If you think bigotry is all about skin color or religion, you are only half right. Bigotry is about intolerance. Intolerance can come from almost anywhere, including the voices accusing others of bigotry. Just because your intolerance is judged to be politically correct does not take you off the hook.
Popular opinion might lead you to think that some Republicans represent the epitome of bigotry. Whether or not this is true depends on how much you value other people’s right to their beliefs. Have a good look. You might be the one who is the bigot.
So much bigotry, so little thought
Bigotry for the 21st Century is not as simple as it was in Archie Bunker’s time. It can be found almost anywhere people want to look for it. North Carolina Representative David Price used the label for the benefit of people with disabilities:
I am proud to have stood on the floor of the United States House of Representatives and cast a vote in favor of the Americans with Disabilities Act 25 years ago. Since its passage, the ADA has empowered millions of Americans who for too long languished in the shadows of exclusion and bigotry.1
Bigotry can also come from activism. This is where political correctness likes to refer to disagreement as “ignorance.” For example, Washington’s hysteria to curry favor with LGBTs included this remark from House lawmaker Ted Lieu:
During Pride Month, we also recognize the work that is left to be done as we continue to combat ignorance and bigotry. LGBT Americans still face significant barriers to marriage equality, equal access to education, and strong protections against employment discrimination.2
Even ageism and the difficulties older workers face trying to find jobs can be said to come from bigotry. For the most part, though, when we slap this pejorative on something we know exactly where we are headed. The more contentious the issue, the greater the temptation to be intolerant, provoke a response, and cry “bigot!”
Bigots and bullies
Your color won’t always save you from being called a bigot. Ben Carson found that out after he was blasted for his remarks about Muslims and political office. Harry Reid’s response was especially venomous:
I call upon every Republican to denounce Ben Carson’s disgusting remarks. That shameful intolerance and bigotry should have no place in America today.”3
Reid wants Republicans to join him because bullying and shaming is how politically correct bigotry works. If enough empty-headed followers support your damning of other people’s views, political correctness gives the appearance of truth.
Like Carson, the main GOP Oval Office contender has suffered charges of bigotry even though what he said was not untrue. It was unpopular. What we aren’t hearing are charges of bigotry leveled at the most intolerant of all: those who want to set the rules for what we think and believe.
This raises a question:
Does political correctness turn you into a bigot?
Political correctness creates bigotry. It relishes intolerance and even hate, which is especially easy to endorse because correctness convinces its adherents that they are not the ones doing the hating.
Politically correct bigotry is not always obvious. Sometimes it can be subtle and sneak up on us when we aren’t paying attention. It thrives on the things that divide, separate, and make us different.
A lot of the problems we’ve had with bigotry lately come from the Democratic Party’s zest for allowing itself to be hijacked by controversial special interests and then blaming others for refusing to follow. Latinos and LGBTs are the politically correct favorites, though Muslims may enjoy a brief stint on the A-list through no fault of Ben Carson. Democrats would not tolerate a Muslim in the White House any more than Republicans, but they are smart enough to know their open-mindedness is not going to be tested anytime soon.
When it comes to pandering, Latinos are still the Holy Grail. Harry Reid set the stage:
Democrats also passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill out of the Senate. That legislation – which House Republicans refused to consider – protected families, reduced the deficit, and strengthened our national security. 4
This came next:
Meanwhile, Republicans are doing everything in their power to undermine Hispanic families. A person need only watch five minutes of a Republican Presidential debate to see how Republicans really feel about America’s Latino communities.5
Politically correct bigotry is reminiscent of the Supreme Court test for pornography. You know it when you hear it. Another test is also being applied, though, and it is a lot more insidious: bigotry is only bad when it goes against the grain of political correctness. If you can convince a sufficient number of people to support your intolerance for the beliefs of others, we no longer call it bigotry. We call it public policy.