American Bigotry

Sunday, June 21, 2020 – American Bigotry

Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can. What a Colossus shall we be when the Southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it secure as a ralliance for the reason and freedom of the globe! I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past, so good night. I will dream on, always fancying that Mrs. Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries. ~ Thomas Jefferson, The Adams-Jefferson Letters

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 everyone 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 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

When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered. We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. ~ Robert F. Kennedy, speech given the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination at the City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968

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. ~ George W. Bush, second inaugural address, January 20, 2005

I know a good many people, I think, who are bigots, and who know they are bigots, and are sorry for it, but they dare not be anything else.~ Edwin Hubbell Chapin

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When we think of racism we think of Governor Wallace of Alabama blocking the schoolhouse door; we think of water hoses, lynchings, racial epithets, and “whites only” signs. These images make it easy to forget that many wonderful, goodhearted white people who were generous to others, respectful of their neighbors, and even kind to their black maids, gardeners, or shoe shiners – and wished them well – and nevertheless went to the polls and voted for racial segregation… Our understanding of racism is therefore shaped by the most extreme expressions of individual bigotry, not by the way in which it functions naturally, almost invisibly (and sometimes with genuinely benign intent) when it is embedded in the structure of a social system. ~ Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

White supremacy is the conscious or unconscious belief or the investment in the inherent superiority of some, while others are believed to be innately inferior. And it doesn’t demand the individual participation of the singular bigot. It is a machine operating in perpetuity, because it doesn’t demand that somebody be in place driving. ~ Michael Eric Dyson

Racism tends to attract attention when it’s flagrant and filled with invective. But like all bigotry, the most potent component of racism is frame-flipping – positioning the bigot as the actual victim. So the gay do not simply want to marry; they want to convert our children into sin. The Jews do not merely want to be left in peace; they actually are plotting world take-over. And the blacks are not actually victims of American power, but beneficiaries of the war against hard-working whites. This is a respectable, more sensible, bigotry, one that does not seek to name-call, preferring instead change the subject and straw man. Thus segregation wasn’t necessary to keep the niggers in line; it was necessary to protect the honor of white women. ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates

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. ~ Thomas Babington Macaulay, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1843)

The moral world has no particular objection to vice, but an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist. ~ James Baldwin

Our love of lockstep is our greatest curse, the source of all that bedevils us. It is the source of homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, terrorism, bigotry of every variety and hue, because it tells us there is one right way to do things, to look, to behave, to feel, when the only right way is to feel your heart hammering inside you and to listen to what its timpani is saying. ~ Anna Quindlen

Look back, to slavery, to suffrage, to integration and one thing is clear. Fashions in bigotry come and go. The right thing lasts. ~ Anna Quindlen

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less. ~ Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice

Superstition, bigotry and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life; they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed. ~ Victor Hugo

I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny – Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear. ~ Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995)

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

If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however often Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except bombs. ~ George Orwell, 1984

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Bigotry and judgment are the height of insecurity. ~ Jasmine Guy

Bigotry dwarfs the soul by shutting out the truth. ~ Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Bigotry is the sacred disease. ~ Heraclitus

Bigotry murders religion to frighten fools with her ghost. ~ Charles Caleb Colton

Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

A man must be both stupid and uncharitable who believes there is no virtue or truth but on his own side. ~ Joseph Addison

Never attribute to Devil-worshipping conspiracies what opportunism, emotional instability, and religious bigotry are sufficient to explain. ~ Shawn Carlson

Religion is as effectually destroyed by bigotry as by indifference. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wisdom has never made a bigot, but learning has. ~ Josh Billings

BIGOT: One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

He was so narrow minded that if he fell on a pin it would blind him in both eyes. ~ Fred Allen

A bigot is simply a sociologist without credentials. ~ Dinesh D’Souza

People are very open-minded about new things, as long as they’re exactly like the old ones. ~ Charles Kettering

A narrow mind and a fat head invariably come on the same person. ~ Zig Ziglar

Man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern. ~ William Blake

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. ~ Booker T Washington