The Professor Who Thought He Knew Bigotry When He Saw It

by Tom Gilson

angryProfessorCharles Negy, a psychology professor at the University of Central Florida, thinks he knows bigotry when he sees it. The blistering email he wrote on it to some 500 students has now gone viral. One key paragraph uses the word “bigot” no less than eight times (the whole is quoted in the UCF student newspaper):

Students in my class who openly proclaimed that Christianity is the most valid religion, as some of you did last class, portrayed precisely what religious bigotry is. Bigots—racial bigot or religious bigots—never question their prejudices and bigotry. They are convinced their beliefs are correct. For the Christians in my class who argued the validity of Christianity last week, I suppose I should thank you for demonstrating to the rest of the class what religious arrogance and bigotry looks like. It seems to have not even occurred to you (I’m directing this comment to those students who manifested such bigotry), as I tried to point out in class tonight, how such bigotry is perceived and experienced by the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the non-believers, and so on, in class, to have to sit and endure the tyranny of the masses (the dominant group, that is, which in this case, are Christians).

This happened on familiar turf: I studied psychology at the University of Central Florida. I never had a class with Charles Negy, though now I wish I had. I wish I’d been in his lecture session when this happened. I would have liked to be witness to this demonstration of bigotry.

Bigots never question their prejudices, he says.  They’re convinced their beliefs are correct, and they never question their bigotry. Have you questioned your bigotry lately? No? Then you fit one of Negy’s descriptions of a bigot. I’ll bet he hasn’t questioned his bigotry, either…


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