Prejudices, Racism, and Discrimination. Oh My!

Prejudice:

preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Racism:

the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

Discrimination:

treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

 

Sheesh.

There has been so much going on within the US lately, regarding all three topics.  Ferguson, Baltimore, police brutality, gay rights, and more locally, the Native American headdress at Biloxi High School.  Of course that’s not all that’s happened, but it’s what been most reflected in the news. Each and every single incident I just listed falls deep within the three categories I listed above.

Not one single race of people is innocent of prejudices, racism, or discrimination.  Not one single person is innocent of it either.  Whether you’ve said it out-loud, or only thought it, even if just in passing or as a “joke”, every person is guilty.  Blacks, whites, Mexicans, Asians, Jews, homosexuals, heterosexuals, Natives..the list goes on and on.  Of course, not every race has suffered the same injustices.  Natives were slaughtered, their women raped, their land stolen.  Africans were sold into slavery and forced to endure evil slave owners, their women and children also raped and beaten- some killed.  Jews were forced into concentration camps and murdered.  All horrific things done at the hand of “the white man“.   No matter how many years ago it happened, it still plagues people today.

All this “white privilege” stuff…I hate hearing it.  It really irks me.  I absolutely hate it.  That, in and of itself, is racist with prejudice, and discrimination.  Of course, SOME white people DO feel that they are better than other races for one reason or another.  But the same can be said for any other race.  Saying (all) white people are privileged is like saying (all) black people are thugs, drug dealers, and murders.  Or that (all) Native Americans are alcoholics. It’s just simply not the case.  Statistically, and stereotypically, both may be true.  However, generalizing one race/group of people as such does nothing to help the racial divide that’s already too wide in this country.

Every single race, every single person is discriminated against for one reason or another.  Natives are discriminated against because they are thought to be alcoholics.  Blacks because they are thought to be thugs.  Whites because they are thought to feel “privileged”.  Asians because they are supposed to be super smart.  Mexicans because they can’t learn the English language.  Jews because they are thought to be stingy with money.  Rich people because they’re thought to be snobby.  Poor people because they are thought to be lazy and unmotivated.  Fat people because they are thought to be lazy and gross.  Skinny people because they are thought to be anorexic.  Blonde-haired, blue-eyed females because they are thought to be preppy and snobby.  Women because they are thought to be the weaker sex. Men because they have to masculine or macho.  Homosexuals because it’s against God’s plan.  Religious people because they believe in something “imaginary“.  Atheists because they believe in science.  Special needs people because they are “retarded”.  This list goes ON AND ON. Every. Single. Person. Suffers. Discrimination.

Of course, none of that can compare to those who’ve lost their lives due to one of the issues above.  Whites kill blacks simply because of their skin color.  Blacks kill whites for the same reason.  Heterosexuals kill homosexuals.  Men kill women.  Women kill men.  People ridicule fat people.  Poor people.  Gossip flys around about rich people.  Not one single person is safe from racism or discrimination.  Not one.  No race, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight is safe from the rudeness of another.

The one thing that everyone seems to forget is that we are all human.  We all bleed red.  We all hurt and get offended.  Inside, we are ALL THE SAME.

As an overweight female, who came from a poor family, I’ve had my fair share of discrimination and racism.  Because I am fat, I’m automatically lazy.  Because I’m fat,  I can’t be attractive or worth being with (relationship or friendship wise).  Because I’m white, I automatically feel “privileged” and am racist.  Let me tell you one thing…there has been NOTHING about my life that’s been privileged.  Friends were hard to get, jobs were hard to get- simply based on my weight.  I’ve been arrested on unpaid tickets.  No, I’ve never been pulled over for “fitting the description” or for “suspicious activity” because I obey the law (except those unpaid tickets…whoopsie!), NOT because I am white.  White people get picked on by cops just like black people, or any other race.  Just because it isn’t media broadcasted and youtubed every time it happens, does not mean it doesn’t happen.  There are no factual evidence to justify that way of thinking.  The only thing that’s different is that in this day and age, people are so attached to their phones, that in a split second, they are recording and documenting something.   It’s all circumstantial, at best.  Just opinions of opinions based on biased sources.  That’s all.  And that works both ways.

Justifying the actions of one race (based on a few experiences) is unfair.  Any justification, from any race.   But just like not every black person is a criminal, not every white person sees them as such.  I don’t.  Knowing how it feels to be discriminated against because of my sex, weight, or race, I couldn’t put someone else through that.  Of course I’m not perfect and some mean thoughts cross my mind when someone pisses me off, but I try to be objective and see their points of view.  Not everyone does, and I get that.

These riots that are happening…I can’t pretend I know what black America is feeling.  Yes, it looks like whites are out to get them because of the media coverage of these black teens who were killed.  Despite evidence and witness testimonies,  a lot of people are going to feel the way they feel.  And they feel attacked, picked on, belittled, segregated.  But I know that they aren’t the only ones who are discriminated against based on race.  They aren’t the only ones who have ancestors who went through hell because of the color of their skin.

