You cannot know what is in someone else’s mind. You can say if you hate someone because that is a very deep emotion that only you could know about yourself. You could be very wrong if you conclude that someone else hates when they simply disagree with you. Very smart, sincere, informed, constructive, right people can be called haters just because they do not agree with someone else. It can be a form of bigotry to call someone else a hater. You will miss out on the good you could learn from someone you have discounted.

Bigotry can be detected by the pattern of behavior in others, even if they do not recognize it in themselves. How do you measure up to the following?

Bigotry can be rejecting all good in someone and emphasizing negative aspects whether or not they are true. The jury in “To Kill a Mockingbird” rejected all evidence that the black defendant was innocent, and that the victim’s father was the guilty one. When Rush Limbaugh was awarded the medal of freedom for his patriotism, the internet had lists of his sins. Could JFK, RFK, MLK, Mandela, etc. stand up to similar treatment? I believe in redemption, which promotes a trajectory of improvements through life.

A common pattern on the internet is to make gratuitous comparisons to Adolf Hitler. It tends to follow the logical pattern of the Socrates syllogism: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal. In this case, Hitler was evil. Somebody is said to be like Hitler in some way, therefore, that somebody is evil. There is no need to make a rational linkage. There is no need to evaluate your ideas. You have been categorized. You can be discounted. That is bigotry.

Confirmation Bias is the tendency to accept as true something that reinforces your prejudices without proper skepticism. A recent example is the statement about the virus “was making people die that had not died before.” This funny tautology was attributed to President Trump by some people and to Joe Biden by others. traced it back to President Reagan and debunked all three instances. Another is the misquote that the virus is a hoax. No, the proper quote is, “The Democrats are making the virus into another hoax.” I do not like the term hoax, it sounds too tame. The proper term is fraud. A bigot will accept the errors and never correct their mistake.

Saturday Night Live turned “You can see Russia from some islands off the west coast of Alaska” into “I can see Russia from my front porch.” That is funny but some people might not realize that it was a joke. Another good one was a skit in which President Bush was visiting Africa and he mentioned that there seemed to be a lot of African-Americans there. Someone had to tell him, “No, sir, we are in Africa, they are Africans.” Unfortunately, what starts as a good-natured joke can reinforce some people’s confirmation bias.