The Code of Silence

A guest blog artcle by Asha Gentry (world citizen, student)

Everyone denies it but it is a well-known and unspoken fact that prejudice exists. It is prevalent in the communities we hold dear, in the classrooms we “learn” in, and in the social gatherings we find laughter in. The prejudice we all face is in the looks we are given and those we give to people who are different races than us. I, myself, have given a boisterous group of white people the “eye” and not thought twice about the effects that my actions have on this issue.

To me, prejudice is the acceptable form of racism in our society. It is the one thing that people have no problem with expressing without being a so-called “racist.” In our culture, prejudice towards the next predominant racial group is acceptable within our own racial group. We are so okay with judging a group of people (white, black or other) that we don’t think about how divided it keeps us as people.

Prejudice comes from racism, which today is not at all blatant as it once was. What started as a power struggle is still one today. If everything were so equal, as so many people claim, there wouldn’t be the division that we all see.

Back when slavery was okay and no one but white men had rights, there was a deep hatred that began to seep into this culture. Every black man, woman, and child has struggled to fit into this culture that now has a silent fact hanging over its head. There is something about having sight and having different skin tones that sets people apart so much that reminds them of this ancestral pain. Although it is not just black people who were mistreated, the deepest of rivalries that live through little snide comments and dirty facial expressions is usually between the whites and blacks.

When I look around a school cafeteria, for instance, I can see the dividedness. All the black kids sit with one another, crowding around a single booth to hear the funniest stories. Or groups of white kids will pull tables together to create their own little island of fun and joy. There are a few exceptions of those who will scatter and at their expense they are considered traitors. People who don’t associate with their “kind” are ridiculed or given the “eye.”

Sociological theorist C. Wright Mills (1959) would say the structure of this unspoken-ruled society is predicated on silence. It survives based on the silence given to the true issue. The structure itself is silent and differs from other social orders because it is powerful enough to not have to be spoken about in the first place. Other social orders have to be spoken about in order for them to function properly. This little silent society functions best on its silence. He would contend that the history of this society lies in the memory of voicing injustices in the 1960s to the voices becoming quieter and quieter as little victories were won as the years waned on. The people who inhabit this silent society are black and white and they believe just as much as the next person how vital it is to keep this society alive, regardless if they admit it or not.

It has become an unspoken rule that either you are in or you are out. There is no in-between, no double allegiance.

Regardless of the space, place, or area, this prejudice that we are all so silent about is a killer of our society. I am willing to admit that I am more likely to sit alone in the cafeteria than to sit among my “white friends” because of the stigma of being a traitor. Even sitting with other minorities is better than sitting with white people in this small culture of my college. The issue is not the existence of prejudice itself. Hell, everyone has biases. The issue is it divides everyone to their respective groups and those who stray are not allowed to bounce from group to group. Even with small issues between different races, it is spoken among racial groups and a small but angry discussion is had about “messing with those kind.” Of course I can’t say for sure because I have not heard other racial groups talk about black people (in a negative manner) while in my presence, I’m pretty sure black people are NOT the only ones who run to other blacks to talk about the injustices and the dirty looks that they know for sure their own kind will be ready to rectify (if necessary).

Though many people refuse to admit it, there is a code of silence surrounding the issue. Particularly because no one wants to seem racist. And yet the one person who brings up the issue is automatically that.

Just the other day I was talking to a Hispanic classmate of mine and as I was walking away, I laughed aloud. A white woman was passing me and frowned in my direction. There it was! Back in the day she might have said something but that isn’t conducive to the moral standards of our secretly prejudice society. My response to her frown was to frown back.

THAT’S THE OTHER PART OF THE PROBLEM! Not only do people deny that the issue is real, they do nothing to rectify the situation.

Not any one of us say we are equal and all about equality if no one wants to talk about the problems with prejudice. We all ignore each other and stay among our own as long as no one gets hurt because that is easier than admitting we have a monumental problem. None of us want to be called racist or even seem the least bit concerned because in the end the silence is most comfortable to be in when it isn’t spoken about.