There is a sense of entitlement in today’s society.  Everyone feels entitled to one thing or another because of the injustices  against their race, against their ancestors.  Everyone feels entitled because of what their great-great-grandmother’s cousin’s friend’s mother’s brother’s daughter experienced, something that they (the ones who didn’t experience it and probably don’t know the 100% truth) are upset/offended about.  I do understand that racism is alive and well in this country.  Trust me.  I see it every day on the news, on social media, and in real life.  I am not blind and I do not deny that fact.

Truth be told, people suck.  Not just white people.  All people.  We suck.  WE all suck.  We continually fuss about other races picking on us for one reason or another, then turn right around and do the exact same thing to another race.  We continually perpetuate the stereotypes.  All of us.  We maintain our stances and behind closed doors, turn into the same jerks that we were complaining about 10 minutes ago.  We smile in people’s faces and as soon as their backs are turned, we bad-mouth them.  We pick fights with people behind the protection of a computer screen.  We ridicule someone because of their weight, their hair, their shoes, their fashion choices.  We riot and gather in parks and fight.  We kill.  PEOPLE. SUCK.

So, how do we fix this?

I don’t think there is any one single, simple fix.  I think a lot of things need to happen.  And it will take a long time.  But the first, and maybe most important thing we can do, is STOP listening to the media.  The media perpetuates racism and feeds the public misinformation.  This is when people riot or start attacking other folks, and have NO idea what is really going on.  The media twists information, leaves out information, posts pictures that are unrelated to the thing they are reporting on, just to make a dollar.  And all were are doing is allowing it.  Take, for example, when the media reported that the bloods, crips, and another gang were banding together AGAINST the police in Baltimore.  That threw everyone into a frenzy.  Then a few hours later, they reported that they had actually banded together to PROTECT the police in Baltimore.  But, by the time they reported the TRUTH, it was too late.  And that’s how it works.

We HAVE to stop killing each other.  WE HAVE TO.

We need to learn to respect people.  We need to learn to not be judgmental when first meeting someone who is a different color, or religion.  We need to be open-minded.  We need to be accepting and understanding.  We need to be compassionate.  And we need to STOP teaching our children to be racist.  It may be too late for some of us older folks.  But our children…our children ARE our future.  Our children absorb everything we teach them..directly or indirectly.  If you would be upset if a child was racist towards your child- the feelings that you feel when someone is racist towards you- WHY on earth would you teach an innocent child to intentionally hurt others who aren’t like them?

As a mother of 3 children (8, 6, and 4-  two of them in public school), I try to raise my children to not be judgmental or mean towards another person.  When someone hurts their feelings about something, be it another child in school or a family member, I remind them of how they feel and that they should never do/say anything like what that person said to them. My daughter gets upset because people pick on her name.  Her name is London.  Naturally, kids sing “London bridge is falling down” and it irritates her.  She lashes out, because that’s just what kids do.  But I try my BEST to explain to her that just because someone hurts her, does NOT mean that she has to hurt them back.  I try my best to tell her that some people are just not raised right and have no respect and that she shouldn’t worry about what other people think.  As long as she is happy with her name (or whatever it is that others may tease about) then no one else’s opinions should matter.  And it angers me that people are raising rude children who bully others.  Luckily, my daughter refuses to tell me names of the children who have said something to her.  She knows I’ll go buck-ass wild on the teachers and parents.  I’m crazy and my daughter knows it. *shrug*

But I digress.

We need to come together, as HUMANS.  Not as blacks, whites, men, women, etc.  But as people.  People with hearts and brains.  People want discrimination and racism to end.  What are you doing about it?  What are YOUR contributions to the fight against racism?  To end the injustices and discrimination that we all face, for one reason or another?  What are you doing to ensure a safe and happy environment for your children, or grand-children?

Do me a favor.  Take a second to just think.  Think about the people in your life- the people on your facebook.  Think of the mean things you’ve thought or said.  Now, think how it would have made you feel had they said something like that to you, or to one of your children.  Realize what you’re doing to yourself, your environment, and your children.  Realize what you’re doing to future of this country.  Have some compassion and empathy.

Apologize to someone today, for something that you’ve said or done to intentionally hurt them.  Do something nice for someone today-  someone you would not normally associate with.  Show some kindness, be it a smile to an elderly person who’s walking just a little too slow, helping a child reach an item at the store, helping a lady with 4 kids put her groceries in her car, paying for someone’s coffee, or saying “it’s okay, it’s not a problem” to someone who keeps screwing up and you’re doing everything you can not to scream and punch them in the face.


Karma works both ways, people!!!!!


Be a good person today….and strive for it every day.  No one is perfect, but once a day, each person can do ONE thing to make someone else’s day just a little bit better.

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