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Bigot vs. Racist: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 16, 2023
A bigot is someone intolerant toward those with differing opinions or beliefs; a racist discriminates or holds prejudice based on race.

Key Differences

A bigot is a person who holds strong, unreasonable prejudices against certain groups of people or beliefs and is intolerant of opinions different from their own. In contrast, a racist specifically holds biases against people based on their racial or ethnic background. While both bigot and racist reflect negative attitudes and intolerance, their areas of focus are distinct.
Bigotry can be found in many areas beyond just race, such as religion, politics, or gender. For instance, someone might be a bigot if they harbor unwarranted animosity towards individuals of a different faith or gender. Racism, on the other hand, is narrowly focused on the idea that certain racial groups are superior or inferior to others. It's a form of bigotry, but specifically tied to race.
Someone can be a bigot without necessarily being a racist. For example, a person might strongly oppose a particular political ideology and refuse to engage with or understand its supporters. This makes them bigoted in that context. However, a racist always holds prejudices based on race, viewing one racial group as superior or inferior to another.
While all racists can be considered bigots (since racism is a form of bigotry), not all bigots are racists. A bigot's prejudice can be rooted in multiple areas, while a racist's prejudice is based strictly on racial differences. Both terms denote prejudice and intolerance, but they are applied in different contexts.

Comparison Chart


Intolerant toward those with different opinions/beliefs
Discriminates or holds prejudice based on race


Broader (can be about religion, gender, politics, etc.)
Specific to race


Anti-religious, sexist, or xenophobic beliefs
Belief in racial superiority or inferiority

Origin of Prejudice

Can be personal or cultural beliefs
Typically rooted in cultural or systemic beliefs


Polarization, closed-mindedness, discrimination
Systemic discrimination, racial bias, hate crimes

Bigot and Racist Definitions


An individual who refuses to accept different racial, religious, or political group views.
The town's history was marred by leaders who were bigots, making it unwelcoming to outsiders.


An individual who holds stereotypes about racial groups.
Her racist assumptions about her classmate's abilities were based on harmful stereotypes.


A person who's intolerant to those holding different opinions.
Despite living in a diverse community, he remained a bigot and avoided interacting with neighbors who held different beliefs.


Someone who discriminates or shows prejudice based on race.
The employer was found guilty of being a racist after not hiring someone purely due to their ethnicity.


Someone with strong, unreasonable beliefs and prejudices.
Her bigot stance against certain religions made it hard for her coworkers to relate to her.


A person who believes in the superiority of one race over another.
His racist beliefs were evident when he claimed that one race was smarter than another.


An individual resistant to change because of personal prejudices.
The company struggled because its CEO was a bigot, unwilling to adapt to changing market dynamics.


Someone who supports systemic practices that discriminate based on race.
The policy was racist in nature, favoring one racial group over another in housing allocation.


A person who exhibits blind and unreasonable zealotry.
His inability to entertain opposing viewpoints labeled him as a bigot in many social circles.


A person who mistreats or insults others based on their racial background.
The man was called out for his racist comments during the meeting.


One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.


The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.


One who is narrow-mindedly devoted to their own ideas and groups, and intolerant of (people of) differing ideas, races, genders, religions, politics, etc.


Discrimination or prejudice based on race.


What is a bigot?

A bigot is someone intolerant of differing opinions or beliefs.

Can all racists be considered bigots?

Yes, as racism is a type of bigotry.

What does racist mean?

A racist is someone who discriminates or holds prejudice based on race.

Can someone be both a bigot and racist?

Yes, if their intolerance encompasses both differing opinions and racial prejudices.

What are examples of bigot behavior?

Avoiding people of a certain religion or mocking someone's political beliefs.

How is systemic racism different from individual racist beliefs?

Systemic racism is institutional, affecting structures and policies, while individual beliefs are personal.

Is bigotry always overt?

No, sometimes it's subtle or even unconscious.

Why is understanding the difference between bigot and racist important?

It helps address specific forms of prejudice and promotes clearer communication.

How can society challenge bigot views?

Through education, dialogue, and promoting tolerance and understanding.

Is a person born a bigot or racist?

No, these are learned behaviors and beliefs influenced by environment and upbringing.

Can a statement be unintentionally racist?

Yes, sometimes due to ignorance or lack of awareness.

Can institutions or systems be bigoted?

Yes, if their policies or practices unfairly favor one group over another.

Can someone be racist without realizing it?

Yes, sometimes due to ingrained beliefs or lack of education on the matter.

What are the societal impacts of racism?

Discrimination, marginalization, and perpetuation of racial inequalities.

How has the definition of racism evolved over time?

It has broadened to encompass systemic forms and subtle biases, not just overt prejudice.

Is racism a form of bigotry?

Yes, racism is a specific form of bigotry related to racial prejudice.

How can one counteract bigot beliefs?

Through education, exposure to diverse perspectives, and self-awareness.

How is racism expressed?

Through beliefs, statements, actions, or systemic practices.

Can an act be deemed racist even if not intended to be?

Yes, if it perpetuates racial stereotypes or disadvantages based on race.

Can bigotry be about gender or nationality?

Yes, bigotry can manifest in prejudices against any group or belief.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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