Bigotry–whether we define it as an explicit or implicitly held bias, or whether we define it as actions that reinforce division or bias–is a spiritually and intellectually weak habit and a societally poor decision.
A divided society benefits no one but the economic and political elites who profit from it. Even that is only material gain.
Bigotry takes its toll not only on those it’s directed against. It impacts the bigot as well. Because of the effects of bigotry on them, the marginalized are continually fatigued by the energy their existence requires. Because of their beliefs and behavior [or lack thereof], bigots are held in general suspicion by everyone: people that don’t look like them and people who look like them, but disagree with their actions/beliefs.
What genuine connections can be formed under these circumstances?
Devoid of connections, our spirits suffer–right here, right now. That’s poverty.
Devoid of connections, society doesn’t have culturally distinct elements; it has a fragmented culture. There is no unity in that, only refuges where people seek safe harbor from each other. That’s poverty.
Poverty hurts: fatigue, burnout, disconnection, dis-ease, division… this is all pain.
A society in constant pain perpetuates suffering, no matter how materially rich it is. Poor health, class struggle, violence: these will never cease until we cease the struggles against ourselves that cause us to codify our biases.
In and of themselves, biases are just opinions. Frederick Nietzsche once said that “Every opinion is also a hiding place.” Elevating our hiding places above life in our attitudes, behaviors, institutions and values is what’s problematic, not necessarily our differences of opinions.
Until we come out of hiding, we’ll continue to be a morally deficient and divided people.