The Roots of Discrimination

I’ve been having trouble deciding whether there has been a sudden uproar of prejudice and discrimination in the United States, or whether I am just now paying attention to it. This issue seems insignificant when one begins to think of how to eradicate discrimination. I am inclined to say that it is simply a part of human nature on all levels, but when we further understand the roots of discrimination the more we can work chisel away at it to its lowest forms.

I’ve noticed one feature in every discriminatory person I’ve met: ignorance. It is the lack of understanding something that brews prejudice and discrimination.

This is a very crude example but it is revealing. If you ask a student in High School what subject he loathes the most, maybe he’ll say math. If you ask him why he loathes math he’ll say that it is difficult and he doesn’t understand it. So every year when he is renewed for another math class, he will decide he already doesn’t like it before he even goes to the class. Even if it is drastically changing subjects, such as going from algebra to geometry, he will still dislike it on the principle that it is math. So it is clear that it his misunderstanding that breeds his dislike for it.

Again going with the school example, because school is a valuable scenario to make sociological observations. If a student enrolls in a new class he’s never experienced, he may go in with a relatively open mind to what it will be like. But if a friend of his tells him that the class is awful then the student will go in looking for the bad things he was prepared for and may not notice the good things. Now, depending on how dear of a friend he is, the student may go in looking for the good things about the class to prove the friend wrong. But this depends on the relationship between the two.

Now, if a boy is raised by his parents and he is told every day that “blacks are inferior” then he may be inclined to agree. If he loves and trusts his parents enough he will agree with their word that blacks are inferior. It is much easier to take the opinions of others than it is to form opinions yourself. He could not even have any experience with black people, but he doesn’t need to have made up his mind because it was already made up by his parents.

So in another case a boy raised his parents is told every day that “blacks are inferior,” but if the boy dislikes his parents then he may disagree with him. He doesn’t have as much reason to blindly trust their word. And if the boy were to spend some genuine time with black people then he would realize just how wrong his parents were.

Here’s the portion where I get political. If a close-minded person goes through his entire life without knowing any homosexuals, he will likely dislike them. For he doesn’t know any, and he doesn’t understand what they do or why they do it, so naturally he dislikes the idea. Humans are afraid and dislike what they do not understand. A truly open-minded person is one who accepts that there will always be things he doesn’t understand, but then has the decency to say there is a reason for their doing. The open minded person, even if he hasn’t met any gay people, will accept that others are homosexual and accepts he will not understand why. He does not allow ignorance to brew hatred as long as he knows he is ignorant.

This also explains the discrimination of new ideas and the keenness of the reactionary point of view. If a new scientific study comes out that challenges everything the normal person knows, many will be inclined to deny it. For maybe they do not understand, and maybe they do not wish to understand because they are quite comfortable with what they have already been told. They do not understand the new information being told so it is much more convenient to deny it and go on with their lives. An open minded person that has accepted his ignorance may look at the new science with eagerness and readiness to give up what he already has been told. He may even strive to learn what he does not know.

The willingness to accept your ignorance is the best way to learn. This virtue was taught as far back as Apology, Plato’s famous account of the court trial of Socrates. Using this knowledge we can begin to observe the roots of prejudice comes from a lack of understanding.

So then, knowing this how can we begin to eradicate discrimination? Well, the first thing to do is to provide a proper education to children. Teach them it is better to admit how much you don’t know rather than flaunt how much you do know. Because then you have opened the door for them to go out and teach themselves. For parents I would encourage to do the same. Reading to kids has been proven to increase empathy, I would greatly encourage this as well. Expose your children to the world, but then teach them and guide them about it. Too many kids are left to guide themselves, and again this leads to a lack of understanding where discrimination comes from.

Lastly, if you meet a person who is discriminatory, challenge them. Challenge what they know. Don’t be afraid to question them and cause them to question themselves. Depending on how open they are, they may change to the slightest, or they might not change at all. But at least you would have taught them a lesson.

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65 thoughts on “The Roots of Discrimination

  1. I would just reply on my own blog, but I am still a bit clunky with wordpress, so I will provide a truncated response here, arguing the points here. Hopefully we have a mutual understanding that we wish to trade ideas, as I would be more than happy to entertain your comments on my blog.

