Quotations about   bigotry

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Everybody has something about which they are proud to be broad-minded but they also have other things about which you would be wasting your breath if you tried to convince them that they were a bigot.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Seeing Eye to Eye is Believing,” Good Intentions (1942)
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Added on 26-Jun-20 | Last updated 26-Jun-20
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Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand
With a grip that kills it.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Fireflies (1928)
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Added on 8-Jun-20 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
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And I have no desire to get ugly,

But I cannot help mentioning that the door of a bigoted mind opens outwards so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Seeing Eye to Eye is Believing,” Good Intentions (1942)
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Added on 29-May-20 | Last updated 19-Jun-20
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Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to John Adams (1 Aug 1816)
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Added on 23-May-20 | Last updated 23-May-20
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Be it observed, that the most superstitious times have always been those of the most horrible crimes.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
“Superstition,” sec. 4, Philosophical Dictionary (1764) [tr. Besterman (1971)]
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Added on 2-Jun-17 | Last updated 2-Jun-17
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Most people, no doubt, when they espouse human rights, make their own mental reservations about the proper application of the word “human.”

Suzanne La Follette (1893-1983) American journalist, author, feminist
Concerning Women, “The Beginnings of Emancipation” (1926)
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Added on 13-Feb-17 | Last updated 13-Feb-17
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There is nothing so despicable as a secret society that is based upon religious prejudice and that will attempt to defeat a man because of his religious beliefs. Such a society is like a cockroach — it thrives in the dark. So do those who combine for such an end.

William Howard Taft (1857-1930) US President (1909-13) and Chief Justice (1921-1930)
Speech, Young Men’s Hebrew Association, New York (20 Dec 1914)
Added on 27-Jul-15 | Last updated 27-Jul-15
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We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, & in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.

George Washington (1732-1799) American military leader, Founding Father, US President (1789-1797)
Letter to the New Church (22 Jan 1793)
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Added on 25-Feb-15 | Last updated 25-Feb-15
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The superstition in which we grew up,
Though we may recognize it, does not lose
Its power over us — Not all are free
Who make mock of their chains.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramiturg, writer
Nathan the Wise (1779) [tr. Morgan (1955)]

Alt. trans.: "The superstition in which we were brought up never loses its power over us, even after we understand it." [In J. K. Hoyt & Anna L. Ward (eds.), The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1881)]
Added on 23-Jan-15 | Last updated 2-Jun-17
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The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: — I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“Sir James Mackintosh’s History of the Revolution,” Edinburgh Review (Jul 1835)
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Review of James Mackintosh, History of the Revolution in England, in 1638 (1834).
Added on 21-Jan-15 | Last updated 16-Jan-20
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America’s greatest enemy is not from without, but from within, and that enemy is hate: hatred of races, peoples, classes and religions. If America ever dies, it will be not through conquest but suicide.

Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) American Catholic archbishop, preacher, televangelist
Preface to Religion (1946)
Added on 5-Feb-14 | Last updated 5-Feb-14
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Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, ch. 2 “Passports to Understanding” (1993)
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Added on 21-May-09 | Last updated 23-May-20
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Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Innocents Abroad, “Conclusion” (1869)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Jun-20
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I made a comparison at table some time since, which has often been quoted, and received many compliments. It was that of the mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858)
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Often paraphrased, "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract." Frequently misattributed to his son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-May-20
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