24 October 2008

Bigotry

Several articles that I have read recently, both online and in print, have made me reflect on bigotry. Bigotry I think begins with not questioning the prejudices one may have  grown up with, which then harden over time into intolerance of the ‘other’ and then into hatred of the ‘other’—bigotry.

During hard times, like what is happening at present, I think intolerance of the ‘other’ increases.  When there is worry all around, the easiest way is to find somebody else to blame and so it becomes easy to become intolerant of the other.  And then unfortunately, we become targets of wily politicians, who use the basic fear of the unknown ‘other’, which is at the back of this bigotry.

But intolerance and bigotry lie at both ends of the spectrum.  Whether one is a religious fundamentalist or a left-wing ideologue, (or somewhere in between),  if we cannot accept that someone can have a view different from ours, we are on the road to bigotry and then when we reach a point of being intolerant of the other view, we are well on the way to becoming bigots.  We have every right not to listen to points of view that we dislike, as long as we do not deny—in our minds firstly—the right of that other person to have his own view, however misguided we hold that view to be.

I think that if one does not want to become a bigot, one must address one’s own fears of the unknown, the ‘other’ and often on a daily basis, during tough times.  This holds good from thinking that one’s househelp might steal because they are in need or are from a ‘particular’ caste or region, to the thinking that somebody who believes in the Almighty in a different way to mine, is more intolerant than me.  I have been sadly watching the build-up of bigotry on all sides of the spectrum and felt the need to address these issues in myself.  Hence this post.

9 comments:

Onedia Hayes Sylvest said...

beautifully written and all so true.

Well done.

hillgrandmom said...

Thank you Onedia!

Anonymous said...

So true . It is so saddening and makes me so miserable. I cannot understand the basis of intolerance when we pride ourself on our secularism.

Mallika
No gmail;no eveslungs

Anonymous said...
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Manasa said...

Very true. Well written.

J P Joshi said...

Came trekking...... Read your thoughts on 'Bigotry'. Beautiful indeed. Well said. We sure are passing through a very bad phase in the evolution of our nation. May better sense prevail all around.

I remember one saying that has always haunted me through life - read it when I was in my teens. Do not remember the author.

The saying is "The more tolerant you are, the less you tolerate the intolerant". It makes me wonder how then do you get out of this vicious circle???

Shellmo said...

A very true and thought provoking post. It especially rings true for me as I see what my husband faces (he is hispanic - I am 50% Lebanese.)

Dotm said...

A lot easier to handle if you remind yourself that everyone has the right to their own opinion and if you learn how to ignore what they say enough to prevent it from becoming important enough to upset you.
I sure do not enjoy listening to the speeches from the two who are now running for our next President. I never did approve of slamming someone just to win. As my Mother used to say- If you can`t say anything nice, don`t say anything at all. And my Dad used to tell us that while someone is talking bad about us they are giving someone else a rest.
Nice post.

Usha said...

very well written sue. Have you noticed that as children we don't start by noticing our differences until someone stands there and points it out to them. It is these some that we need to guard against and keep away from. It seems that in recent times we have just too many of them around. Hence the need to be even more wary of them.