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Exploring The Two Kinds Of Bigotry

Updated on August 11, 2012

Discussing the differences between these two types of evil

When it comes to racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-semitism, bigotry, and/or racial/sexual/homophobic/anti-semitic bias of any kind, it must be understood that there are two types.

One type is that which is obvious and easily seen, and has been as long as there been civilization, while the other type is not as obvious or easily seen, which subsequently makes it harder to detect, combat, and eradicate.

I won't waste any time here; let us discuss these two types of bigotry, starting with the obvious kind:


This is the obvious kind of that more or less everyone has either seen or encountered, in America's case stemming (surprisingly) not from Black African slavery and the slave trade, but with the European settlers during colonial times wiping out countless Native American tribes.

Hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the National Socialists, more commonly known as the Nazis, and their outward displays of their bigotry are also obvious examples of this honest evil for this reason and factor, which the late Civil Rights activist Malcolm X articulated so well in his autobiography when he mentioned Southern whites' well-known and longtime low regard for black people throughout American history through the 1960's. He stated that:

"The white Southerner was always given his due...The white southerner, you can say one thing - he is honest. He bares his teeth to the black man, he tells the black man, to his face, that Southern whites never will accept phony 'integration'...The Southern white goes further, to tell the black man that he means to fight him every inch of the way, even against the so-called 'tokenism'. The advantage of this is the Southern black man never has been under any illusions about the opposition he is dealing with."

Although Malcolm wrote this in 1965, you can say the same thing today about hate groups like the Klan and the Neo-Nazis, far right-wing conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, and even people like former child star Kirk Cameron, when he talked about his being against gay marriage, and Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, who caused such a stir when he went on record as being anti-gay marriage and against gay rights in that regard; Gays have no illusion about what they are dealing with because Cameron and Cathy were honest in their views.

Which, although I vehemently disagree with their stance, I completely respect. Cameron and Cathy weren't smiling at Gay activists and consorting with the religious right behind closed doors - they was proudly stating to the world what they felt about gays marrying; just like Southern blacks and their dealings with whites during the civil rights era and before that, the gay community is not under any illusions with Cameron and Cathy and how they feel.

That's an honest kind of bigotry, as are things like being called slurs like the "N" word, crosses burning on lawns, "White Only" signs and policies, and that tragic incident that happened recently in Milwaukee, WI, when Wade Michael Page killed those six Sikhs in their temple.

No doubt, Page was the personification of pure evil in what he did. But as a Neo-Nazi skinhead, at least he was honest in his views.

As opposed to the other type of bigotry, a type that is not so obvious at all and is sometimes much harder to see, identify, and fight precisely because it is hidden:


To put is as clearly as I can, this is the kind of bigotry where the bigots and those who are biased toward any kind of ethnic group, religion, or sexual orientation not their own are, to coin a phrase, "In the closet".

These are the people who would never say the "N" word or wear sheets or swatstikas or burn crosses, but deep down and privately hold similar views to those extremists - or at the very least, they are uncomfortable with groups not their own to the point of holding certain views, oftentimes stereotypical views, about such groups. Not to mention when issues such as affirmative action, welfare, immigration, of interracial relationships arise, that's when their true colors show because their opinions are not that different from the Klan's.

Most of all, these are the people to whom when their bigoted views do surface, they make it a point to also say, "I can't be like that, because some of my best friends are black (or Gay, or Jewish, or Muslim)" , or even more commonly, "I'm not a racist, but..." They state their evil opinions and turn to their friend of color (or different religion or sexual orientation) who may be standing by and say something like, "I wasn't talking about you. You're okay, you're not like them."

Which in my opinion is not only just as bad as those white-sheeted and pointy hooded folks, but worse.

Crispin Sartwell, who wrote an article called "White America Needs Its Bigotry" describes this dishonesty brilliantly when he stated in his piece:

"With a bigot, you know where you stand. But what do you do when someone smiles in your face and doesn't hire you? Or denies their racism, then follows you around their store because they think you are a shoplifter?"

A perfect example of this dishonest bigotry happened to me during my college years...

One day I saw in my college newspaper an opening for a job which I felt I would be perfect for; i won't say what kind of job it was. I called the phone number listed and talked to a lady who was evidently much impressed with me and my experiences, she sounded so enthusiastic and friendly.

It was when I met her in person a few days later, however, that her dishonest racism reared her ugly head as she took one look at my black skin and said that the position was taken by someone else because "He asked first," and there was nothing I could do about it.

She didn't want anyone - namely me - to think she was a racist, thus the lame "He asked first" explanation. But by trying to hide her bigotry she displayed it for me to see in a crystal clear fashion.

If this isn't an example of dishonest bigotry, then I don't know what is.

It is this type of bigotry that is the true issue in America today, an issue that is difficult to fight because these dishonest bigots who are accused of bigotry or biased will strongly deny it, then back it up with the fact that they never uttered any racial slurs or wore any swastikas.

As Sartwell concluded in his article: "It is much harder to do anything about the central, subtle racism (as well as sexism and homophobia) that surrounds us."


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