    The first real question to ask, is why is discrimination, in itself, inherently wrong? I wouldn’t say it is. We discriminate all the time, with partners, food choices, who we let in our homes, and so on. You could argue that discrimination can keep certain people down through side effects like lower income, but if you are an inegalitarian like me, you would understand people have very different goals and uses in the world, and such disparities, for the most part, are really justified.

    Sure, discrimination is most embodied by low intelligence people, but a lot of that has to do with the concept of “smart people” in modern America. Most academics and mainstream media folks are generally leftist. The post World War II “conservative” movement in America almost totally trashed the idea of cultural or intellectual struggle, in exchange for just pure, lowest common denominator politics. Yeah, there are a lot of dumb redneck hillbillies out there, but in the past, there were plenty of people who made cases for discrimination than is much worse than I advocate, and they were generally part of the informed strata of society of their time. Pre World War I German academia is an example.

    And to any accusations that this is a racist post… yes, yes it is.

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    • I don’t mind people refuting me, in fact I encourage it and thank you for your time reading my work.

      I do mention that discrimination is a part of human nature, and rightfully so. For up until the modern world it was a very useful trait. If some dark cave were discovered, a person might not go exploring through there because 1) he doesn’t know what’s in there and 2) the darkness frightens him. In the sense this was to keep people safe and before the modernized world in many ways it was best to stick with what you already know.

      I am not against all forms of discrimination but it is a very dangerous thing. For instance, I tried oysters once and didn’t like them. Now I won’t try any other shellfish because I assume I won’t like them. This is inherently just because, well, it’s only shellfish.

      But this is more serious on a larger scale. Yes discrimination is used for propaganda in war time, and during times of ‘peace’ as we see now. But domestically it can be applied too. If I have one bad encounter with a black fellow, and then I encourage others to dislike black people as well, that impedes the African American population’s right to happiness and solitude. This isn’t about equality, because whether egalitarian or inegalitarian, it is about happiness. It is making it easier for people to find happiness themselves and not have to be burdened by domestic discrimination.

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    • To Alfred Miller: When reading this well-written article, it is quite obvious the author is using “discrimination” in only one of its possible meanings ~ that is, narrowly. Respectfully, I submit there need be no squabbling over discriminating between bagels or poached eggs; this is not at all the point of the essay.

      Also, since properly defining terms is important ~ something you obviously appreciate ~ then I’d appreciate knowing your meaning behind the term “inegalitarian.” Knowing what egalitarian means, then I would naturally suppose this term is simply the opposite of such … but I do try to avoid assumptions.

      Finally, you state very clearly (and surprisingly) that “this (your) post is a racist post…” Why? Reading your comments, whether I agree with your overall assessment or not, I sense nothing overtly racist. Perhaps you could point out to me (and others) just what it is that qualifies your remarks as racist. I’m deeply intrigued… And thank you in advance for your response!

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      • Thanks for the interest. It has been quite a long time since I interacted, politically, with people who are explicitly out of the far right sphere. I suppose part of saying the post is racist is a defense against the accusation that is often thrown, though I really do think the policies I advocate, really are racist, though in a mostly benign, and non violent kind of way.

        What I mean by Inegalitarian, it is what it says on the tin–, I believe in racial and sex differences, and that all these groups have divergent roles. I don’t really believe that women or blacks are “inferior,” but they function in different ways and have different strengths. This already sweeps aside a popular conception of equality that means almost “same in all but appearance.”

        To respond both to you, and to writeforthemasses at once, a lot of differences can be traced back to natural differences. Blacks on average have a lower IQ, for instance. Black people cause more violent crime than non blacks. And really, I don’t think a lot of blacks want to live under Anglo Saxon/White social norms. Now this is fine, but it implies a bit of discrimination which I think would make most people happier. Personally, (and I know this will never happen), if I had the power, I would trash most of the civil rights legislation and rulings as they relate to private property. I can probably agree that every race is entitled to equal access to hospital facilities and so on, but things would be better if people could make their own housing and business choices. The forced integration campaigns of the 1960s and 70s produced a lot of angst, a rise in crime, and burned out urban areas. This is to say nothing of the corporate culture of diversity, or affirmative action hires.

