Bigotry is bad but not for the reason people assume — or not just for that reason. It isn't bad merely because innocent people are harmed by the irrational hatreds carried around by the prejudiced and by the random cruelties those hatreds inspire.
Bigotry also harms the bigot, since it is a form of ignorance, a misapprehension of the world. They see not what is in front of them, but what is in front of them filtered through the distorting lens of the disdain they grew up with or slid into. Their world is colored not by what's before their eyes but by the jumbled mess behind them.
So they make mistakes.
For instance: eliminating the DREAM Act, which President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to do on his first day as president — Jan. 21, for those keeping track. That would keep up to 5 million young Americans off the path to success, in school and employment, for a very Third Reich reason: because their papers aren't in order. It will, of course, hurt them, making their lives harder, more complicated, more anxious. It would also hurt the country. A country which, contrary to the bigot's skewed perspective, is not burdened by foreigners but benefits from them. A country that needs every capable person it can get its hands on. Otherwise we end up like Japan, in a demographic death spiral.
Cutting off your nose to spite your face is a hallmark of bigots. The classic example is after courts ordered public pools integrated in the 1960s, Southern towns closed their pools, even filling them in with dirt rather than risk whatever horror was supposed to come from letting blacks into the pool — interracial dating, I suppose.
That's the bad news. The good news, if any news can be considered good in this perilous moment of our national saga, is that, because of their myopia, bigots screw up and overlook important considerations....
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