Bibliography

Mills, C. Wright. 2000 (1959). The Sociological Imagination: Fortieth Anniversary Edition.

Oxford University Press.

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40 thoughts on “The Code of Silence

  1. Having grown up in the deep south, I have seen, and felt more than my share of prejudice, racial and otherwise. I’m old enough to remember schools becoming integrated. There was so much fear. Generally, people tend to fear what they do not understand. I believe that prejudice is about more than racism; that fear is at the root of most prejudices.

    I agree that silence feeds the problem. Silence is a choice and as difficult as it may be, we have power over our choices. We can choose to speak – if only to say ‘hi’ in passing. Another issue for all of us is perceiving situations as though they are all personal attacks. Perhaps that white woman who gave you the nasty look didn’t notice the color of your skin, but found the tone of your laugh unfriendly or sarcastic or perhaps she thought you were laughing at her (for some reason).

    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. You’re story is very intriguing and makes me think about my time spent in Arizona. I went to school in Maricopa County, run by the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio (if you have never heard of him I recommend looking him up). He is spearheading the movement to make it legal for any police officer to go up to someone and request their immigration papers. In a state where there is a significan portion of mexican americans, you would wonder why they would be implementing such laws. Families were fleeing the county because of Arpaio’s raids on predominantly mexican neighborhoods. He has found a topic that people fear, and exploited it for his own gains by institutionalizing discrimination.

    2. Catherine, you bring up a very good point. Many people like to think that if they are scolded or given a dirty look of any sort, it automatically equals a person being “racist.” I wouldn’t question for a second whether or not I’d give a slightly dirty look to a person who was causing a ruckus. When reading about prejudice or anything that has to do with racism, it is all how the person being subjugated perceives said racism.

  2. I believe this article is a rare form of racism. In my high school blacks and whites did segregate themselves from one another, but most black and white people were good friends. There weren’t and dirty looks being given, no jealousy, and no hatred. I would usually sit with my fellow black friends before school in the morning in the cafeteria, and considering i was a white girl conversing with black men, the only dirty looks I would get were from the black girls. I do not understand why they were intimidated by me or disliked me just because I was friends with their friends as well. If every race was open to meeting and spending time with people of the opposite race there would be less competition to keep groups segregated like they have been for so long. I believe that having a diverse group of friends is very beneficial to a person because it gives a different aspect on groups and life in general.

    1. I agree, this article does come off with a little racism. It highlights what needs to be highlighted. I went to a primarily white high school, and I as well did see some form of segregation between the whites and the blacks. Most were good friends though and mixed and mingled occasionally. It was unspoken and never addressed, and that made it feel normal.

  3. I absolutely agree that there is indeed a “code of silence” surrounding racism and other prejudices. This meaning that racism still exists but in far more subtle ways compared to the past. It was not uncommon in the 1920s for blacks to be hung for no reason other than they were black, but this obviously happens far, far less today. Fast forward almost 100 years, and we see the social mixing of blacks and whites with much less animosity toward one another. However, there is still an internal dialect through which people express hate for those of a different race whether it be an angry comment or a hostile glare. Just because we’re not taking violent action toward each other doesn’t mean that we live in perfect harmony. But then again, there is no perfect harmony anywhere. Even from white person to white person. Being white myself, I have no problem with anyone’s color, just as long as they’re cool. I can hate a black person just as much as a white person if I dislike their personality. I think it’s asinine to have these little cultures that seem to have dominated this college cafeteria. Allowing this to go on is just feeding the problem at hand. I’m not saying it’s the responsibility of the cafeteria goers to stop this problem, but they should absolutely feel confident in taking a stand to this issue simply because of it ridiculousness.