        If you want some sources for the IQ and crime claims, I would be happy to provide some on request. With anything relating to race and intelligence, HBD bibliography would be a good place to start. Even if you don’t agree with it, that is generally where most of the people in my crowd come from.

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      • To Alfred Miller:

        Thank you for such an entertaining response! I feel as if I’ve been taken back to the early part of the 20th century in which I’m hearing lectures upon ethnic-intelligence disparity, comparative brain sizes, and eugenics! Amazing, to say the least; I’d thought Friedrich Tiedemann, Franz Boaz, Ruth Fulton Benedict, Margaret Mead, Lester Frank Ward, et al. had effectively brought scientific racialism to an end. Alas, there now seems to be some who still hold onto the outdated view of evolutionary-produced racial hierarchy. Thankfully, our Civilization in toto has moved well beyond this to the more accurate view of the simple, continuing evolution of homo habilis to homo erectus to homo sapien with only concomitant anthropological differentiation due to time, differing locations, climatic and environmental facts, etc. Well … still, all-in-all quite entertaining. By and by, just to clarify in case of any misunderstanding, I am not out from the far right; quite the opposite, in fact, as should now be clear from my remarks. Cheers!

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    • It is a realistic post, everyone discriminates, even you, but if you can overcome your political correctness enough to be honest with yourself then you can face the issue and put it in the proper perspective instead of trying to suppress it and becoming a positive discriminationist, which is also a form of …

      Coincidently I write on many of the same subjects, but then seen through a completely different lens, so that I neither agree or disagree entirely with this author, because although we are discussing the same subject, we are trying to make two entirely different points using different arguments.

      So if you want to read a more provocative rhetoric you know where to find me.

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  2. Excellent, lucid analysis with very percipient suggestions! On the note about confronting discriminatory (and presumably closed-minded) individuals, I agree that challenging them via questioning is fine and quite appropriate ~ very much in the Socratic tradition ~ however, from experience I’d exercise caution. Always be kind, courteous and polite … and definitely know when to leave off! LOL Or even run…

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    • Thank you. I’ve always had a deep admiration for Socrates and Plato. The difficulty of Socratic dialogue is that the other person has to be reasonably open minded. It is too tempting to make the other person upset and then the whole conversation falls to pieces

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  3. Fabulous post. Socrates was onto it and in more recent times Oscar Hammerstein wrote some marvelous lyrics in South Pacific. When the young nurse asks her friend why they both feel so prejudiced towards the dark-skinned Polynesians he answers; “Prejudice doesn’t come naturally. You have to carefully taught.” Watch now how carefully we are being taught to hate and fear Muslims.

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    • Very true, indeed! Our culture is being saturated with sounds and images of radical Islamism while being told this is the face of Islam… History does have an unfortunate way of repeating itself.

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  4. OMG, I could end up writing on the comments and totally lose focus here. Ignorance is definitely the foundation of prejudice. I find that knowing blacks, Palestinians, eastern Europeans, have changed my views tremendously. We are all people wanting the same things, no matter how FOX News or social media spin the day’s events. For me, travel has been a great antidote to prejudice and I wish I could do more. I understand homosexuality from a personal point of view and understand very well that ignorance helps to fosters today’s hate.

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    • Rich: I agree that ignorance is the foundation for prejudice, hate and discrimination. Not sure how ignorant the Palestinians are about their troubled relationships with Israel or vice versa.. Not sure a deeply religious person that doesn’t believe homosexuality is something that he must accept makes him ignorant. The mere fact that Israelis & Palestinians don’t get along.. is not ignorance… and still prejudice, hate & discrimination flourishes on both sides. The same can be said for homosexuality people may feel prejudice, hate and discriminate against them…but I doubt that ignorance is the root cause for all…

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    • That is odd, I didn’t see that post from you yesterday but I hope you don’t have any suspicions about it. I can definitely see the underlying message in the two articles.

      I started thinking about the subject when reading through Orwell’s ‘Road to Wigan Pier’ and his ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ both of which are experiments to begin to understand and show the daily life of the impoverished. It got me thinking about how understanding the situation allows for empathy for what they go through. However, I did just read your post and liked it very much.

