What is bigotry?

Feb 2013
4,324
Coastal Florida
I do not get the Bold part, could you elaborate ?

it could change my question about the underlined part but "we are not communicating anymore" , my dictionary says "Bigot is a person intolerant of ideas different from their own" , that is how I read this definition to mean anyway.

Definition of BIGOT
The line you referred to has to do with methods of debate. While it may not be logically fallacious to refer to a person, it can sometimes result in someone claiming you've insulted them by doing so. To avoid this, it's often said that arguments should be directed at expressed views and actions rather than the persons who generate them. I agree with this. However, any argument about a view or action entails material consequences, particularly that a person who produced the view or action will meet the definition of a person who is defined as producing views matching your argument. For instance, if someone claims 2+2=5 and I say he gave the wrong answer, he might claim I called him a "wrong answer giver" because he didn't like hearing my argument concerning his expressed view. In the vast majority of cases, this won't be a problem because a dentist likely won't mind hearing an argument claiming his work is an example of dentistry and a speaker is probably not going to mind hearing arguments claiming his spoken words comprise a speech. In the case of the "wrong answer giver", other people would probably not entertain claims that he's been insulted because "wrong answer giver" has never typically been used as an insult and he did, in fact, give a wrong answer, as it's mathematically impossible for 2+2 to ever equal 5, regardless of radix when using standard numeration symbols [i.e. radix(2): numeral 2 doesn't exist; radix(3): 2+2=11; radix(4): 2+2=10; radix(>4): 2+2=4 in every case].

It's also possible you could be dealing with an argument which describes an expressed view but a material consequence is that the speaker would meet the definition of a noun that's typically used as an insult or pejorative term, which we can verify by consulting what seems to be the only objective extant sources which are capable of answering this question (i.e. the lexicographical corpus). For example, arguing that an expressed view is an example of bitchery would meet this criteria as we have evidence demonstrating the term bitch is generalized as an insulting or pejorative term, and has been for centuries. Even though this would also be an example of an argument concerning an idea rather than a person, I think one could make a reasonable case that this could be considered insulting or pejorative. Finally, we have the seemingly rarest class, the one to which the term bigotry belongs. This class seems to involve a very vocal, but semantically insignificant (overall), minority group attempting to have this term removed from what we might consider the reasonable domain of discourse by unilaterally imposing a political agenda consisting of prejudicial, dogmatic claims that this term has been generalized as an insult or pejorative term when no objective evidence appears to exist in support of those claims. It seems to me the people pursuing this political agenda merely don't like hearing this term and support their claims by relying only on personal and unfounded political opinions in an apparent effort to impose their agenda on everyone else around them. In my opinion, the degree to which they've succeeded in imposing this political agenda over the years is the reason why a relatively small segment of the population is confused about what bigotry is and can't recognize it when it smacks them in the face or arises in their own minds.

I used to be one of these people. I was raised in a southern family in which bigotry was ubiquitous and I was indoctrinated with it. Even after I thought I got a handle on it many years later, some great friends pointed out errors of ideation still remaining within my mind concerning it. As a result, I spent a great deal of time in self-reflection and studying the topic. Mostly, I was interested in its political and social history. However, historical lexicography is another interest of mine. So, the two have since been combined and I've searched for the meaning of this term in probably hundreds of dictionaries. As far as general purpose dictionaries go, the development of the definition has been rather stagnant. Before the 17th century, we really have no substantial, reliable evidence of how the term was generally used and, as far as I've been able to discern, real dictionaries which would include this term didn't exist until around the turn of that century. As the term presents in the first generation of real english & french dictionaries, we know the term itself predates what we might consider modern lexicography. However, the general outline of its origin appears pretty clear. The term seems to have arisen within or near France during the long period of religious conflict which culminated in the Reformation. Fittingly, the term was essentially defined as what we would recognize as intolerance predicated upon religious dogma & hypocrisy in the first generation of English & French dictionaries. For example, see Randle Cottgrave's 1611 bilingual dictionary, the earliest English dictionary in which I've verified the presence of the term:

Bigotie; or, Bigotise: f. Hypocrisie; Superstition, too much curiositie, or scruple of conscience.
However, it wasn't long before it lost it's exclusively religious context. As secular thought developed, the definition changed to basically what we have today. For instance, see Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary:

