Saturday, April 23, 2005

Prejudice is in All of Us...But What are You Doing About It?

I am willing to bet my life on it that there is not a single person in this world who has not said a racist comment at least once no matter how small the comment might have been. Even those people who are leaders in the fight against discrimination and prejudice have probably whispered some kind of a racist remark against a specific group of people at some point in their lives…perhaps, when they were in their homes behind closed doors when they are sure no one will hear them except for the people closest to them; or even if they did not say it out loud in front of anyone, they have probably thought it out loud when they were alone.
Of course, there are varying degrees to racism. No one dares say the above mentioned leaders or people who are like them are racists, because obviously their actions show otherwise. However, one must come to the understanding that it is human nature to see the differences in others…oh that person is black, Muslim, American, Arab, Mexican, Catholic etc. the list goes on and on and we’re constantly passing judgments on others…so many racist and discriminatory comments play in our heads whether we admit it or not, and whether we actually express these thoughts or not, they are still there….but we have to draw the line somewhere, and we have to do something about it….
First, we must realize after saying such a comment that it was a bad remark and probably not true of the person we said it of; admitting a fault is the first step towards a solution.
Second, after admitting the wrong comment a person must work on him/herself so that such comments never slip out anymore out of no where…and I don’t mean working on hiding what one is thinking, but rather working on cleansing oneself from such negative perceptions about other people.
Finally, and most important, people must judge each person according to his/her actions, attitudes, and character, and avoid making generalizations about a whole group of people…don’t lump all the people of a certain ethnicity, religion, nationality etc. into a big pile and attribute to them certain negative characteristics or actions because that is just wrong….if you want proof that it is wrong, then do a study on a group of people from a particular nationality, religion, or ethnicity, but on the condition that you must study EVERY SINGLE PERSON that belongs to that group (scientifically impossible of course) and see if all the characteristics you thought were present in that group were actually present in EVERY individual in the group…of course, you will definitely find that is not the case! Certainly there are groups of people where the majority of individuals exhibit certain characteristics that you perceive as negative, but then how do you know the person that is in front of you who belongs to that group is not among the minority in that group in terms of his/her actions….the answer is that you do NOT know until you learn more about that INDIVIDUAL and only then can you go ahead and judge him or her.
Also, what we may perceive as a “negative” characteristic may be seen by others as something good or part of their culture and traditions which they value more than anything else! Plus, who are we to judge others? What makes us better than the seemingly “different other” whom we are judging? I personally believe we can judge someone based on his/her actions in life rather than what group they belong to…when we do that, we find that we are closer to some people in our thinking and views than we might have imagined!
Thus, let’s first realize that some racist feelings/comments are part of our nature as humans, but let’s also work against this “negative” aspect of our nature…In the end, it will only make us better humans!!!
Don’t delay, start today…think about a racist remark you’ve made or thought of about any specific group of people…then work on yourself first to delete such kind of thinking from your personality, and try to help those around you change their thinking and attitudes of others and get over their prejudices…I chose to start with my family first, we’ll see how that goes…hehe:))

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