    1. While I agree, it needs to be noted that the groups sit segregated not because they have direct animosity toward each other, but because these are their friends. Most people keep a close knit tie with those in their community, so when someone of another race becomes a friend it is usually hard for that person to break into the group, as they do not have the same long relationship. The people in charge hold no responsibility to force these kids together as it may create a whole new set of problems. It needs to be done at an earlier age so they can develop long lasting relations.

    2. I agree Scott, there is indeed a “code of silence” surrounding prejudices. If we as a society do not talk about them, then how do we overcome them?! This is a question that I ask myself everyday, and still do not have a perfect answer for. No one does, that’s why its still apart of today’s society.

  4. I think part of the issue with the dirty looks was that they felt like you were infringing on their space. They did not know how to react when they saw you talking to black guys because it was foreign to them. When something is different in a persons life, they may not know hw to react so often the first response is hostility or a questioning of why the person is there. The best way to combat this is to try and befriend the people who have issues with you. It is an unexpected gesture, but can make the person reconsider their feelings about you.

    1. I fully agree with you Henry. I feel that dirty looks comes with the feeling of change and invasion of space. When faced with a new foreign concept, most react negatively versus just taking on something new with a smile.:) I think it would be great if people as a whole fully embraced change and befriended people who have issues with them. That would be fun and exciting.

  5. There will always be prejudice of some kind or another in the human world we live, as long as we love something dearly we must in turn hate something. These opposites which are akin to yin and yang as I believe them to be must be brought to balance. The question is how? Well, to be honest, I don’t know but I do know sitting on our hands is not the way the forward either.

    Sure acknowledge the problem is fine and dandy, but doesn’t get rid of the root of the problem which is that people love something which makes them hate something in return. Abolishing this system of love and hate, won’t solve the problem either if anything it will cause humanity to loose it’s humanity in the process.

    Keeping silent about it will just create a silent disease, that will kill us from the inside out. This can be seen in the form of social stress, cultural divides or customs that forbades mixing of racial standards.

    So what can we do? Well, I think we need abolish the notion of races as a describing factor or classification of humans would be a good start, but I doubt that will happen. Maybe increasing the meritocratic values in our society will make us look past race, but that too I doubt. In the end, it’ll take a damn miracle as far I am concerned for society to change in the way it thinks.

  6. I can say that in my life time I have been exposed to different levels of prejudice and racism, but mostly from a onlooking perspective because I am a young white male. although i don’t feel the same pressure of racism that people of other cultures might experience I have experienced it and been around both sides of the coin. I feel that the older generations have racism and prejudice instilled in their nature from a young age and are more adamant about it. in my generation I have noticed that the racial prejudice comes more from a sense of culture shock. What i mean by that is that younger people who are being prejudice are being mean or spiteful because they don’t like that person or the way they do things not just based on their skin color. I feel that a majority of people are not brought up now a days to be racists or prejudice they just choose to act in a prejudice way if they are trying to be mean or spiteful toward another because it has such a profound effect. Now there are traits that carry over from our ancestors and I don’t deny that there is flat-out prejudice in our world. I feel that prejudice has evolved to become more of a verbal tool for all cultures to be mean to each other, rather then them expressing that they actually believe that there race can do more because their skin is different. In my limited experience with prejudice I was only subjugated to racial slurs designed to hurt my feeling in the way that someone would call me fat or ugly, and this is the way that I feel prejudice has evolved, to serve the needs of a mean person rather than someone who really feels there race is better than another. In our society we have an ever growing connectedness and we have failed to eliminate prejudice we have just allowed it to evolve into something new which hasn’t really solved the problem. It may have evolved into something that isn’t as impact full as to cause large social movements like those of the past but it still creates psychological trauma to every person subjugated to it.

    1. I am going to have to agree with Neal, the connotation of prejudice and racism is slightly changing. Nowadays people are prejudice and racists not because they truly feel that way, but because they know that saying certain racial slurs will really hurt; bringing up the wretched past of the United States is sure to push some buttons. Prejudice has also gone past black and white, and shifted towards appearances, ways of life, and such. There isn’t as much hostility about the black and white issues that were a part of our nation’s past, but I feel that is mainly due to the underlying code of silence.