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      • Orvell is among my favorite authors, unfortunately i have not had time to read ‘Road to Wigan Pier’ but i have seen bits of down and out and thought it was good. My thinking was that abolitionists didn’t do very well when they argued against the immorality of the institution or the harm against slaves. but they did make gains whenever they could support the notion that it was a natural corruption to the slave owners themselves. So, if we arguing that isms such as racism or sexism are wrong because they hurt the people who support them, they may feel silly enough to change. At any rate i think all perspectives are necessary in this matter , because if one argument doesn’t work against a racist or sexist perhaps something may finally sink in.

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  5. discrimination is a prison of the mind. While people who have it think they are being strong, that they have some mystic wisdom that lets them see what others cannot, they are the ones who are deceived. So beware of divisive ideologies that want the subjugation or the destruction of a group of people, somebody is getting something from that kind of talk, and it isn’t going to be you.

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  6. I agree with you in principle, but I’m not sure you are right … or at least not entirely. I agree with the spirit of the post, so it seems silly to nitpick. I just think the roots of bigotry are a lot more complex than this. Culture, religion, fear, tradition, personal insecurity, economics, and more play a role in why people believe things for which nothing rational can account.

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  7. Along with ignorance we also have to consider the exploitation of tribalism. This is done in both the religious and political spheres with great success. ‘Othering’ has been an effective tool since the beginning of time.
    Just look at the example of supporters of football teams. A person is born in town X, automatically supports the team from that town and also automatically learns to dislike the the team and people from neighbouring town Y. In that case a nonsensical system of competition is created based uniquely on geography. It serves various purposes, but the greatest purpose is financial gain. The more intense the hatred between groups, the more money people within the group will be willing to give to the group leaders…

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  8. People fear what they do not know. So your encouragement to expose children and ourselves to the world as much as possible is an idea with which I most certainly agree. Treating everyone with respect, with the respect we want for ourselves, is how I try to live my life. Living in a world where everyone has the same beliefs, the same rituals, the same ideas would be counter to the purpose for life. We are here to learn and who better to learn from than someone whose background is much different than our own?

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  9. Interesting discussion. I think if you are going to encourage people to use the Socratic method, you should give full disclosure. In the dialogs, Socrates rarely changed the mind of someone he was debating and in the end he was sentenced to death for all his questioning. Not to say we don’t need open dialog, we just have to be aware of the danger.

    More to the point of your article: I have always assumed ignorance is the problem as well, but lately I have been wondering how much is consciously adopting policies and attitudes that maintain power. Can education stop nihilism and narcissism?

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  10. If you challenge a position of prejudice, and truly have an open mind yourself, then be prepared to change your own view in the face of superior evidence. I would counter to you that a great deal of prejudice is not as a result of ignorance, but as a result of learning. It is MUCH easier to live and let live with total strangers that you know nothing about. When you know nothing about another group, the natural tendency is to believe they are just like you. It is only with education and experience that you learn they are not like you. The more education and experience you have, the greater you understand how different they are and you can then make qualified judgements about their basic group characteristics.
    If you are counting on education to counter discrimination, then you are really saying you wish to use the education system to impose your own “approved solution” instead of the truth your opponent is saying.
    Most heterosexuals, having no experience with homosexuals, really and seriously don’t care about them one way or another. In the past ten years the activism of the homosexual community has driven their lifestyle out into the public sphere where the heterosexual community cannot ignore them. Ignorance was good for the homosexual community. The hatred they are seeing now is a direct result of their own attempts to dominate the public space and public discussion. When they will use the power of the government to extract huge fines because a baker won’t bake them a cake, they have crossed the limit from just being different and misunderstood to being on openly hostile force to the larger community. Counter-hostility is the natural reaction to that. Again, the result of learning, not of ignorance. The heterosexual community didn’t care that they were gay. They cared that they were being attacked by the LGBT activists.
    The same is true of race relations in this country. As activism from racial minorities increases its violence in American communities, the white majority learns that “they are a violent people”. The position of ignorance was the position that “we are all alike”.
    It is easy and cheap to claim people with opinions that oppose your own are “ignorant”. A real open mind will look for a deeper understanding than unsupported ad hominem. I advocate real tolerance. Not the tolerance that race and LGBT activists claim where they attempt to silence and marginalize their opponents. Real tolerance is where you tolerate people who disagree with you.

