A researcher once asked a man his opinion on a certain ethnic group. The man said:”They are moody and quick tempered. It is in their blood.”
The reseacher asked the man whether he had known any personaly. “Yes, one. He was our class president.”
Did your class president fit your image of them?
“No, he was calm and pleasant.”
“Then the moodiness and quick temper couldn’t have been in the blood, could it?
“He was an exception.”
The negativity that people sometimes feel towards others is more often a mind set based on preconceived ideas rather than fact. When it comes down to human traits and even genetics there is very little difference between humans. But let’s put some humor and lightness into this because it’s not about accusing anyone or anything of hurtful practices because that’s what racism is. If we can look at ourselves and say things like “white people can’t dance” and laugh about it, we’re on the right track because we do notice the differences among ourselves. Off course white people can dance! It’s just that black people have more natural rythem and style. Poking fun at each other in this way is harmless jesting that we all can live with. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at some underlying feelings that may creep in our dealings with other groups. Sometimes we may not even realize that we have this fault.
The word “racist” has rather nasty connotations and will be done away with as much as possible. The words “to be prejudiced” sounds better and is more constructive. Simply put , it means to “pre-judge” others, that is, not give them the benefit of a fair trial, which is getting to know them, before jumping to conclusions. Prejudice lumps people into boxes. Thus a perfect stranger can be described as lazy, dangerous or devious based on their face value rather than hard evidence.
Prejudiced people are not necessarily hostile. They certainly may have friends in other racial groups but will recoil at the thought of having them as in laws. They may subtely reveal lingering feelings of superiority, or assume a patriotic air .The prejudiced one will defend his bias to the bitter end even when facts prove him or her wrong.