Monday, September 10, 2007

Prejudice isn't dead (it's just hard to kill)

Nope, prejudice isn't dead. This is a post that I am sure will annoy everyone who reads it because truth hurts. Nobody likes to hear that they may not be perfect. No one likes their carefully constructed universe to be upended by those that point out that the emperor has no clothes.

First, let's separate prejudice from racism. There are those that like to confuse the two. I won't bore you with the definitions, but if you need to refresh yourself, here: prejudice and racist.

Okay, have we read up and gotten our terms straight before we delve into this and you start yelling at me? Good, let's start getting that burr under the saddle!

Racial prejudice

If a white man doesn't like a black man simply because he is black and the white man alters his behavior towards the black man because of it, he is prejudiced.

See, that wasn't so hard!

If a black man doesn't like a white man simply because he is white and the black man alters his behavior towards the white man because of it, he is prejudiced, too.

Now, at this point people are going to start grumbling and there will be comments like, how could a black man possibly be prejudiced? By strict definition, many are. My friends are pretty evenly split between black and white and, while white people who still have lingering traces of prejudice within them tend to keep their mouth shut about such things, I have been at gatherings and in conversations with black friends where it's "white man" this and "white man" that and "what you expect from him, he's white". Hate to break it to you folks, but that is prejudice, plain and simple.

All the protestation you can muster won't change the truth of it. Trouble is, certain people just don't want to hear the truth and they think that by denying it that it somehow validates their position. It doesn't work for the White House and I'm not accepting it from you either.

Here's one I bet you haven't thought of. If a black and a white man don't like a Mexican simply because he's a Mexican and/or maybe taking away a potential job from a black or white American or they simply look down upon them because they can't speak the language or do work that the black or a white man wouldn't be caught dead doing and then treat them differently because of it, then the white and the black man are prejudiceed against Mexicans. I am picking a lot of that up lately when I listen to people. It's funny to see white and black people agreeing about another group of people that they don't like. Funny/sad that is.

Meanwhile, men are still looking down upon women. Women still make stereotypical remarks about men. Straight people snicker at gays and gays deride "breeders". Muslims and Jews hold each other in great disrespect. Democrats hate Republicans and Republicans loathe Democrats.

Am I belaboring the obvious? Yep! Why? Because sometimes you have to rub people's noses in their faults before they finally decide they look like idiots for behaving like real jerks.

Ending prejudice starts with each one of us. Yes, the other guys responsible, too, but you or I can't change the way they think or behave. We can change ourselves. The end of prejudice doesn't lie in getting people to quit being prejudiced, although it will help. The end of prejudice lies with each of us, what we do and how we behave and, just as important, how we raise our children. If I change and you change and my kids change and we lead by setting an example and one by one we get our friends to change, eventually things will get better.

Change your self and help change the world..


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