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    • It is much easier to live and let live with a total stranger? That must be why strangers threaten to murder a bad driver on the highway. If it was your sister or brother driving next to you and they slightly drifted out of their lane, would you shout out your window and threaten to murder them? Of course not. Yet this practice is unquestioned if it is a complete stranger. It is because you know nothing about them that it is easier to hate and threaten them.

      Under your logic the civil rights movement could be summed up as: “well I know a lot of black people, and some of them chew with their mouth open. Therefore they shouldn’t have the right to vote.” Because it is not out of complete ignorance that empathy was born. If I walk by 100 people in a mall, I feel absolutely nothing for them. It is when I stop and talk to a person on a bench, that I then come to understand that person and feel empathy. If I had simply sat ten feet away and said nothing to him then I wouldn’t care at all. In the case of civil rights, to many a black person wasn’t a person because they didn’t seem human. They were subhuman right until the moment a person talked to them and realized they were just like them.

      Now with your case of the homosexual movement. Humans are very opinionated creatures, we will make up our minds about a conflict even if we know literally nothing about the conflict itself. It is impossible for a person, with no political interest, to look at the lgbt movement with an objective eye and then make his decision. He goes into the argument with his mind already made up. As the conflict grew, so does his the loudness of his opinions. The reason many people didn’t care is because it wasn’t as big a deal, but as the conflict grew they were forced to care.

      We also fear what we do not know about. Take a thirteen year old kid. If you tell him there are men out there that like to have sex with each other, he’ll probably be disgusted and confused. Why wouldn’t he? He thinks it’s right to only like women because that’s the way he is. But at the same time if he befriends a gay kid his age he’ll realize it isn’t that bad after all.

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      • You are confusing good experiences for all experiences. And also confusing your own lack of empathy as normal. I don’t get angry at other strangers on the road so your example is meaningless to me. So now I understand why you think the way you do. The more bad experiences whites have with blacks the more they will generalize all blacks as having bad behavior. The opposite will be true if most of their experiences are positive. Same for your gay example. It is unlikely for the average 13 year old to know any gay men. If the one he does know molesters him (or lies to him or steals his bike or any other negative experience) that becomes the pattern he remembers.

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        • Well I don’t yell at strangers, but it’s something I witness almost daily when commuting. I’m almost not the empathy lacking sociopath you may take me to be. Of course if a boy is molested by a gay person they may feel hatred towards that group, but this is the most severe case. This is the outlier. But the more gay people that boy is exposed to he may realize they aren’t all bad, it is was just one horrible dissenter that caused such a great crime to him. Of course he may be unwilling after what he’s gone through but it is the truth. One bad crime does not account for an entire race. This can come down to if you believe all people are inherently good or not, but that is another discussion.

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          • My point is that the more observations someone has of a group, the closer their opinion of that group matches the truth. Taking the discussion away from gays and race I can tell you for a fact that most corvette owners are narcissistic assholes. I have observed them for decades and seen very few counter examples. Most Harley owners are selfish attention whores. They dont care how much noise they make and even pretend bothering other people is a virtue. Very few exceptions. Does that make me a bigot or a scientist? The smallest children are the most accepting of differences. Older people have more established opinions. That is a result of learning. Not ignorance. Hundreds of observations, weighed in the mind and searched for patterns. Its not the outliers that establish the pattern. It is the weight of multiple observations. Negative observations result in negative biases against the whole group. Positive observations create positive biases.

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  11. I have to agree more with “writeforthemasses” than with “No One”. I think humans are essentially hard-wired to distrust anything that is different. It is probably an instinct that has hung around since our hunter and gather days. Humans lived in small nomadic tribes, in competition with other tribes and at the prey of other species. As such, we have a base instinct to “stick with our own”. We find strength with the people we identify with and consequently we unconsciously presume the worst with those we appear to be different to us.

    The behaviour can be seen in the way we organise society and follow our pursuits. Nationalism, competitions, barracking for our favourite sports teams. These all demonstrate “us-and-them” mentality, where we find security with those that we perceive to be aligned with us.

    Discrimination and stereotyping is an extreme version of this. I am white and you are black. You must therefore be a threat to me. When we think this way, we are more likely to remember any bad behaviours of the different person than any good behaviours we might see. We build up barriers and excuses to demonstrate why they are “bad”.

