We feel security when surrounded by others that share beliefs. We flock together in sameness. We naturally fear differences; they don’t easily fit into our schemas of life, challenging the correctness of our perceptions. These tendencies of seeking sameness and avoiding differences become the foundation for discrimination, violence and wars. An ethical approach demands we scrutinize these tendencies of division, reaching beyond bigoted impulses, and creating a better world.
More important than the political issues that separate one group from another is the end result of all the bickering. When someone believes that their beliefs, culture, or background is superior to others, their self-righteousness oozes out suffocating growth. Ethical leaders should primarily seek greater cohesion of the people they lead, rather than advancing one ideology over another. Sadly, some use the pedestal of their office to enhance divides and magnify fears, uniting majorities to oppress the minority. This is the bigoted corruption that destroys people.
Bigots Refuse to Hear Opposing Arguments
Alfred Adler warns that these people “talk about this openness and reasonableness, however, purely to reinforce their isolated position; they are in fact thoroughly bigoted, and it is very difficult to have any influence on them” (2010). Caroll Tavris and Elliot Aronson (Author) wrote “once people acquire a prejudice, therefore, it’s hard to dislodge.” He continues, “most people will put a lot of mental energy into preserving their prejudice rather than having to change it, often by waving away disconfirming evidence as “exceptions that prove the rule” (2020, Kindle location, 1,000)
Bigoted is intolerance against those that hold different beliefs an opinions from oneself.
The same principle applies to relationships on a smaller scale. The goal isn’t to get as much as possible at great cost to the partner. Ultimately, this path destroys trust, and builds resentments. The relationship flourishes when seen as a whole, respecting both parties wants and needs, seeking win-win solutions whenever possible, and compromising when differences can’t be mutually resolved. This approach, overtime, satisfies more needs for both participants in the relationship.
While we hold implicit biases, and make unconscious and prejudice associations, sometimes we allow our bigoted believes devolve into something more sinister. A more vile expression of bigotry is seen in hate speech. The internet provides an unlimited platform for damaging attacks. “Hate speech is defined as bias-motivated, hostile, malicious speech aimed at a person or a group of people because of some of their actual or perceived innate characteristics” (2011). The bigoted fool does not only hold unshakable beliefs of superiority but feels self-righteously endowed to speak with hatred with an intent to hurt others.
I don’t like the concept of tolerating Toleration differences; I much prefer embracing differences. We spend too much time debating with closed minds, unwilling to expand views beyond our silly little selves. Even suggesting there are alternative views will send the diehard into a tizzy. Life is complex. Usually multiple views are because an issue has significant trade-offs without a clearly defined “better” way. But in the angry exchange of words, we blind ourselves to those hurt by following one path over the another. We pretend that one political view benefits all; when usually there are clear winners and losers.
Blogger and Philosopher Dan Garro wisely suggests that “the more perspectives we understand, the more ways in which we are able to see something, the more we will understand what that thing is and its role in human life, in the human world” (2021).
”We spend too much time debating with closed minds, unwilling to expand views beyond our silly little selves.”~T. Franklin Murphy
The frailties of the mind intrude on logic. We grasp beliefs and refuse to update our belief as new evidence flows. We blind ourselves to contrary information while embracing flimsy supports. We too often support damaging ideologies long after the evidence has unveiled the damage of the beliefs. Proudly, and stupidly we march forward to the edge of the cliff.
Different cultures, beliefs and ideals create richness in the world. We can only discover the true beauty of others when we open your hearts and minds—and become a student of humanity, observing new constructions of reality, a different angle of view, and an expanding understanding of this beautiful life.
Adler, Alfred (1927/2010). Understanding Human Nature. Martino Fine Books; Translation edition
Cohen‐Almagor, R. (2011). Fighting Hate and Bigotry on the Internet. Policy & Internet, 3(3),
Garro, D. (2021). Perspective—In Pursuit of Truth. Do Better With Dan. Published 1-14-2021. Retrieved 2-17-2021.
Tavris, Caroll; Aronson, Elliott (2020). Mistakes Were Made (but Not By Me) Third Edition: Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Mariner Books; Revised, New edition.