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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-02 00:00

Character Trait: Bigoted

Character Trait Bigoted

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. Bigoted is a negative character trait that refers to a person who is intolerant or prejudiced towards people who hold different beliefs, opinions, or backgrounds. A bigoted character may exhibit discriminatory behavior towards individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic that they perceive as different from their own. This trait can create conflict and tension within a story, and often serves as a hindrance to a character's personal growth and relationships with others.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being bigoted
  2. Behaviors associated with being bigoted
  3. Attitudes associated with being bigoted
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being bigoted
  5. Emotions associated with being bigoted
  6. Facial expressions associated with being bigoted
  7. Body language associated with being bigoted
  8. Behaviors associated with being bigoted
  9. Growth and evolution of bigoted characters
  10. Stereotypes of bigoted characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being bigoted
  12. Positives of being bigoted
  13. Verbal expressions of bigoted characters
  14. Relationships of bigoted characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are bigoted
  16. Writing exercises for writing bigoted characters

Possible causes of being bigoted

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • Exposure to biased and stereotypical media and cultural messages
  • Trauma or negative experiences with a particular group that lead to generalization and prejudice
  • Upbringing and childhood experiences that fostered prejudice and discrimination
  • Fear of the unknown or different
  • Group identity and pressure to conform to the beliefs and attitudes of one's social circle or community
  • Social or economic status that reinforces a sense of superiority or entitlement
  • Lack of exposure to diversity and alternative perspectives
  • Lack of education or critical thinking skills that would challenge biased beliefs

For detailed feedback on bigoted characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's story structure analyzer.

Behaviors associated with being bigoted

You may be able to show your character's trait of bigoted by using these.

  • Belittling or mocking people from a certain group in public or private settings
  • Refusing to associate with people from a particular race, religion, or cultural background
  • Treating people unfairly or disrespectfully based on their differences
  • Holding prejudiced beliefs about a group of people without any basis in fact
  • Making derogatory comments about a certain group of people
  • Advocating for discriminatory policies or practices that harm a particular group of people
  • Assuming that people from a particular group are all the same and have the same characteristics

Attitudes associated with being bigoted

You may be able to show bigoted through their attitudes.

  • Narrow-mindedness and closed-mindedness
  • Refusal to consider differing perspectives or opinions
  • Intolerance towards people who are different from oneself
  • Prejudice and discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or other personal characteristics
  • Disrespect or disrespectfulness towards others who are not like oneself
  • Belief in one's own superiority or the superiority of one's group
  • Ignorance or lack of awareness about other cultures or lifestyles

Thoughts and struggles associated with being bigoted

Here are some ideas for things your bigoted character may think or struggle with.

  • Inability to see past stereotypes or prejudices
  • Guilt or shame when confronted with the harm caused by their bigotry
  • Fear and distrust of those who are different or unknown
  • Feeling attacked or defensive when challenged on their beliefs
  • Justification of discriminatory behavior as "protecting" one's own group
  • Struggle to break free from the influence of family or community members who also hold bigoted views
  • Denial or dismissal of the experiences and perspectives of marginalized groups
  • Belief in superiority of one's own race, religion, gender, or other identity group
  • Inner conflict between their beliefs and their desire to be a good person

Emotions associated with being bigoted

Here are some ideas for emotions your bigoted character may experience.

  • Fear
  • Arrogance
  • Anger
  • Narrow-mindedness
  • Ignorance
  • Hatred
  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice
  • Intolerance

Facial expressions associated with being bigoted

Here are some facial expressions your bigoted character may exhibit.

  • Narrowed or squinted eyes
  • A closed-off body language, avoiding eye contact
  • A sneer or curl of the lip
  • Crossing of the arms and a defensive posture
  • A clenched jaw or gritted teeth
  • A raised eyebrow with a look of disdain
  • A scowl or frown
  • Tension in the neck and shoulders
  • Rolling of the eyes

Body language associated with being bigoted

Here is some body language your bigoted character may exhibit.

  • Rolling eyes or sneering
  • Clenched jaw or teeth grinding
  • Interrupting or talking over others
  • Tightening of the facial muscles, especially around the mouth and eyes
  • Leaning away from the person or group they are bigoted towards
  • Pointing or wagging finger
  • Refusing to make eye contact
  • Narrowing of the eyes, sometimes accompanied by squinting
  • Stiffening of the body and posture
  • Crossing arms over the chest or abdomen

For detailed feedback on bigoted characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's story structure analyzer.

Behaviors associated with being bigoted

Here are some behaviors your bigoted character may exhibit.

