Bigotry: Dwarving the Soul
What is bigotry? An irrational suspicion, a powerful and unjustifiable hatred commonly-grounded in hypocrisy and close-mindedness. This essay will attempt to identify bigotry by exploring several unique definitions, and by providing examples of how its multi-dimensional structure and wide-range of abuse affects many different individuals in varying circumstances.
No paper can adequately address bigotry without a treatment of racial and religious prejudice, one of the most obvious and hurtful forms of discrimination. Through harmful stereotypes and negative perceptions of Jewish beliefs, racial and religious bigotry arose in the form of anti-Semitism, a kind of dangerous intolerance that would eventually foist itself upon the entire world.
One of the most well-known and horrific manifestations of anti-Semitism took place in the Holocaust of World War II, where a massive and organized effort led by Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany was conducted to exterminate targeted members of the population deemed "racially inferior" or "undesirable." This violent persecution resulted in the systematic murder of approximately 6 million European Jews, coupled with the deaths of an estimated 3-5 millions individuals from various groups such as military prisoners, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, political dissidents, and other religious denominations. Clearly, the toll on human lives had enormous impact on society.
A second, less obvious, yet substantial sort of hatred congeals in the form of educational prejudice. This example relates to home-schooling, and how both home-schooling parents and their children are subject to discrimination by government lawmakers and the hurtful opinions of the public.
One indication of discrimination against home-schoolers has do with inconsiderate decisions made by the government, such as the incident that occurred in 2003, where Tennessee's new lottery scholarship program required home-schooling students to score higher on ACT tests than private and public students. This unfair requirement was first recognized by one legislator who addressed it as "educational bigotry," and resolved to correct the issue shortly thereafter.
Prejudice against home-schoolers can also be seen in the work and enclave of academic hob snobbery, demonstrated in extremist articles like "Homeschool Horror," written by Quinn Cotton. This vicious verbal assault compared home-schooling parents to "Stepford Wives" and "Islamic Terrorists." Creative Loafing Charlotte, Quinn's publisher, was soon berated by home-schooling mother and writer Rebecca H. Davis PhD., who stated that Cotton's piece was an "expression of bigotry" and made "gross stereotypes" about home-schooling based on inadequate research and a clearly biased point of view. It's disappointing to say that this kind of malicious response is all too common among those unwilling to accept home-schooling as a legitimate means of learning.
The last definition of bigotry addressed in this essay pertains to medical malpractice due to sexual prejudice, and instances where hospital workers and doctors neglect to treat certain individuals based on issues or circumstances they found "disagreeable," as well as bias against patients they deemed "unworthy" of medical assistance.
One terrible incident involving medical bigotry took place in Washington, August of 1995, when Tyra Hunter was seriously injured in an automobile accident. As emergency paramedics were treating Hunter's injuries, they discovered her transsexuality, and discontinued treatment for more than 5-7 minutes, leaving their severely injured patient both unattended and helpless. The dreadful mockery continued at the DC General hospital, where Hunter was "repeatedly revived and then allowed to slip back into unconsciousness in a cruel and inhuman mock "training exercise."" Trya's death due to negligence was just one of several horrible incidents where paramedics refused critical, life-saving treatments due to prejudice.
Thomas Jefferson once defined bigotry as "the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds;" These timeless words have proven to be both compelling and true, as this loathsome phenomenon recurs through historical testament, and by persecution and intolerance we are subject to its violence.
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