  7. I believe your story is an interesting perspective and you gave us some good details to support your claim. I feel as though its just one of those situations that the problem is a result of both sides and both sides really have not done anything. Also, certain people sit with other people, because they are similar and have certain personality traits. From my own observations part of the reason you don’t see people mixing it up at table is because people neither person has the guts to go up to the other person, but when they do a conversation is usually formed. For example I am white and a black student came up to me one time in the lunch room and asked me a simple question. Next thing you know we got on to the topic of football and had a whole conversation throughout the lunch line. Both of us had never even met before. All it took was one simple hello. Instead of blaming racism people just need to give a conversation a try and if the other person is rude and refuses to talk then you can start drawing some conclusions.

    1. I totally agree with you studentmax. When I was in high school there were times when I would sit with people from the same ethnic background as myself. The reason was not that I was trying to be discriminatory at all, it simply came down to a matter of understanding and relation that I had with people that were the same skin tone. Black people, like any other subculture, have different ways in which we can relate to each other whether it be through jokes,shared experiences, or languages. I feel as if my reasoning is the reasoning we see throughout various subcultures and shouldn’t consider it racism.

  8. Now that I really think about how black and whites and even other races divide each other. I notice this every where. I noticed this happening in neighborhoods too. When i was younger our white family lived in a Latino neighborhood. Everywhere we went we would be looked at like we were aliens or something. Especially in my elementary school. I only had a few friends. Those few friends where the only white kids that went to my school. I was just thought that If I stick with my “kind” I’ll will be better off and not get into any trouble. Now going to college I have learned that every person is the same, some just have different skin color, but its hard making those friends when their friends look at you like what are you doing?

    1. I agree with you 100% Arie, prejudices and discrimination is everywhere all among us in some way of shape. The problem is when it is not talked about and handled-ending it or banning it. A lot of harm can come from simply words and actions, luckily so can a lot of good.I have learned from many experiences in my life that embracing people, regardless of everything else, is truly life changing.

  9. This is a fantastic article and one that is very relevant no matter where you are. I am a white male, and in my high school the majority was white. There were hispanics, asians, blacks, and others, but no one really knew a lot of them. We tended to stick together as a race and not venture out and make friends of different races all that often. I believe that it was a case of ignorance on both ends. Though the different races were not enemies, they weren’t really friends either. In college, I have found that this same thing is happening. I attend the University of Illinois and it is heavily populated with Asians. Most do not speak English, or barely any, so I usually do not even try speaking to them. This prejudice is sprouted from ignorance, I guess I feel like it is not worth it to get to know them any better.

    1. You bring up a good point nern, but the solution to this problem shouldn’t be to continue on like nothing is happening. I do agree with you in that people of both races are ignorant, we feel as if we are completely different than someone just because of our skin color. I think that if you start the trend to end the trend of silenced prejudice, the perspectives of a lot of different subcultures will surely change for the better.

      As for the same thing happening in college, I have not really seen that so much, I guess it all depends where you attend school, because there are a lot of culturally diverse schools where everyone hangs out with whomever.

  10. I enjoyed reading this article because I think it explains exactly what goes on today still. I am of a mixed race and I grew up in a town that was predominatlely white. All the families (although there weren’t many) that were of a different race stuck out like a sore thumb. All of my boyfriends that I have had have been white. Even though they did not care that I was of a mixed race, its always nerve racking to meet there families because I don’t know what type of reaction they are going to have towards me. On the other hand, my immidiate family would never judge anyone that I bring home to meet them; I am not so sure I can say the same for my extended family. It shows that prejudice goes both ways.

