Prejudice and Me

Extreme honesty alert!

Poor bear. What did the bear do to deserve this?

In any case, things I was reading today about other people’s biases gave me pause to think about my own. As hard as I’ve worked to overcome different kinds of prejudice, some seem almost hard wired. I have no scientific basis to go on, but my gut feeling is that these are the ones I learned when I was very young, before my ability to make judgments like that on my own kicked in.

Yep, I’m a white person. I was raised in a Southern US white culture. Some of the prejudices of that group rub off. I’ve spent many years dwelling on this, and it doesn’t make me happy. I know that having slave ancestors as well as slave owning ancestors is something to think about. I know I have biases in other areas that skew my opinions. I know I can’t fix past things. But I know I can work hard to treat people fairly today.

Where Prejudice Comes From (for me)

I sure know where a lot of my prejudices come from, and that’s my mom, whom I loved dearly, but I could tell from an early age had some extra doozies of flaws. One was her wide range of racial and ethnic stereotypes. She had a bad World War II experience (lost a fiance) and was pissed off at Japanese people and Germans (they spit when they talk) her whole life. She was also quite opposed to “white trash,” and kept telling us not to be like them. And she both loved black people personally and said awful things about them them as a group (probably from her own upbringing). All this stuff confused the heck out of me, and even though I was uncomfortable with the things she said and did, I know some of it sunk in.

Skin is just skin. Cultural differences are interesting, not scary. Yep. All images from here down from Twenty20.

Thanks to my upbringing, I was scared of black people and looked down from my barely middle-class perch at poor white people. I have a feeling many of my black and poor white future friends came about from me wanting to distance myself from my mom and not wanting to be like that. At least I stuck around to like my friends as people. But to this day, I get this tiny bit of negativity that my higher thought processes immediately slap down. Whew, no wonder racial stereotypes and prejudices are so hard to eradicate, when even someone who knows better and wants to judge people on who they are, not how they look, still deals with childhood crap.

Continue reading “Prejudice and Me”

Whew. I’m Irrational.

I’m really having a harder than usual time listening to people lumping me in with some group of tantrum-prone babies because I have differing opinions from them. I’m not using my best words, either, which doesn’t help. I can work on me, though, after listening to my friends’ criticisms of me.

I am not Supergirl. I’m fallible human woman.

It is so hard to not stereotype groups of people when people say stuff like this to and about me:

Attack when the opinion differs. Humiliate when you don’t get your own way. Scream in people’s faces like a spoiled child when you can’t make someone succumb to your way of thinking. They are a bunch of spoiled brats who don’t know how to communicate, they never had to. They were led to believe no one loses, that someone calling you a name will destroy who you are instead of defending yourself, they were taught any college degree is worth an above average wage, even though it might have been in fashion, or liberal arts! We used to sit, have discussions, not arguments. We never disowned our friends and families because we disagreed with their policies. We never had to convince our friends, we only gave our viewpoints and that was ok. This new political party is a rude, childish, a true embarrassment to us all.

a guy on Facebook who I don’t know

Wow, I’d said that some people find it really important to own objects designed for killing, while other people want to have more peaceful, secure lives. I do realize that when people expect a certain type of words to come out of people they don’t like as a group, they will interpret the words in the worst way possible. And I am NOT at my word-smithing best today. I am sorry for that, honest!

Summary

Anyway, gun-loving friends, I do not think you all want to kill people. Pacifist friends, I am against killing people, so would use the shotgun I own only to scare away animals. That’s just me. You feel how you want to feel.

I really DO want to sit and have discussion. And folks, name-calling may well make you feel better, but I don’t like it. Why? Not because it hurts my feelings. No, because it stops any rational dialog in its tracks and just leads to escalating labeling and ranting, not listening. Or, as in my case, I just leave the “conversation” and concentrate on places where I actually can engage in dialogue and learn from others.

When you feel attacked, you defend, even if you don’t want to. So, this is my public apology to anyone I’ve been unfair to on social media. Now you know why I’be been trying to keep quiet. I will work on figuring out a way to share my thoughts without inadvertently making others feel attacked.

I admit that studying this got me more upset yesterday. And it’s made me vow to not be part of the problem.

My next post will be about tea, or ants, or something neutral. Please encourage me to keep growing and making myself less easily provoked.