Bigotry is defined as the stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. The word gets thrown around quite often, and I think it’s something that a lot of us are guilty of without realizing it.

Bigotry is turning someone you disagree with into an enemy because of the beliefs they hold.

Bigotry is refusing to do anything but accuse and revile those whose actions you cannot understand or disagree with.

Bigotry is the majority reaction in the US towards half of Britain voting to leave the European Union.

Maybe the decision to leave was a bad one. I don’t pretend to know the first thing about the political landscape there, or the nature of events that led up to the vote. What I do know is that for the past 24 hours, I’ve seen nothing but hate and intolerance projected towards those who voted “the wrong way”.

They’ve been called racists, xenophobes, evil, and a host of other things that won’t be repeated here. It’s been suggested that democracy be altered to prevent such a situation from repeating itself. Some went so far as to propose the voting age be changed to prevent those over the age of 70 from being allowed to vote. Regardless of whether or not you feel that there is any merit to these thoughts, is there any real benefit to reacting out of anger? Is there any solution to be found in a torrent of hate, accusation, and blame?

Whenever we lash out in anger towards those who believe differently than us, regardless of the nature of their beliefs, we are in danger of becoming bigots. Contention creates discord, and discord leads to conflict. Nothing can be resolved when two parties can only communicate by lashing out angrily against each other.

Resolution is what we’re looking for right? That’s the reason we fire off angry tweets, insults, blog posts, and internet comments?

If we were truly seeking resolution, if we were truly looking to convince others that our world view is the reasonable one, we would do more than surround ourselves with confirmation bias and frustration. We would be civil. We would talk with those who see differently than we do. We would debate.

If you’re angry, be civil. Refuse to give in to bigotry.

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