  11. What’s been said in this article is true. The Prejudice does exist in our society nowadays. For instance, there are many stereotypes such as all Asians have squinty eyes, all black people are good at sports, all Asians are good at math, et al. All these stereotypes are a form of prejudice no matter if it is good or bad. Also, people do hold different views for different groups of people. For instance, even when no open hostilities shown, many Americans do judge the Middle Easterners more after 9/11. Most of judgments are not shown from the daily talk, but instead they are presented with the facial expressions. When someone Muslims go into a store or a market, you can always find people getting alerted when seeing them. Nonetheless, I don’t agree with the statement “prejudice is the acceptable form of racism in our society” from the article. Prejudice, as acknowledged in the article, derives from racism; it is a legacy, and a part of, racism. Conversely, racism can be caused by the prejudice as well. If the racism is not allowed now, how could prejudice still be acceptable in our society? Maybe prejudice is acceptable for one group, but what about the group that is been prejudiced against? Of course, it never is acceptable for them.

  12. Being a minority myself, I definitely see the correspondence to our silenced-prejudice society. Even though I know there are people who look at me differently and sometimes even inferior due to the color of my skin, they do not actually speak it out. It is surely a very sensitive topic to speak up to anyone. I think that our society’s structure had made it worse. We are all taught from a young age that it is not good to be prejudice or racist towards other people. We are all supposed to be made equal. However, that statement does not truly apply in the world where we live. It is human nature that made it hard for us to accept each other as how we are. For example, in America, we all are supposed to have the right to speech and freedom, but often there will be something in your way. As a Chinese international student, if I was trying to find a job, they are very unlikely to pick over someone who is an American born white person. The standards are already set in the minds of the people. Thus for us to actually do something about it, it should start with us actually paying attention to our own actions and speeches first.

    1. I am also a minority myself Emily. I can definitely see unspoken prejudices and discrimination in my daily life as well. When entering into certain areas of my town(white mostly areas) I do get weird looks, and negative actions unspoken my way. I think that this is a major issue in today’s society, yet it’s never really spoken about. It’s really sad and I do believe that society’s structure has influenced discrimination negatively. It’s so easy to discriminate now, especially with all of the new technology advances, prejudice is just one click away.

  13. I have to agree with this article in that prejudice has become a sort of silent racism. Even though we are all supposed to be treated equally, you can point out countless things in our society that contradicts that. I think that this prejudice also stems into the stereotypes that we have about one another. People have a prior idea about people before they even know them and still judge them based on that idea, and the first thing everyone sees is the color of someone’s skin. I have also seen the divide that you described in the school cafeteria, but I have seen this divide everywhere really. I’ve seen it in junior high, high school, college (where you would think people would have a better understanding and acceptance of one another), the mall, sporting events, etc. I think a lot of this though has to do with the fact that people just seem to feel comfortable with others who look similar and have similar life situations, which is more common amongst the same racial groups. For me personally, I’ve always sat with a diverse group at lunch in the cafeterias at school all throughout my educational years; I guess according to you, I would be one of the “traitors”, even though this is clearly not the case at all. I don’t really think that there would be a way to eliminate this kind of accepted prejudice because as I mentioned earlier, it goes hand in hand with stereotypes.

  14. I totally agree with the statement within this blog, of how if everything is so equal like everyone says it is, but yet we continue to see the constant division in our everyday activities. The given right of being treated equal within a society has in fact came along way throughout the history of the United States. The blatant division of blacks and whites within a society and within societal institutions like schools. Still within the education system today, discrimination is still witnessed as many of the lower class areas, (predominantly minority), do not receive the correct amount of funding that lets a white suburban area might receive.
    I have also witnessed countless times prejudice and discrimination of the customers within my workplace by the “side comments” that management and fellow employee’s remark. The remark’s consist of average stereotypes of the different race groups, but have even grown to racial slurs as well.
    A recent case within the justice system would show that discrimination is still present within our society is the Zimmerman vs. Martin case. In NO way shape or form was this a hate crime, but as soon as the faces of both men came out one being a white adult male (Zimmerman) and the other an African American boy (Treyvon Martin), media and community members immediately assumed that Zimmerman shot the boy because he was black. The community did not take in the facts of the case in which Martin jumped on Zimmerman and continued to physically beat him, in which provoked Zimmerman to act in self-defense, but instead insisted that this was a clear cut hate-crime…We have as a nation truly have come so far in this category, but have a long way to go until the true definition of equality is shown within our society and through its members.