Bigotry. n. f.
Blind zeal; prejudice; unreasonable warmth in favor of party or opinions
And also two editions of Nathan Bailey's 18th century dictionary to see other variations and the degree of change within the entry (3rd and 20th editions, respectively):

BIGOTTED, become a bigot, zealously and obstinately adhering to a party or principle of religion

BIGOTTISM, a stiff adherence to a party or opinion, though without or against reason
BIGOTTED
BIGOTTISM } Superstition, Hypocrisy, a fond and obstinate adhering to a Man's own Opinions and Humours
All the way up to the present day, it doesn't really make any difference which dictionary you consult. The definitions seem to all draw from the same semantic well with a lot of recycling of the phrases and terminology from one dictionary to another. Many provide more specific examples like those above and others, particularly some of the more modern examples like the one you cited, provide a simpler definition which easily and logically encompasses all of the earlier ones.

To my knowledge, the creators of the lexicographical corpus possess the only objective means in existence to realistically discern and record how words are usually or normally used. We have genres of dictionaries which record insults as well as usage dictionaries which record significant semantic controversies (disagreements over how words are used). To date, none, to my knowledge, support the notion that this term has ever been generalized as an insult or pejorative term. There is also no evidence whatsoever that the "vocal minority" I mentioned above has ever grown prominent enough within the overall society to have their political agenda immortalized in a dictionary and their dogmatic beliefs about the meaning of the term bigotry recognized by any competent body or organization as "normal" or "typical" usage. Heck, it doesn't seem that dictionaries recording either insults or semantic controversies have even recorded the term at all. Considering the extensive range of evidence I've consulted which speaks directly to this question, I feel comfortable resting my conclusion regarding this matter upon objective evidence consisting of the entire English lexicographical corpus spanning the last 400 years, including any dictionary sitting on your or anyone else's bookshelf that I haven't had the opportunity to consult. If you or anyone else has any objective evidence which contradicts the scope and breadth of my conclusions, I'm very interested in seeing it and I'm perfectly willing to consider changing my position if new objective evidence is brought to my attention.
 
Feb 2013
4,324
Coastal Florida
I don't need to look in a dictionary to know that the word is inherently pejorative in normal British usage, unless there are some strange people who are happy to acknowledge that they hold strong views on no considered basis and are highly intolerant of those who think differently; it is certainly rude to call someone a bigot, and one cannot use the term without implying a criticism.
When you say you don't need to consult what appears to me the only objectively compiled evidence which exists that is capable of supporting a conclusion about what is "normal" in this regard (i.e. the lexicographical corpus), your claim appears to be an example of prejudicial dogma and the fact you explicitly claim to "know" this apparently unfounded dogma seems to imply you don't believe any other view could possibly be correct. I don't know whether you're happy about it but that appears to be a tacit acknowledgment that you "hold strong views on no considered basis and are highly intolerant of those who think differently", at least when it comes to this matter.
 
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Feb 2013
4,324
Coastal Florida
I could consider this an attempt to allow the usage of a term which is very useful [as rhetorical tool] in a discussion:

the label "bigot", justified or not, generates a general prejudice about what the "bigot" says [or posts in a thread, since this is a forum]. Why to exert yourself? It's useless to try and understand the reason that a bigot presents to sustain an argument ... he's [or she's] a bigot ...

I prefer arguments and counterarguments to labels. Overall because even a real bigot can say something which makes sense ... but it's true the other way round as well.
I made no such claim. In fact, I explicitly stated it wasn't a good idea to call someone a bigot:
...this is not a good way to handle the topic.

I'd also note the OP's original question:
Basically, is there an objective metaphysical definition of the word bigotry that can be reached, or do people just use it as a word for emotions or concepts that they do not like, or consider offensive, and hence these ideas should be suppresed in thebpublic sphere.
I've merely answered it...and cited a mountain of objective evidence in support of my position. That mountain of evidence provides exactly what was asked for, an objective definition.
 
