Prejudices

11 Mar

Ok not a subject matter I ever care to breach because you can’t win. If you happen to disagree with a published newspaper article, on prejudice then you will likely be branded prejudiced yourself. But if you remain silent then I think prejudice wins. It is a two way street. Recently I read an article in a local community week-end paper where the reporter discussed the matter with a local pastor. He asked her if things had changed over the years and of course she indicated that very little had. Some small inroads had been achieved but no major community changes had been experienced. The article went on about some of the local injustices which had occurred in the past and quite frankly it’s all long before my time here in Nova Scotia.
I have travelled in many countries over the years and worked side by side with MANY nationalities, religions, and people of color, and with each one I was offered the same common respect as I offered them. However equally in every instant they demanded nothing from me other than respect. Working and helping peoples as equals I have no problems with.
However most articles I read, or road signs I see, or decreed holiday I hear of, are I believe for the most part a one sided cry.
They make me feel as if they are prejudiced against me. I of course am Caucasian, (oh God there it is, it’s out) but I am not prejudiced against anyone no matter how much you try and make me feel that I am. I don’t however agree with all of the propaganda. I have no special centers, or declared United Nations day, I get no special treatment from any government agency and certainly get nothing but bad publicity as an oppressor in the press.
However for me there is one glimmer of light in all of this and that is when I think back a few years when by chance I happen to channel surf and fell on a reception which Bill Cosby was speaking. I always liked Bill so I decided to listen in a little longer. The event was the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court Decision (1) (2)
Dr. Bill Cosby was one of the guest speakers. Interestingly he was subsequently severely chastised for what he said immediately following the event by some of the black communities. It became known as Bill Cosby’s Pound Cake Speech. Today if you Google the event you will find many discussions regarding what he said with most agreeing with the comments, well for the most parts. I certainly do not wish to analyze Mr. Cosby’s speech here but I do find very few references to it in public conversations or newspaper articles, or when prejudices are being declared.
For many years I have said that prejudice in the media will ALWAYS be there as long as people are treated differently. Until society starts to accept that you get (everyone) what you work for NOT for what you are given whether directly or as preferential treatment. You can never satisfy both sides of the equation’s equal sign. In mathematics you cannot transpose part of the expression from one side of the equal sign to the other, without doing the same to both sides. Prejudice is the same or at least similar. What one group receives the others also must receive. However in life there are non mathematical considerations. That consideration is one of perception. If one side perceives that someone is getting the same as they are but without the same effort put forward, then the equation will never balance.
I can stand up for social prejudice as I encounter it. I can speak up where someone might be being bullied or talked down too because of their linguistic accent or derogatory remarks because of their looks, or religious belief, but when it comes to cultural prejudice I’m afraid no matter what I say or do unless I am being subservient it will not appease them. That prejudice is cultural baggage. That prejudice, is internal to that part of the culture and themselves, and it’s a one way view. “If you do not see life or things my way it’s because you are being prejudiced against me”. It seems to me that no matter what, “I”… as a Caucasian am being blamed for things I have not done just because of MY color. In most cases the accusations by the people crying out the injustices have not been submitted to it themselves. My suitcase will never be big enough to store all that baggage.
Groups and cultures can petition any government for whatever compensation they desire but no government edict can magically evaporate prejudices. In fact the more it is catered to, the more likely the gap will widen.
In the end we must all work for what we want and only then can we truly OWN what we receive.
It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom.
ALBERT EINSTEIN
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_v._Board_of_Education
(2) http://www.infoplease.com/us/supreme-court/cases/ar04.html

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