  15. This article is a good example of how racism still exists and how now a days people try to brush prejudice under the rug as if everyone is now equal when unfortunately that’s not the case. The interesting thing to me is that 60 years ago when segregation was alive and well many people were strongly against it and wanted all races to be able to live amongst each other as equals. But now what I’ve come to notice is that even though schools are now integrated and have been for a while, you still have kids segregating themselves from other races. Like the article said, during lunch black people tend to sit with black people, white people sit with white people etc. When it comes to my group of friends we happen to be very diverse but when I look around is when I notice the division. The solution to silent racism is not to remain silent about it, but is to speak up. An understanding is never going to be reached if people keep their feelings and opinions to themselves. Which is why people need to step out of their comfort zone and talk to people who may not look like them, you never know what could come of it.

    1. I agree that people should be stepping out of their comfort zones and talking to people who physically look different. I also have a very diverse group of friends but grew up around a lot of cliques that in most cases were separated by race. In my high school there were even two hallways labelled by different races, the “black hallway” and the “hispanic hallway” which was often referred to as the “mexican hallway”. Even though our society has come a long way, there is still a lot of progress to be made before the division of races ends.

  16. At my high school, it was very cliquey. Hispanics sat with hispanics, blacks sat with blacks, asians, whites, etc. Of course there were mixed groups but for the most part each ethnicity stuck with each other. Prejudice is clearly still around and people are “silent” about it because they don’t want to admit that it’s still around. Unless the issue is actually brought forth and attempted to be changed, then this issue is going to remain in existence.

  17. In my adulthood working in corporate america, I have always been that token black woman. I learned early that I have to fight long and hard to be 300% better than any of my co-workers just so I can bury the stigmas that white people have about black people. I can be just as ghetto as the next black person when I’m around black people however I know how to play the white role as well. I have personally experiences silent prejudice’s and open prejudice and it is not a good feeling. I don’t like it at all and I wish it could just go away at the snap of a finger. Things have certainly gotten better since slavery times, jim crow era and civil right era however there is still a long way to go. It saddens me that my children with go through some form of prejudice and it is my job to teach them how to get through it.

    1. I as well work in corporate America. It’s a struggle to hold the weight of all african americans on one’s shoulders. There is a stereotype that an individual has to fight against, and then there is the element in proving one’s education. All these things need to be done to fight for an opportunity, when others are handed opportunities with little to no effort.

  18. The issue is such an issue that has caused so much hurt in the past that it might be best to remain silent. As long as there are humans with hateful intentions, there will always be seperation. We can not stop anyone from feeling more superior than another. As long as there is an entitlement mantality the issue remains. Society is in a position of going along to get along. A remedy is not in the near future.

  19. I agree with the author fully on the topic that unspoken prejudice do really exist. This issue is such a major issue in today’s time, yet it continues to not get the attention it so desperately needs. I feel that not everyone is going to feel the same about everything, yet that should not divide us as human beings. As long as one person views “human rights” differently from someone else, there will be some form of prejudice unfortunately. If this issue was talked about more and put to a stop, I feel that as a whole we could stop this unspoken prejudice. Unfortunately nowadays no one wants to speak about this topic as much, and that in itself is fueling this prejudice fire brewing in today’s time. It’s really sad.

