Everyone is calling Donald Sterling a racist. I have heard his rants numerous times. I would have called him a bigot. I have heard the words of a bigot. At least I thought those people were (probably still are) bigots.
So what’s the difference?
From the American Heritage Dictionary
1. Believes that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
Hmm, So when I said to a friend (not anymore) “You are a bigot” after he told me of his hatred for Blacks, Mexicans, and Jews, should I have said you are a racist?
Eric Zorn writing in his Chicago Tribune blog posted this thought:
It’s prejudice when Mr. Smith feels unhappy when Mr. Johnson moves in next door because he doesn’t like Mr. Johnson’s skin color or ethnic identity.
It’s bigotry when Mr. Smith refuses to invite Mr. Johnson into his home or offer him friendly waves of greeting.
It’s racism when Mr. Smith uses threats and intimidation to attempt to drive Mr. Johnson and his family out of the neighborhood.
Without fail, every person I have known that is a bigot denies that he holds any hatred for anyone. Sterling sees nothing wrong with his words or deeds
Donald Sterling is both a bigot and racist.