and rail? Civilization is itself a constant war upon some forces in nature, shall we therefore abandon civilization and go back to savage life? Nature has two voices, the one high, the other low; one is in sweet accord with reason and justice, and the other apparently at war with both. The more men know of the essential nature of things, and of the true relation of mankind, the freer they are from prejudice of every kind. The child is afraid of the giant form of his own shadow. This is natural, but he will part with his fears when he is older and wiser. So ignorance is full of prejudice, but it will disappear with enlightenment. But I pass on.
  • Is there not such a law or principle as that of self-preservation? Does not every race owe something to itself? Should it not attend to the dictates of common sense? Should not a superior race protect itself from contact with inferior ones? Are not the white people the owners of this continent? Have they not the right to say what kind of people shall be allowed to come here and settle? Is there not such a thing as being more generous than wise? In the effort to promote civilization may we not corrupt and destroy what we have? Is it best to take on board more passengers than the ship will carry? To all this and more I have one among many answers, altogether satisfactory to me, though I cannot promise it will be entirely so to you. I submit that this question of Chinese immigration should be settled upon higher principles than those of a cold and selfish expediency. There are such things in the world as human rights. They rest upon no conventional foundation, but are eternal, universal and indestructible. Among these is the right of locomotion; the right of migration; the right which belongs to no particular race, but belongs alike to all and to all alike. It is the right you assert by staying here, and your fathers asserted by coming here. It is this great right that I assert for the Chinese and the Japanese, and for all other varieties of men equally with yourselves, now and forever. I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity, and when there is a supposed conflict between human and national rights, it is safe to go the side of humanity. I have great respect for the blue-eyed and light-haired races of America. They are a mighty people. In any struggle for the good things of this world, they need have no fear, they have no need to doubt that they will get their full share. But I reject the arrogant and scornful theory by which they would limit migratory rights, or any other essential human rights, to themselves, and which would make them the owners of this great continent to the exclusion of all other races of men. I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races, but I want the Asiatic to find a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours.
  • It would be unwise to be found fighting against ourselves and among ourselves, it would be unadvised to attempt to set up any one race above another, or one religion above another, or prescribe any on account of race, color or creed.
  • All great qualities are never found in any one man or in any one race. The whole of humanity, like the whole of everything else, is ever greater than a part. Men only know themselves by knowing others, and contact is essential to this knowledge.
  • All races and varieties of men are improvable. This is the grand distinguishing attribute of humanity, and separates man from all other animals. If it could be shown that any particular race of men are literally incapable of improvement, we might hesitate to welcome them here. But no such men are any where to be found, and if they were, it is not likely that they would ever trouble us with their presence. The fact that the Chinese and other nations desire to come and do come is a proof of their capacity for improvement and of their fitness to come.
  • They cannot degrade Frederick Douglass. The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me...
    • Frederick Douglass, upon being forced to leave a train car due to his color, as quoted in Up from Slavery (1901), Ch. VI: "Black Race And Red Race, the penalty of telling the truth, of telling the simple truth, in answer to a series of strange questions", by Booker T. Washington.
  • 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, journal entry (20 June 1831); reported in the Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1909), p. 386.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • τήν τε οἴησιν ἱερὰν νόσον ἔλεγε καὶ τὴν ὅρασιν ψεύδεσθαι. (Original: Greek)
  • κύνες γὰρ καὶ βαΰζουσιν ὃν, ἂν µὴ γινώσκωσι. (Original: Greek)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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., (24 August 1855).
  • Some people are ignorant, hateful, stupid assholes, and you can't fix stupid. We've managed to make it socially unacceptable, but there are always going to be idiots who hold unjustified racist attitudes towards others. Such is life.
  • 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.
  • There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • All seems Infected that th' Infected spy,
    As all looks yellow to the Jaundic'd Eye.
  • 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. 53.
  • There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man's heart and soul, the man's worth and actions, determine his standing.
  • It is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.
  • Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand
    With a grip that kills it.
  • Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
    • Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869), Ch. LXII (Conclusion).
  • 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).
  • We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.
  • 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.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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