Bigotry is Poor Thinking

There are numerous successful arguments against bigotry, and quite precious few in its favor. Bigotry is evidence of rudimentary cognition — it’s a poor way to make decisions, based on a set of assumptions that aren’t true.

It’s tragic to find the need to renew these “arguments” anew again and again, decades and generations after the majority of Americans would prefer to move on. We are being held back by the obdurate third of us in this nation who refuse still to this day to get on board with the idea of a federated republic — despite the document their forebears signed, that they themselves swear fidelity to while trampling upon, and with the most reviling gall to do it while claiming patriotic self-righteousness as they shred the Constitution with help from 1/3 of the Supreme Court’s tyrannous minority.

Bigotry is a Cognitive Error

(a whole class of them, really)

In a broad sense, bigotry is a form of being fooled by appearances. It’s a habit of judging people primarily by their looks and events by their outcomes.

Bigotry is a kind of psychological bias, or set of them, along with a number of cognitive distortions as well. It’s not a good model for the world, and therefore has many undesirable consequences attached to failing to adopt more mature decision-making and conflict resolution skills.

What’s worse is that bigots wear this cognitive vulnerability on their sleeves and, in fact, are prone to bragging loudly about it. On top of simply being obnoxious, it opens them up to manipulation by unscrupulous characters who can predict their reactions to certain events and steer them through indirect means.

Bigotry is Extreme Reductionism

Racism and all of the -isms are examples of reductivism taken way too far. Our drive to classify people and sort them a priori into social strata is both common and dangerous. We get the categories wrong, we get the boundaries of the categories wrong, we’re slow to measure the drifts and changes, and generally have a hard time trying to “fix” the chess board via fundamentalist mind games.

Bigotry Violates the Golden Rule

The law of reciprocity is a familiar one, found throughout cultures all over the world over a vast stretch of time. Its core idea is to treat others the same way you yourself would prefer to be treated — to give what you get, in other words.

The prophet Jesus claimed it as his Greatest Commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Buddhists may see the same sentiment embodied in the concept of karma.

Bigotry is Unfair Judgment

(and fairness is better)

Bigotry leads people to pre-judge others based on fixed characteristics like race or ethnicity. The idea of prejudgment is closely related to the concept of motivated reasoning — which is a sort of putting of the cart before the horse, in terms of formal logic.

Prejudice is a kind of unthinking — a sort of passive acceptance of the vitriol passed down by superiors, for the purpose of delivering onwards to whatever scapegoat group is the target of the current regime.

Bigotry is Anti-Democratic

see: the 14th Amendment

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