  • Treating people unfairly or disrespectfully based on their differences
  • Refusing to associate with people from a particular race, religion, or cultural background
  • Assuming that people from a particular group are all the same and have the same characteristics
  • Making derogatory comments about a certain group of people
  • Advocating for discriminatory policies or practices that harm a particular group of people
  • Belittling or mocking people from a certain group in public or private settings
  • Holding prejudiced beliefs about a group of people without any basis in fact

Growth and evolution of bigoted characters

Here are some ways that your bigoted character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Taking action to actively combat bigotry and discrimination, such as speaking out against hate speech or participating in advocacy work.
  • Engaging in self-education and seeking out resources to better understand the experiences of marginalized groups.
  • Apologizing and making amends for the harm they have caused to others.
  • Recognizing their own biases and prejudices through introspection or through conversations with others who challenge their beliefs.
  • Developing empathy towards people they previously discriminated against by learning about their experiences and perspectives.
  • Challenging their own beliefs and assumptions by exposing themselves to diverse perspectives and opinions.
  • Confronting the consequences of their actions and acknowledging the harm they have caused to individuals or groups.

Stereotypes of bigoted characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical bigoted character like these examples.

  • Avoid portraying the character's bigotry as a result of their race, ethnicity, religion, or other identity markers.
  • Avoid making the character's bigotry the defining aspect of their personality.
  • Avoid romanticizing or glorifying the character's bigotry in any way.
  • Avoid using the character's bigotry as a way to advance the plot or create conflict without fully exploring the harm it causes.
  • Avoid using harmful stereotypes or slurs in the character's dialogue or actions.
  • Avoid making the character a one-dimensional villain solely focused on their bigotry.
  • Avoid relying on the character's bigotry as a shortcut to create tension or drama in the story.
  • Avoid making the character's bigotry the punchline of jokes or humor.
  • Avoid portraying the character's bigotry as justified or acceptable.

Negatives of being bigoted

Here are some potential negatives of being bigoted. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • Difficulty in adapting to change or new situations
  • Intolerance towards different beliefs, cultures, and values
  • Missed opportunities for personal growth and learning
  • Refusal to consider other perspectives or ideas
  • Tendency to make snap judgments and stereotypes
  • Narrow-mindedness towards people who are different from oneself
  • Discrimination and prejudice towards individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, or other characteristics
  • Inability to form meaningful relationships with people who don't share the same beliefs or values
  • Emotional and psychological barriers that prevent empathy and understanding

Positives of being bigoted

Here are some potential positives of being bigoted. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

I cannot list positive aspects of being bigoted as it goes against the principles of respect, inclusivity, and diversity. Bigotry is harmful, discriminatory, and fuels prejudice. It can cause harm to individuals and communities and does not contribute to creating a positive and equitable society. As a writer, it is important to create characters that are complex, realistic, and respectful of all human beings, regardless of their background or beliefs. Writing bigoted characters can be a way to explore the consequences of prejudice and challenge readers to reflect on their own biases and assumptions. However, it is important to do so in a way that does not glorify or excuse bigotry but rather exposes its harmful effects and promotes empathy and understanding.

Verbal expressions of bigoted characters

Here are some potential expressions used by bigoted characters.

  • Belittling or dismissing the experiences and struggles of individuals from certain groups
  • Making derogatory comments or slurs about a particular group of people
  • Expressing intolerance or hatred towards individuals from certain groups
  • Feeling superior to individuals from certain groups
  • Refusing to associate with or acknowledge individuals from certain groups
  • Using stereotypes to describe individuals or groups

Relationships of bigoted characters

Here are some ways that being bigoted could affect your character's relationships.

  • In relationships, bigoted people may struggle to connect with others who don't share their views or conform to their expectations, leading to conflict and tension.
  • They may also feel a sense of superiority or entitlement, believing that they are entitled to special treatment or privileges based on their identity or beliefs.
  • Bigoted people may hold narrow-minded beliefs and refuse to consider other perspectives, dismissing opposing viewpoints as wrong or invalid.
  • Bigoted people may exhibit prejudice and discrimination towards individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or other characteristics.
  • They may engage in hostile behavior towards those they perceive as different or inferior, such as verbal or physical abuse, exclusion, or bullying.
  • They may also be prone to stereotyping and making assumptions about people based on their group membership rather than their individual qualities and actions.

Examples from books of characters who are bigoted

  • Edward Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Caleb Trask from East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Aunt Alexandra from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Mrs. Reed from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Pap Finn from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Hilly Holbrook from The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Writing exercises for writing bigoted characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write bigoted characters.

  • Write a scene where the bigoted character is challenged or confronted about their beliefs and attitudes, and how they respond to it.
  • Write a monologue or inner dialogue from the bigoted character's perspective, exploring the roots and motivations of their bigotry.
  • Write a scene from the perspective of a character who is the target of the bigoted character's hate, showcasing their feelings and reactions to the bigotry.
  • Create a character profile that includes their background, experiences, beliefs, and attitudes towards different groups of people.
  • Explore the consequences of the character's bigotry on their relationships, career, and personal growth.
  • Research and study different forms of bigotry to understand the nuances and complexities of the trait.
  • Write a scene from the perspective of the bigoted character, highlighting their thoughts and emotions towards someone they view as inferior.
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