  20. Growing up, I went to a school that was split nearly fifty-fifty between white and minorities based on who attended. Because of this, whenever we were taught about racisim or the like, we would never fully understand what it meant. And we assumed that it was all over, that that type of thinking no longer existed. My best friend was black growing up. And most of my neighbors were black. We didn’t take skin into consideration. That changed when I moved from Rockford,Il to Downers Grove. My neighborhood now is completely white. And my first day of school, I was not in a class with any black students until lunch. Prejudice still exists today, but I feel it’s more based on the geographical area and based on people (mainly white) moving to areas where black families can’t follow because they may not have the money. Or, they choose not to move to an area where their kids will be treated differently because of their skin.

  21. I don’t think discrimination will ever end because it’s so human nature. Humans are very biased like you said, but not all of them. I don’t agree with the part when you said that people who are from the same race hang out together and avoid other groups. When I walk around, I actually see people in groups hanging out together from different cultures. I myself have friends from at least ten different cultures and it’s amazing. I think what is felt inside can be applied to people’s actions and so being friends with people from different cultures can block the biases people have toward each other. I try my best not to judge people unless I get to know them. I do not care where people come from because every person is a unique one and judging them because they are from a certain culture throws everything else out.

  22. I agree with what you are saying, prejudice is another word for racism. And its more acceptable since it’s silence. Sometimes even silence is louder than words. I mean to say that you don’t have to say anything to be racist. Actions and just the looks are already known they have biased views. And honestly you can’t change that. No matter what happens you can’t change the way people think. They’re still going to think the same about you unless they witness or experience it themselves. They have to learn themselves.

    1. It is possible for people to harbor prejudice against specific groups without race ever being a factor. A prime example is misogynists, whose judgements are not based on skin color in the least.
      Therefore, all racism is prejudice but not all prejudice is racism.
      I myself am prejudiced against any people who dress like ‘thugs’ or ‘hoodrats’ whether they be white, black, Latino, Asian, or Native American. Gangbangers are notoriously dangerous outlaws, with questionable ethics and no respect for people including themselves. Those who glamorize or aspire to that lifestyle are no better, as they promote the same ideals which are fundamentally detrimental to society.

  23. Prejudice is a form a racism in our society that some have come to accept. Though terrible this is it may be a form of letting off steam for some scapegoating their problems in a direction that is easiest to them. It is better than what many group up dealing with, straight racism. We have come a long way since the civil war and in terms of human Psychology that almost the blink of an eye. We cannot expect these problems to change overnight. But we should come together to ease these tensions as much as we can to help build the development of future human psychology.

  24. I can absolutely relate to this article and how relevant is still is and will forever be. Growing up attending both elementary and middle school with students who were predominately like me, black to a high school with more than half population white was a huge adjustment for me. I went from a place with similar faces and people who had a similar accent and “slang” to people who had no idea what I mean’t when I said certain words or phrases. Although I had never been one of those people who wouldn’t sit with people outside of my race at my old school, once I started high school I felt as though I had to change that along with the way I talked in order to be able to fit in. During lunch almost every table was divided by race and no one, myself included said anything about it, adding to the problem as mentioned in the article. With the recent events tragic events regarding race and that have taken place I definitely feel guarded which makes me sad. What also makes me sad is at the same time tragic events like the shootings in Miami should be unifying ALL of us. And it hasn’t.

  25. I’d like to submit an alternate definition of ‘prejudice’ that doesn’t involve racism as the root. As it stands, people categorize to increase their understanding of their surrounding world but also to keep mental references for future instances where a threat or danger needs to be assessed. The categorization process is not a learned behavior but rather an innate trait that we cannot shed. So, based on past experiences with people who have done us wrong, we each put together a personal database of categories that we load upon recognizing a person with the same or similar qualities to those who have done us wrong in the past. That is what I consider prejudice to be, and it is not based on stereotypes, has no basis in racism, and is not formed with malicious intent.
    I give everyone I meet a fair chance, but the second they bring up a red flag from my database, I then compare their subsequent actions to other items on the checklist. For example, a malicious action such as lying causes me to begin my analysis. To me, prejudice is a tool used to assure my safety and the safety of my loved ones. Prejudice is necessary for comfort of life and survival, and society will never be rid of it.

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