    Of course, in this modern age all of this is subjective. Every person is different. Discrimination by its very definition is a misinformed decision. It is making a judgment based on someone belonging to a class of people, rather than based on any objective merits.

    Alfred Miller’s arguments are very dangerous. He appears to use facts to justify his discrimination, however, this goes against the definition of discrimination. Is Alfred then speaking truths rather than discriminating? In terms of his example regarding IQ, I think you will find that IQ scales and tests have largely been rejected as accurate measures of intelligence. They are weighted towards people with formal education of a certain cultural background. Lack of education does not mean a lack of intelligence. It is just a lack of a certain kind of skill. Alfred using that as an example is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible.

    Finally, we need to be careful we are not mixing up being discriminating with being discerning. If I eat an oyster and I hate it, then it have a basis for believing that I may not like other shell fish. It’s an educating guess based on previous experience. However if I believe that a gay man is bad because I am a straight man and he is different to me, then that is a judgment based on someone being different.

    As an evolved society, we should escape our instincts and be open-minded. This will lead to more equality and surely a more harmonious society.

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  12. Education is the rocky road to enlightenment. Obviously there will be challenges along the way and many people will balk at the gradient of the learning curve and the fear of losing the safety-net of traditional beliefs but for those brave enough to risk full transparency a new comfort zone awaits…a place where nothing surprises and all amazes.

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  13. Ignorance is bliss? I don’t know; maybe so … but education qua education breeding hatred and animosity? Well, that’s a new one on me, for sure! (And it does provide another good laugh, which I badly needed tonight.) However, education as education breeds neither hatred nor love; it is the passing along of information; knowledge with the concomitant ability (hopefully) to think ~ that is, training in sensible cognitive engagement, which used to be called logic. At any rate, only propagandistic “education,” such as the Hitler Youth received in Nazi Germany, breeds hatred. When, on the other hand, I teach my two children about, say, India and Hinduism I am broadening their horizons, knowledgeably introducing them to another, different culture and religion. In our ensuing conversation, which is inevitable, I’m able to ascertain whether or not they’ve learned, and THEN come the questions as surely as day follows night. Questions about whether “they” are good people or bad, how we should think and feel about Hinduism, what I (as daddy) think and feel about it all, etc. This is the point at which we switch from education, properly speaking, to moral/ethical inculcation (or training.) This is the point at which I am obliged to convey, at the very least, tolerance or, better still, acceptance. So … so much for being more inclined to hate those people or groups you really know: It’s not cerebral, after all… it’s a matter of the heart. Well … a matter of the heart with the brain fully and reasonably engaged. There ought to be, after all, something to be said for civilization being civil, and that requires the engagement of the whole person quite civilly, right? Cheers!

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  14. Reblogged this on The Personal Blog of Warren J. Walker and commented:
    writeforthemasses recently wrote a very interesting essay entitled The Roots of Discrimination, and he made some very strong points. This is my reply to his essay, and I highly recommend that you read it.

    It seems obvious that discrimination is a part of human nature. But only in the sense that we make one choice over another. Racism, on the other hand, is something that is learned, just like ethnicity is learned.

    Someone once told me that everyone is racist, whether they know it or not. However, this is a fallacy. Although people are born into original sin, it does not mean that they are inherently evil or bad people. It is through the discrimination of making choices that makes someone good or bad. In other words, it is because we have a choice that makes us inherently good. Definitely not perfect, but good.

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      • It is a 16th century social invention which has become institutionalized in modern times, causing no end of suffering. America is dealing with it today and, unfortunately, Canada will one day follow suit. We all reap what we sow.

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    • Sorry to say but your longwinded article seems to start at the end of the problem. You seem to have skipped over the roots which I can highlight with the following question:
      Why did the Greeks, Chinese and other founding civilizations label everyone who wasn’t one of them with the term “barbarian” which was not meant as a compliment?
      An minor comment on your extended 19th century treatise is that you seem to have skipped Charles Darwin, who even before he formulated his theory, made some quite interesting observations on the subject in his logbook while on the Beagle. The excuse that he must be read is not valid here, because we are discussing intrinsic discrimination.

