Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Prejudice

I've begun to collectively realize that as human beings we all possess a certain level of prejudice which we may not even realize at times even exists. Of course there are the obvious ones about race and skin color, but let's not forget religion, both of which wars have been fought over.

Sometimes we inadvertently " out" ourselves with out realizing when we make generalizations regarding certain groups of people. The economically challenged are often part of a disenfranchised group with no voice or power in our society. I'm talking about poor people. They get no respect as Rodney Dangerfield would say. Most of us just treat them like they are invisible.

Developmentally disabled people used to be locked away in asylums, treated like defectives, until Geraldo Rivera published Willowbrook and exposed the way the severely mentally retarded and physically disabled individuals were being treated.

I've heard comments directed at fat people that they should just stop eating or somehow they are just "weak".

I've heard people stereotype Asians and the way they make jokes about their driving abilities.

I've heard people refer to individuals with mental health issues being "crazy". I believe this has more to do with ignorance and fear.

I'm commenting about this right now because I just spent the last five days with my family and close friends and realized how sensitive I have grown about the way people refer to other groups of individuals in such negative ways and I don't even think they are aware sometimes of how they sound. Let me further say that I rail against political correctness so there is a certain level of dissonance I experience regarding the whole thing but have concluded that people's ignorance can sometimes lead them down the wrong path of generalizing.

Are you really aware of what your own prejudices might be?

5 comments:

Madame DeFarge said...

I have umpteen prejudices, most of which are carefully hidden or buried deep where no-one can see them. They're mostly entirely irrational and some are rather unpleasant. But I know that I can rarely avoid them.

Michael said...

I notice these things too, especially about the 'poor people' thing, as I have the tendency to hang out with the rich kids.

As for my prejudices, to sum it up, they would include everybody there is around... so, although prejudice exists, and misanthropy exist... I cannot say it has to be legally reduced, otherwise I would be made uncomfortable by having to change my opinions.

I prefer it the way it is, and I'll just keep them inside, like Madame DeFarge does.

Michael said...

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Clare Actman said...

Something we all secretly do but try to hide for fear we might appear closed minded.

gaf85 said...

Madame, Yes it is quite interesting how people feel they must hide their own prejudices for fear of being judged maybe.
Michael,Interesting comment about how opinions can display our prejudices.
Claire,I agree that it is true about fearing we might appear close minded.