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Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
When you say you don't need to consult what appears to me the only objectively compiled evidence which exists (i.e. the lexicographical corpus), your claim appears to be an example of prejudicial dogma and the fact you explicitly claim to "know" this apparently unfounded dogma implies you don't believe any other view could possibly be correct. I don't know whether you're happy about it but that appears to be a tacit acknowledgment that you "hold strong views on no considered basis and are highly intolerant of those who think differently", at least when it comes to this matter.
Sorry, this is just weird. I have been a native speaker of English (British English, as I specified) for more than half a century, and I know what commonly used words mean in current British usage; and as regards current usage, authors of dictionaries do more than record that usage, they have no authority that extends beyond that of any educated and literate person. The word is pejorative and it is rude to apply it someone, because it implies that the person in question hold strong views on no properly reasonable basis and is intolerant of those who hold other views in the relevant regard; so it implies both irrationality and spite. This is a word that is used very commonly in both speech and print, it is consistently used in that way, and it is bizarre to suggest that an educated person is being 'dogmatic' when he interprets the meaning of such a word from his own regular experience and reading rather than consulting a dictionary!! In point of fact, a dictionary will confirm what everyone knows from everyday experience. E.g, Cambridge dictionary definition: "a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who does not like other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life", with the pejorative implications indicated (if that were necessay) through the example cited, 'a religious bigot', 'He was known to be an opinionated loud-mouthed bigot'. Dictionaries can of course be useful for finding out more about historical usage, or about regional differences.
 
Feb 2013
4,324
Coastal Florida
The word is pejorative and it is rude to apply it someone, because it implies that the person in question hold strong views on no properly reasonable basis and is intolerant of those who hold other views in the relevant regard; so it implies both irrationality and spite.
No definition of bigotry that I've ever seen has required an examination of the "intent" of a person to express bigotry, nor do definitions define them as acknowledging or even being aware they've done so. The definition you cited doesn't indicate any of that either. Hence, your claim that "spite" (i.e. intent to harm) is encompassed by the definition also appears to be an example of unfounded dogma.

This is a word that is used very commonly in both speech and print, it is consistently used in that way, and it is bizarre to suggest that an educated person is being 'dogmatic' when he interprets the meaning of such a word from his own regular experience and reading rather than consulting a dictionary!!
Selection and confirmation biases ... isolated anecdotal examples, no means to discern what is normal for everyone

what everyone knows from everyday experience.
"What everyone knows" is a logical fallacy.

E.g, Cambridge dictionary definition: "a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who does not like other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life", with the pejorative implications indicated (if that were necessay) through the example cited, 'a religious bigot', 'He was known to be an opinionated loud-mouthed bigot'. Dictionaries can of course be useful for finding out more about historical usage, or about regional differences.
By your standard, any example would be offensive because of the mere presence of the word. It looks more like an example of neutral, factual usage of the term to me. In particular, I say this because the very same dictionary explicitly states other terms have offensive senses in normal usage when they're defined (e.g. here and here). So did the lexicographer forget to mark this one as offensive? That hardly makes sense. Your claim here also appears to be an example of unfounded dogma.
 
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Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
This is just getting silly, as though one has to take lessons from dictionaries to be able to understand one's own language! :) One hears words used in everyday life (as I say, this is a commonly used word), hears them as used on the media, reads them as used in the press and in books, this suffices actually much better than dictionary definitions to learn how they are employed in current usage.

I'm not going to waste my time discussing this at length, but in current British usage, the word bigotry implies ignorance or irrationality in the way in which the bigot's beliefs are held, and marked intolerance toward others who do not hold those beliefs. Thus understood, bigotry is simply not a good quality, it implies prejudice and narrow-midedness, and no one likes to be called a bigot.
 
Feb 2013
4,324
Coastal Florida
This is just getting silly, as though one has to take lessons from dictionaries to be able to understand one's own language! :) One hears words used in everyday life (as I say, this is a commonly used word), hears them as used on the media, reads them as used in the press and in books, this suffices actually much better than dictionary definitions to learn how they are employed in current usage.

I'm not going to waste my time discussing this at length, but in current British usage, the word bigotry implies ignorance or irrationality in the way in which the bigot's beliefs are held, and marked intolerance toward others who do not hold those beliefs. Thus understood, bigotry is simply not a good quality, it implies prejudice and narrow-midedness, and no one likes to be called a bigot.
Many of my own relatives agree with everything you have to say (but in America)...and none of them possess the ability to cite a stitch of objectively verifiable evidence which actually supports their claims either. You might as well be claiming you "know" the tooth fairy is real because you're sure you saw him one night. The "evidence" you're clinging to is literally on the same level as that.
 
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