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      • The Greeks, Chinese and other founding civilizations did not consider those barbarians as anything less than human. Even Rome accepted those barbarians into the Roman legions and as Citizens of Rome.

        Darwin, as you hint, was a racist who believed that some people were not as ‘good’ as other people and had bought into racialism as much of the rest of British society.

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        • I’m not talking about Rome – they were to the Greek tradition what the USA is to European tradition .. and they didn’t consider other races as barbarians, but also not as complete equals. The Chinese still consider us as barbarians, so consult scientific sources instead of politically correct ones.

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          • Two quick points:

            1- The focus on ‘political correctness’ over the past few years is a result of the election of a black/white man as President of the United States and I consider it a regional issue pertinent mostly within the USA alone.

            2. When discussing racism, it only applies to the 17th century and onwards. When discussing previous ages, it is related to tribalism, even with China and the East in general. These are related to cultural differences, not racialism.

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  15. Thx for the ‘like’ on my blog (End Drug War NZ) 🙂
    Discrimination comes in many forms.. including those who ‘smoke the herb’ & those who would see us locked up or worse ! 😦

    “Kia Kaha” (be strong) Bro’

    Zedd

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  16. Seems correct to me; ‘discrimination’ is a survival trait shared with most species. It isn’t free; we avoid much that is harmless. for failure to recognize that. If we agree the trait is necessary, then reducing the unknowns is the only useful action. It all fits.

    But we keep electing politicians who exploit the trait for their own gain … Perhaps we need to learn how to discriminate against THEM?

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  17. This was a well-thought out article, and I think it hits the nail on the head.
    One time I was talking with a girl who was quite prejudiced against muslims and immigrants. I pointed out to her that the population of England has remained largely the same for the past 30 years. I even pointed out that many western countries like England had done quite horrible things in the past (like running concentration camps). The girl didn’t want to hear a bad word about England, but when she probably looked up what I had told, then she started to dislike England as well.
    Personally, I prefer to take the view of optimism but also to be aware of the faults in people, to make a more reasonable judgement of situations.

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  18. I think a lot of confusion about race comes from attempts to differentiate it into different concepts. There are at a minimum three basic concepts of race.

    Racialist concept of race: The idea that there is a biological essence that defines the behaviors and actions of a certain racial group. This is the most common concept of race and results in ideas that are often confirmation bias of the observer and offensive or damaging to the observed. I.e. Irish are drunks, Black people are criminals, Asian people are bad drivers. Note: I don’t believe any of this… this is just the concept.

    Minimalist concept of race:This is the idea that we are at basic level where we are from. Japanese people are from Japan. Americans are from America. etc… There is no properties that are defined by your genes only from where you are from.

    Social concept of race: This is the more recently discussed idea about the levels and privilege acquired by existing in social hierarchy. In america the social hierarchy exists such that white races are at the top, then asian groups, then blacks and latino groups below. This concept creates a fluid dynamic for understanding the historical relationship between certain groups. For example, the Irish immigrants for a time were considered inferior to whatever true whites were so they lacked economic privilege and social privilege.

    I think if you can determine which type of concept the person you are discussing with is using it becomes easier to recognize the language. Consider also which concept you are using or you believe to be ideal.

    I liked your post and wanted to contribute. Take care.

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  19. Befitting commentary on discrimination. Sadly and yet its a reality in India as well and many other democratic nations too. We ought to read more and take a strong stand against religious and social/racial bigotry. Good to come across your thoughts. Keep voicing your opinions my friend. 🙂

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  20. It seems to me that discrimination has not necessarily gotten worse per se but more overt since the election of Barack Obama. I know of some people who feel like “too much” change has happened “too quickly.”

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  21. I like this post as it is very thoughtful and written in a simplistic and relatable manner. However, the discrimination you talk about is on the individual basis and not on the macro level and just based on my own ‘observations’ of my peers (I am Gen Y, one year shy of being a Millennial), very few people I know are racist and bigoted in in the manner of ‘all blacks are inferior’ or ‘all gays are immoral’, this type of black and white beliefs, it’s more nuanced, it’s more of ‘I don’t agree with or like the culture of black people, so I don’t really understand or like black people or really want to know them’ and the same analogy goes for gay people. Is this racism or bigotry or personal preference? Can we ‘dislike’ the culture of another race/group and be called a racist? Is thinking this way a racist thinking? In order to achieve a post racial utopia, must we banish all of our likes and dislikes when dealing with other races/groups? Can we just think it an not act on it?
    However, the major issue with racism today is institutionalized racism in law enforcement and just how the ‘system’ is set up for the convenience of White people and people who adopt white values. If you are black, brown or underprivileged, you are out of luck.

