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"You can ask just one simple question to find out whether someone likes Donald Trump more than Hillary Clinton: Is Barack Obama a Muslim? If they are white and the answer is yes, 89 percent of the time that person will have a higher opinion of Trump than Clinton.


The word "racist" has become conflated with bigotry - and they are actually quite different things.

Racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

Bigotry, on the other hand, is intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

I hate racism, I eschew racists, and I avoid them like the plague. However, I don't know whether it would be helpful for me to offer any sort of political litmus test to every person with whom I associate and, depending upon their answer, to label them a racist.

I think that, when people conflate racism with bigotry, they have devolved into the realm of Godwin's Law. It is just not helpful for the purpose of winning an argument, convincing a person of the soundness of your opinion, or changing their mind.

I think that a person who is intolerant toward Muslims is actually a religious bigot, not a racist.

There really is a difference. In fact, there are many, many different forms of bigotry. People who discriminate against and exhibit intolerance toward other cultures, religions or nationalities are much more likely to be bigots than racists.

I have known people who are bigots. Some people are bigoted toward same-sex couples, some toward Muslims, some toward Asians, even some toward blacks or African-Americans. I avoid bigots just like I would avoid racists, but I don't conflate the two.

I could engage a bigot in an argument with the hope of persuading him or her to change their intolerant attitude and become more accepting. I would not, however, even try to argue with a racist. Of course, sometimes circumstances alone are enough to change a person's mind.

I actually know of one white man I would characterize as a racist who, after his daughter married a black man and had a mixed-race child, completely abandoned his racism, accepted his son-in-law and fell in love with his granddaughter.

Bigotry is much more widespread than is racism. Conflating the two is just not helpful for any reason I can think of - and it certainly is not helpful for changing minds and hearts.

The question you describe is likely to uncover religious bigotry, not racism.
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