While reading some comments on social media, it occurred to me that, while one’s sexual preference and ethnicity may be genetic, being bigoted is a lifestyle choice.
I believe that bigotry is caused by our natural tendencies to be afraid of things that are different. It’s the same tendency that allowed our ancient ancestors to survive a time when that person who looked different from the tribe could kill them all.
Thankfully, despite what the Republican Party would have you believe, life here in the US isn’t nearly as dangerous. One of the best advantages of our country is our diversity and the freedom we have to be ourselves. Unfortunately, that also causes one of our biggest challenges, acceptance. You see, if we, as humans, are innately afraid of what is different, then we have a hard time accepting those who are, to us, unusual or out of the norm. Bigotry is, quite simply, a lack of acceptance.
So how is bigotry a lifestyle choice? Well, if fear of the unknown causes the hatred of others, then bigotry is fed by ignorance. In this digital age, where an unprecedented amount of information is quite literally at our fingertips, ignorance is a choice.
With a simple search, we can learn about the cultures of others; we can learn that all people and cultures, in addition to differences, share values and interests. It is hard to hate LGBTQ people when you learn the only thing different about them is who they are attracted to and love. It’s hard to hate people who have a different skin color than you when you learn they have the same interests as you.
Of course, learning these things isn’t just about having access to the information, it’s also about your openness to the information and a willingness to question the motivation of the sources of both the original and the new information. Again, these are all choices.
So, please join me in making the choice to end bigotry and the ignorance that drives it.
Whether you agree, disagree, or have another opinion, please turn this monologue into a conversation by leaving a comment.
Very well said, I couldn’t agree more.
I really liked this article, definitely ignorance is the source of intolerance.
The one thing I’d like to respectfully disagree is your comment on “despite what Republicans would like you to believe”, there is no need to get politics involved in this topic. Anyway, not all Republicans think, act and feel the same way…so generalizing a “group” of people is not in alignment to being open to other people’s individuality and differences.
Also, keep in mind that we, the people from other countries, are used to having all sorts of variations on our political parties, i.e. more than two parties, fake parties, merged parties, corrupt parties, etc. so this thing that happens in the USA of “R vs D” might not apply to all cultures. (Might not be found relevant).
Thanks for the feedback. You are correct, that was a bit of a gratuitous shot. I should note that when I said, “Republicans” I mean the Republican Party. It is an excellent point that I should not generalize groups and that not all Republicans feel that way, and I have changed the wording.
I also appreciate your point about the comment’s relevance, or lack thereof, to people from other cultures and countries. I do my best to be inclusive, for example, my first draft said, “Life isn’t nearly as dangerous.” I went back and added, “in the US” because, unfortunately, there are people in and from nations where danger really does lurk behind every corner.
That said, this is a blog for discussion about both world and US issues. So, while I will do everything I can to try to make this blog accessible to all, references to the US political system will be there. Think of it as an opportunity for people from other countries to comment and compare it with their systems. With that in mind, I would like to go back and discuss the context of my Republican Party comment.
That statement is driven by the doom and gloom, we are all going to die nature of the Republican Convention and the campaign many of the Republican candidates are running. I also know and recognize the fact that many people who are Republicans, are unhappy with this approach and don’t feel this way.
It should also be noted that the fear mongering position is not unique to the Republican Party. The Democratic Party used it extensively throughout the 20th century. In fact, it was Reagan’s positive outlook on the country that helped him defeat Carter in 1980.
Thanks again for your comments and look forward to continuing this conversation.