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  22. This is the first time in decades discrimination has been pulled back in the public’s attention, but has been going on in significant numbers for all this time. I have seen people refused work for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not they can perform the job, turned away for services, denied necessary information or services, beaten, attacked, intimidated, and more. Most of it was due to ethnicity. This was as late as the 90’s I personally saw or experienced these things. My skin gets very dark easily. I have been chased by a group of KKK members from public property (I was 1 of the 2 dark skinned kids in our small group of teens), I have been verbally and physically assaulted because they thought I was Mexican, I have been accused of stealing in Pennsylvania because they thought I was a Gypsy and sexually harassed, and that is just me, a white/Native mix person.

    It is far worse if you are full blood or half and don’t get the lighter skin tones. It is worse in some ways for black people because they are more populous than Native Americans. I slept under a bridge at one time where a group of skinheads beat a black homeless man to death because he was black. Police often treat minorities with less patience, believe us less (because we all lie?), and are less likely to follow up on crimes committed against us than White folks.

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  23. Reblogged this on agrofarm and commented:
    Your feelings have logic. To understand batter you see a child consciousness is like a empty vessel. Whatever will be filled in it will be expressed by it. For example if a child will not know what is rape he will not do it in his life. Same thing goes for all actions. Logically we are just living past not life itself. Actually human is genome robot. Word is not a thing but just a thought. Discrimination is just a philosophy of our teachings.

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  24. Prejudice comes from observation, not from indoctrination. The indoctrination is impersonal, and intangible, but with life and experience, you come to understand that, yeah, prejudices are very good rules of thumb.

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  25. Even well-meaning people can have implicit bias. Harvard University has a great test you can complete online as part of its Implicit Bias Study. It shows that negative statements people hear-whether it is by parents or even news programs-can cause an unconscious bias against others. It is hopeful that people will attempt to overcome those unintended biases.

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  26. What an interesting read this is, and the comments are all interesting too. I just wrote something on prejudice tonight, though not this deep. If there is something i noticed however, it is that, often times, we are so lost in the past that we seem not to be aware of the present or future (History is beautiful no doubt, but what have we learnt? more prejudice??) we fail to grab knowledge when it is right in front of us because we are busy trying to argue our points, wondering who is right and who is not right, we fail to see the beauty in humanity because we were prejudiced, still is, and will mostly continue to be, we are not learning to understand, but learning to reply or reply with a supposedly superior reply. I am guilty as well, but by practicing open-mindedness, and being aware of what it really means to discriminate, i do my best and correct myself when i err and i would recommend we all do the same. Here is a link to my last post if you would like to read. https://mariajob.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/guilty-of-prejudice/

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  27. I’m in agreement with you on most issues that you have outlined here,for instance if a nation of people doesn’t know about its roots they will never have appreciate where they came from,simply because of lack of knowledge. But I’m a bit skeptical on the issue of saying its part of life,I know you have your explanation but I don’t like accepting mediocracy and calling it acceptable standards”to me it just does not fit in the book called life.”these too me are societal standards because when we allowed acquiescence to cloud our judgment there is a lot of things that we accepts for standards.thats just my take on it but this article have lots of merits to it.. Plz keep up the good work..

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  28. This old thread just came to my attention. If I may add a late comment. It’s hard to deal with this topic well without addressing Gary Becker’s work on the economics of prejudice. Historically, discrimination was used to reduce competition for jobs and maintain wages. People didn’t necessarily talk about it in those terms, but that’s what it did. In keeping with that, large companies have been pro-immigrant, while small business and workers aligned with prejudice. Politicians invoke prejudice as a means of staying in office. Southern planters used slaves for economic gain and fear to keep poor whites in their place. Bigotry isn’t just emotional; it is (also) motivated by greed.

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