I'd say that they are all evil, and none more inherently evil than the other, save in the scope that they can encompass. It's just as bad to be bigoted against women as it is to be bigoted against homosexuals, but the first will provide more opportunities for causing grief than the second.
I'd say that they are all wrong and that one is no worse or better than the others. One could argue that sexism has the largest potential for wrongdoing, simply due to the number of women. Then racism and homophobia would follow. But it isn't as simple as numbers. As I said, they are all equally wrong, and all three are treated to differing degrees depending on location an culture. In some areas (middle east) sexism is the biggest of the three injustices. In the southern USA racism and homophobia may overtake sexism in prevalence. But while one may be a bigger issue in some areas than others, it doesn't dismiss that fact that the others are also quite wrong and no better or worse that the applicable topic at hand. As for the personal scale question... I feel that is more of a case-by-case question that varies by the degree of oppression that individual faces. Say an individual is a gay female minority. Surely we must consider that they will face an even more disproportionate amount of ridicule.
I'm thinking that on a personal level, homophobia is the most striking. It's at least the most widely accepted bigotry out of the three. A person that would never use a degrading word towards a woman or person of ethnic origin will say 'fag' or 'queer' without a second thought.
On a mass numbers scale it's probably shifted from racism to sexism in terms of world wide happenings.
I wonder what that means and why.
What is the difference between homophobia, sexism and racism? Can one be more justified than another or are they all from the same school of thought?
Homophobia is certainly the most accepted of the three, taken on a global scale. Even in areas where sexism and racism are prevalent, bigotry against homosexuals is just as virulent, if not more so. And in places where sexism and racism are, if not absent, at least waning, discrimination against gays is usually more common than the other two.
The shift from racism to sexism I think is more of a subsidence of racism rather than a growth of sexism. Sexism is probably the oldest of the three, and I'd guess (just a guess) that racism underwent an increase in the last several centuries, as people started traveling more, and meeting other people different from themselves. Now, with globalization, that rise is decreasing again, although there is sadly still plenty of racism left.
I'd say that racism and homophobia owe their origin to the innate suspicion of people who are 'different' that springs from our tribal roots. Sexism is probably the one that is least likely to have come from this, and probably comes more from ancient protective instincts which have been taken and twisted by societal pressures and customs.
Like has already been said, all of them are bad things. The only question is which is having a worse impact. And like Misty said, I think that right now homophobia is the most "acceptable" so maybe is the worst these days in terms of impact to those affected
Most people realize that racism is wrong, so it has less opportunity to be as big a problem as it used to be.
Sexism maybe is somewhere in between in terms of acceptance. However, would it be fair to say that the actions taken based on sexism are often less extreme than for the other two? (Not to downplay the seriousness of the problem.) Pretty much everybody actually likes women, whereas there are or were many people with outright hatred toward gays and other races.
Of course, as a straight white male living in the US, my opinion on these things is as an outsider, so your mileage may vary. And there are probably parts of the world where the oppression of women (eg: Islamic countries?) and different races is still a lot worse than it is here.
But what about atheist-phobia? I think this is one of the few persecuted minority groups I can claim.
Atheist-phobia is pretty much contained to theocratic states or the U.S (which tries its hardest to be theocratic)
How wide spread do you think the problem of atheist-phobia is? What's the impact of it? How does it measure up against the other three?
Hardly just restricted to the US. In some of the more (or even outright) theocratic countries, being an atheist is still punishable by either prison time or death.
I'd place anti-atheist bigotry in the same general grouping as other religious-oriented prejudices. Certainly global in scope, and capable of engendering levels of group violence that are rarely seen in the other three, religion-based bigotry has the additional 'feature' of being able to incorporate all three of the others into its beliefs.
Sexism. Every category of person includes women. Women end up being oppressed by their own communities and even their own families. Homosexuals get it worse, of course, but only if they are found out and if they are in a country that does not tolerate them (most, unfortunately). Still there aren't that many gay people. So while their oppression is wholely unacceptable, it does not result in the volume of suffering that sexism does. And of course half of homosexuals are women.
Racism used to be the worst hands down. The assumed "fact" of racial and even ethnic superiority justified slavery, genocide and wholesale dispossession. Now, the world is moving away from that and race is no longer an acceptable OFFICIAL basis for discrimination. Of course, half of those slaves, genocide victims and dispossessed natives were females. Racism is a threat from the outside. Jim Crow was a white threat originating outside the Black American community. Sexism, as noted, comes from inside. People who rail against racism often have no trouble expecting servitude from their wives and daughters. Usually, other women are the worst enforcers of female gender roles. In fact, one thing that one may definitely conclude from the three Abrahamic religions is that God hates chicks! Oppression on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity is a crime against humanity. Oppression against women is somehow just a cultural difference.