I’m doing a video blog today because… GO ME! Last night I dropped my hot, drippy, peanut butter and honey toast face down on my computer keyboard and it’s not much fun to use at the moment. Hahaha.
Anyway, this is a topic I’ve really been wanting to talk about for a while now: bigotry, intolerance, and the concept of “morality.” And how those three things are so friggin’ connected.
And, for any of you who want the written version, here’s the transcript. A few things may be slightly different since I wrote this before I recorded.
Bigotry, Intolerance, and “Morality”
Have you ever wondered where intolerance and bigotry are born? I mean, they’re both pretty horrible things, right? So it would make sense that they tend to originate with fairly horrible people.
But they don’t. In fact, it may surprise you to know that pretty much all intolerance, which itself is really just bigotry, is actually born because of the existence of this concept we all call “morality.”
Now, I think it’s important that we all understand the definition of “bigoted.” It’s a word that gets misused all the time. Bigotry is “having or revealing an obstinate (aka stubborn) belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others.” That’s all bigotry is. By that definition, we’re all bigots. To some degree.
As humans, we all have this extremely weird need to somehow be better than others.
Now, before you say, “oh no, not me, I don’t have a need to be better than anyone!” DON’T. You do. I do. Everyone does. It’s how we get right with ourselves for the parts of ourselves that we know are crappy and intrinsic.
“Well, I may do this, but that person over there does that, and that is worse than what I do.” This is morality. (Don’t ask me where my inner-bigot accent came from.)
But yeah. We are okay with the fact that we scream “idiot!” at the guy going 55 on the freeway because, well… there’s a girl somewhere else in the world who takes off her clothes and dances on a pole.
We are okay downing an entire sleeve of Oreos in one sitting because, well… somewhere someone is drinking themselves to death.
We are okay losing our cool with a service person because, well… somewhere someone out there is beating the hell out of his wife.
This is “morality.”
Morality is simply each person’s own idea of what is right and wrong.
And strangely enough, deciding how everything is right and wrong is actually the very thing that creates bigotry in the first place. Every time.
Think about it.
Did ugliness exist before someone decided what beauty was?
Did weakness exist before someone found a way to define strength?
Did the concept of bad exist before someone defined what was good?
Did the concept of wrong exist before someone defined what was right?
And did intolerance and bigotry exist before someone, somewhere, decided what it was that made him better than another person?
No, it didn’t. All bigotry and all intolerance was born out of someone’s weird need of ascendency.
When we take every person in the world, and every situation in the world, and every scenario in the world… and we cram it all into one little box of “right and wrong,” we close the door on understanding and tolerance for anything that is outside of that box.
After all, how can we feel good about our morality boxes if we’re also completely okay with other people being very much outside of what we have in our own boxes?