I could never understand prejudice; I mean, how can you hate (yes, many hate) those whom you’ve never met, or have only seen. Okay, I figure people don’t like black people because they are jealous. Think about it; many have such beautiful skin tone (hence, black is beautiful.) And when I see someone with really dark skin, wearing a deep red or deep yellow shirt, they look amazing.
We who are white as a goat (as Archie Bunker used to say) must sit outside for a long time just to be a little brown. We must wear suntan lotion, and if we go swimming, must make sure it won’t harm marine life. If it comes off, and we forget to put on more, we risk skin cancer. Now that’s not to say people who have black skin don’t also tan or in the case of one of the captain of my husband’s soccer team, get burned. Yes, but his skin is a lighter shade of brown, and he got quite burned when he went home to St. Lucia (lucky devil.)
I guess many think all black people are shiftless, lazy, ignorant, in gangs, and all the other stereotypical B.S. Like all white people are energetic, hardworking, honest, honourable and just good all around. Again, B.S
Prejudice also comes from long-time erroneous beliefs about certain people. My neighbour and I were conversing on the phone and I don’t recall how the subject came up, but he began deriding Jews. He said they’re all cheap and all rich. Well, I dared not tell him I’m Jewish, and I’m sure he’d be shocked, as I’m sure as hell not rich, and I’m not at all cheap, as proven when my husband and I go on vacation and bring him back gifts as our way of thanking him for watching our home, taking in our mail, newspapers, etc. He might say I’m the exception, but hey, if there’s even one exception, then there’s likely a helluva lot more where they came from.
As for other cultures and the erroneous beliefs that they are all the same, i.e., the Irish are drunks, the Italians are mobbed up, and oh, when I first came to Canada there were a lot of Newfie jokes, you know, they’re like blonde jokes, all duh. So I wondered about these people, not that I believed the jokes, but wondered what people from Newfoundland were like. Having now been in Canada for over 45 years I have been fortunate enough to have met some people from there, and I’ve yet to meet anyone from Newfoundland who wasn’t warm, bright, sociable and eager to be friends. And as for blondes, well really, thinking that just because someone has a certain hair colour they all have certain and the same attributes, either positive or negative is just, truly, moronic. So all those with red hair have fiery tempers, but I’ve never heard any stereotypes about those with brown, black or grey hair. And overweight people are not always jolly, in fact, while many are eager to please and must try harder at places of business as they are perceived also to be lazy and slovenly, again, B.S.
The thing about prejudice is that it’s hard for people who are experiencing those biases to unlearn that which they’ve been brainwashed to believe, often since childhood, from parents, other adults and then other children. My brother was called The Yid Kid, and beaten up just for being Jewish. And I know many of other religions and ethnicity are also treated badly for that over which they have no control. I mean, while it’s true overweight people can lose weight, though often not with ease or permanence, and people can change their religious believes, how does a person who is brown or black change their skin colour? And why would or should they want to? How did it ever come to be that the white people in much of the world hold all the cards? Think about when white explorers wanted to settle in places they ‘discovered.’ They just moved or killed those who had lived there for their entire lives, having to leave their homes, dying while walking barefooted in the snow to regions unknown, often being evicted from their new homes. Inuit people had their children taken away and denied their birthright and heritage, like it was something to be ashamed of. Those who should have been ashamed are those who thought this was okay. Well, it wasn’t then, and it’s still not.
But I also notice something equally unacceptable as prejudice, and that’s reverse prejudice. I gleaned a poster on a nearby pole which invited ‘black’ women who wished to learn about breastfeeding. Now, imagine if that poster invited only ‘white’ women; the outrage would be front page news for sure. Well, this poster was just as unacceptable; I mean, people who have experienced prejudice should not feel that those who were so ignorant and evil ought to know first-hand how it feels. I would have hoped those who were the sufferers of this would know better, but it certainly appears that is not the case.
So next time you decided you don’t like someone based on their tenets, colour or body size, how about speaking with the person and then judge not, lest ye be judged. And remember; the sins of our forefathers should not be visited upon those of us who live today, unless still being practiced and believed in today, in which case, it’s time to unlearn that which was taken as fact.