This post was inspired by a discussion with another member, who called me a racist and a hypocrite (but not an acrobat).
Prejudice is not wanting things to be the way they are in my opinion, lack of it accepting reality as it exists here and now, and going beyond it to create a greater one, through unity of purpose but not necessarily through unity of belief or appearance. Prejudice is seeing people as groups, not individuals as subjective things, not living beings. It is assuming we know the truth (lynch mobs / the killing of a Sikh in America, after 9/11 because he was foreign looking), rather than putting the brakes on your actions and stopping to think, explore and discover the truth. As a personal instance of arrogant assumption, I slid on a neighbours icy path and immediately thought 'How stupid to clear away the snow, when it obviously was still freezing cold!' Then I thought how often has it snowed here? Twice in 8 years. If it had snowed every year then it would be reasonable to expect people to remember the effects of such actions but not when it was that rare.
'But they are only Russians' was the reaction of Walter Duranty to the famine caused by Stalin during the thirties. It won him a Pulitzer Prize. By contrast Gareth Jones actually journeyed to the famine area and reported on the death of millions. "Only the closed mind is certain" to quote Dean Spanley in the book of the same title by Lord Dunsaney. It is focus blindness as with the gorilla on the pitch experiment. It is pre-judging a situation and thinking we know without checking (lazy attitude). It is the way Guantanamo Bay has tortured prisoners for years and President Karzai kicked out special forces in Afghanistan, for torturing locals to 'try' to get information they probably didn't have but the troops 'thought' they did: Certainty leads to action - doubt leads to inaction. It's the way coloured people were hung in The South while families had picnics underneath (Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday). It is the way the Nazis blamed the Jews for the state of Germany after the first world war and that led to the concentration camps.
Segregation is separation in action, which is prejudice in thought or deed ("Nothing to do with me!" attitude versus "No man is an island" John Donne). Islam as a society doesn't treat women as equals, unlike The West but that doesn't mean individuals within it, all have that attitude - Malala Yousafzai's father for instance, who is proud of his daughters stand on education (the mind is more malleable than we know and the brains of men and women are no different, according to research by Professor Gina Rippon of Aston University, Birmingham, UK). We must not forget that even the West used to treat women differently when it came to places of worship, until modern times (A church in Thurso, North Scotland, where I used to live, had a door for men to enter on one side and a separate one for women on the other side). We used to behead people ourselves in Britain during the Middle Ages and even hung children for stealing bread, as Charles Dickins disclosed. Genital mutilation is still carried out on young girls and leads to severe trauma. It cannot be claimed to be Islamic, anymore than the wearing of the Burka is as both are cultural, not religious. We also hung a monkey for being a French spy and had other animal trials.
Harun Al-Rashid was a Muslim ruler whose reign saw a great flowering of science, art, medicine, architecture, invention and philosophy. Sant Tukaram started the Bhakti movement which challenged India's caste system as Nelson Mandela challenged Apartheid in South Africa and David Wilberforce challenged slavery in Britain - all these people sought progression in society and were opposed by those who wanted things to stay the same (Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country and the plot to keep things as they were).
My point about intelligence being about willingness to let go of the past applies here (Thinking bad of the past is bad for your health according to Spanish research and makes it harder to engage with the world around you) - that is fluidity of thought as an individual or society versus rigid defense of beliefs. This is the elephant in the room, in The UK, with regards to the Muslim 'community' (defense committee) but obviously not in France from their reaction to The Charlie Hebdo killings and I can't say about America (Big or small Muslim population?).
Humour is the enemy of prejudice as this as an attitude is about letting go and not taking life seriously enough to kill anyone over, unlike taking things seriously (fear and violence based reaction as opposed to cool headed thought). Prejudice is lazy thinking followed by lazy action. It is failing to control yourself, in order to ascertain the truth. It is about stopping reaction, not encouraging it. It is about gaining knowledge but letting go of it, when it is no longer relevant or doesn't bring positive results. It's the opposite of force - it is open enquiry. "It is believing everything and nothing" Inspector Clouseau - that is not jumping to conclusions but accepting possibilities. Speed and fear/ excitement go together as does shallowness of perception/thought: Adrenaline (action) junkies versus thought (ideas) junkies i.e. slowing things down to examine them versus speeding them up to create excitement.
Royal Holloway University researchers found that the false hand trick as demonstrated on an edition of QI, the UK quiz show hosted by Stephen Fry, helps combat racism as does anything that helps overcome what is at base a phobic reaction (Eddie Murphy's make up, turning him into a white man in appearance, could have been used to the same effect as I suggested to Oprah Winfrey in a letter, years ago).
I was also called a hypocrite and that ties in with this because UK research disclosed that middle class men, who fought against racial prejudice, showed the same unconscious reactions top coloured people as those who were openly racist - in other words hidden phobia. I believe this ties in with other research about acting superior to hide feelings of inferiority (Survey by Ask Jeeves, a search engine in the UK): Everywhere you look is fear, I fear!
Edited by pagetheoracle, 21 January 2015 - 09:52 AM.