Prejudice and Discrimination, A Necessary Evil
"Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gang-bangers? Huh? No. Do we look threatening? No. In fact, if anybody should be scared around here, it's us: We're the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So you tell me, why aren't we scared?"
"Because we have guns?"
"You could be right".
These quotes were extracted from the movie 'Crash'. Two African American men remarking on the prejudice they believe others are showing to them, while simultaneously planning a crime- sort of ironic. This is a superb movie about prejudice, stereotyping, profiling, and discrimination based on many of the events occurring in America now.
Whether you admit it or not, prejudice is all around you, even within you. My goal in writing this is for folks to channel and focus their natural tendency toward prejudice into something more constructive, but certainly not to ignore it based on political correctness. Certain discrimination can be life-saving. And Learning to define oneself by what you love rather than what you hate can help determine whether your discriminating is justified or not.
Striving to be politically correct can lead to as much ignorance as blatant and unnecessary prejudice. Lasting prejudice: Holding a grudge for no reason or our parents passed the ignorance down or just from one incident, is not right. Protecting ourselves enough to make informed decisions based on pre-conceived notions and conclusions, such as prejudice, is wise.
In light of recent events, I'm beginning to analyze the necessity of prejudice. To view all prejudice as bad is not something I'm willing to accept.. During Portland, Oregon's tree lighting ceremony before Christmas, 2010, a car bomber was caught in the act, waiting for 10,000 people to show up on a festive holiday event so he could destroy lives and a city. He was following a Muslim terrorist group's plan. The issue here is our logic explains not all Muslims are bad, but some are and the magnitude of danger, when they are, should seriously be considered.
The trend I am seeing within our nation is a common dislike for that culture born from the disregard their people have for our culture. Who is right? Well, neither- not the nice and tidy answer you wanted. Perhaps our prejudice for that culture is based on what is necessary to protect ourselves. I worry someday that Americans will be more afraid to think of themselves as prejudice than to act on a justifiable fears or instincts.
Many Americans are quickly learning more about other cultures and various other political and social issues effecting us. Within the American egocentric mind-set, we can't imagine a culture of individuals who would commit suicide in an effort to plan and kill groups of people. Maybe it's also hard for us to accept a group of people who would disregard our laws and borders. Although this happening and Americans are shrinking in fear of looking prejudice or politically incorrect.
I find myself understanding the nation's growing prejudice against Muslims, terrorist groups, illegal immigrants, and mid-eastern culture. I don't think it is right, but the justification of prejudice as a necessary evil seems more like survival instincts. As an adult with enough knowledge and wisdom through experiences, I have gained judgement and even pre-judgement- sometimes helping me escape a bad situation.
The police and border patrol can't ignore a suspicious looking Hispanic even a mile from the border, they have to act on their prejudice, and profiling, for our safety. The military do it as well because their lives are in danger if they don't ackenowledge their prejudices while on foreign soils. During my high school years I lived near The Projects (one step up from the ghetto) and I learned to focus my prejudice as a combination of instinct and street knowledge.
Prejudice is natural and I believe necessary to react to in some cases. Animals in nature are prejudice as well. I'm not the only one."Ideas have consequences and the banishment of the idea of prejudice has had profound consequences for Western culture," T. Dalrymple explains in his book, "In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas."
"Today, the word prejudice has come to seem synonymous with bigotry; therefore the only way a person can establish freedom from bigotry is by claiming to have wiped his mind free from prejudice," Mr. Dalrymple writes, explaining that concept of "prejudice" (meaning "preconceived judgment or opinion") has suffered from its association with negative discrimination.
Several years ago, while taking psychology courses, I became open-minded about the term prejudice. Psychology will explain prejudice as normal and natural, but will call it "categorizing". Here's how categorizing was explained; a preconceived order and notion of all experiences and contact with others. In other words, we categorize and judge every person and very situation or place we come in contact with. Everything fits into categories in which we can simplify life so that we can easily assimilate the many experiences and contact with others that we will have in a lifetime. If we didn't do this, we would be overwhelmed and it would take far too long to judge each person and situation truly as individual and not based on our prior experiences. Life would be too overwhelming just as if we fear everything or don't fear anything- both are destructive ways of thought. To pre-judge circumstances and people, can help us differentiate between necessary fear and non-threatening, even if the fear doesn't amount to anything.
My other goal is to get this out in the open so that people aren't feeling guilty about having prejudice thoughts, but some judgement and preconceived notions are natural and help us stay safe and aware.
- The Case for Discrimination | Psychology Today
In the days of yore, to say that a man was discriminating was to pay him a compliment. It meant that he had taste; he could distinguish between the poor, the mediocre, the good and the excellent. His ability to make fine distinctions enabled him to l
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