"There are notes between notes, you know." -- Sarah Vaughan

Friday, January 16, 2009

Prejudices?

From the Carolyn Hax chat on washingtonpost.com today:

I hope this makes sense. : I know we all have our prejudices, but how much prejudice rules someone out as a dating partner? Over our second date, the guy I've been seeing revealed (through casual conversation) his attitudes toward several different minority groups. They are attitudes I happen to share, but I have always been of the belief that you keep those things to yourself, at least until you're in the privacy of your home or family. Should I be put off by the fact that he was so vocal about his prejudices, or can I overlook them since we happen to "match" in that area? (By the way, I like him a lot otherwise.)

Carolyn Hax: I've read this about three times and I still don't know what to say.

If you're judging individuals based on your opinion of the demographic group(s) to which they belong, then I guess all I can say is that if you hit it off, please don't raise children to share your views.

Ridding society of prejudice isn't about having the social awareness not to utter prejudices in public. It's about recognizing the fundamental flaw in judging people based on incomplete, often wrong and, in most cases, superficial information. So, no, don't date this angry and ignorant person.

The longer you put off walking a mile in others' shoes, the more it's going to hurt.
WAIT! There's more!

Prejudice girl : I'm hesitant to answer this question, since my first one apparently reflected really badly on me. But anyway, the guy works in the court system and just moved into a gentrifying neighborhood. When we talked about his job, he shared a number of anecdotes about _________s blaming everyone but themselves for their perpetual trouble with the law. When we talked about his recent move, he told me about a family of __________s who left him a series of nasty, inarticulate notes asking him to quit driving up the property values in their neighborhoods.

Basically, he and I are conservative types who are of the mind that people should take responsbility for themselves, and we resent that some minority groups still want to make excuses and cast blame everywhere else. It was a deep conversation and he could tell from my responses that I was receptive to his viewpoint.

Carolyn Hax: Yah. White people never make excuses or bring down property values.

But no, it's not over yet! Still one more gem:

Prejudice girl again: Oh, and we are both opposed to the "gay rights" fight, which came up because I floated an innocent question about the upcoming inauguration. So I guess it's my fault he outed himself, if you want to call it that.

Carolyn Hax: If you know you look bad--and you do--will that turn your attention inward? Will it take your having a gay child, or one who marries out of your race or faith? Or will you stick to your pat groupings as the last word on a person's worth?

I do appreciate your answering our questions. While it's no picnic, reading through my mail and the outtakes of these discussions is one of the most useful things I do with my time--not just professionally, but personally. Nothing like having my world views and mind sets and guiding beliefs/assumptions put to hostile scrutiny to keep at least part of me skeptical of my own reasoning and choices. So, I hope there's something here that you find useful.

1 comment:

  1. Tiffany In Houston1/16/2009

    Dammit, I hate a closet bigot! She needs to grab her ovaries and be upfront with hers. And the black people she works with (cause you know she was talking about 'us') probably have no clue because she fakes it so well. That's why I'm glad I live in Texas because down here, I know my bigots on sight. LOL!!!

    ReplyDelete

Use your inside voice ... or I'll put you outside. -- SingLikeSassy