April 13, 2012

Recognizing Bigotry

Consider the following statement for a moment:
I would not vote for a man who was Black.
Aside from a handful of teabaggers, I suspect that most people would recognize this statement as bigotry. Why? The statement implies that all people who belong to the specified category (i.e., Black) are unfit to hold office simply because of their membership in this category. Since the category is irrelevant to this judgment, we have both a falsehood and an unwarranted generalization. This is bigotry, and most people correctly identify it as such.

Now let's examine the actual quote from the Rev. Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz:
I would not vote for a man who was atheist.
Once again, this is bigotry. But this time, many people refuse to see it as bigotry. In the U.S. at least, bigotry against atheists is still socially acceptable. We are working on changing that, but we've got a long road ahead.

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