To address the original Question.. ďWhat causes you to believe the things that you do/have the general opinions on a group or groups of people that you do?Ē
Like many/most.. Iíd like to think that Iím civilized and educated enough to have the self opinion that I am not racist. However, I do know, that on occasion I easily fall into some of the classic pitfall conversations at work or with friends and nod at some of the ignorant things I hear.
A lot of it Iíll have to assume comes from near constant exposure as a child. Mom and dad were both pretty hardcore racists. Going back into my fathers bloodline, Iíve often made jokes of how his family line held stock in the White Sheet and pillow Case biz in the deep south of the states during the dark years while chatting on IRC.
Itís true though. Family has some old branches in it with some dark days tied to it.
Sorry to go off on a tangent. Anyways, my own direct exposure. Well, as a child, I too had the ďtypicalĒ exposure a White kid gets when exposed to a multicultural environment for the first time.
- At the local YMCA, watching blacks get in line for free food and shoes. A lot of people that day.
- Watching people with skin far darker than mine not doing the water sports program during gym class.
- Driving to certain areas of town with the family and having mom or dad use that n word and pointing to drug deals on every corner.
- Touring the local government building and seeing immigrants lined up at the welfare offices holding their children usually.
- Getting into elevators with east Asians and thinking how different they smell, and not always in a pleasing way.
I made plenty more observations as a kid. How has it changed?
.. 20-25 years later. It hasnít changed much. Iím more aware of the social/econo/political issues that put some people into certain situations. Iím aware of reasons why people smell different. Iím more aware of why some people are driven to commit certain crimes, and why there seems to be more people from certain background in those welfare lines now.
Recent observations.. I can still go into many of those same neighborhoods here in Toronto, North York, Weston etc and see Black people on any corner doing drug deals. I can do the same In Scarborough 20 minutes away. Same in Parkdale 10 minutes south of me. This is despite police efforts to drive the street level crime out of those areas.
The classic area.. not terribly far from me now.. Jane and Finch. A lot of nice people live there. However, itís considered a project area. Far too many buildings (low income housing) all mashed into the area. Result.. people are practically crawling all over each other. This canít be a good thing. People packed together like roaches. I imagine, eventually, they begin to act like roaches.
Some of this is the fault of the city planners. Some the fault of the immigration system taking in too many people too fast. Some fault though, lies with the citizens. The families. Sometimes, the lack thereof.
That area, has a disproportionate amount of single mothers. Underage single mothers usually. People can belly ache all they like how a single parent can raise a good well adjusted child. Problem is.. many of these situations have a NOT well adjusted child, usually from a broken home themselves, trying to raise a child themselves, before they even finish high school in many cases.
Iím not sure if itís a systemic problem in the one group, or if itís a broader problem. Young Blacks in that area, having sex with usually young black girls and getting them pregnant. Donít get me wrong, the other cultures in that area clearly are having pre-marital sex, and doing it before they leave high school. Itís just that, you donít see them much.
What is it about these young inner city black youth that drives them to have so much sex, and litter the city with their conquests: single women and their unwanted offspring. So many of these guys are so filled with hatred of women too. Is it because many are raised in single parent environments, where the men had proclaimed the women were sluts and whores and left them? I donít know. Donít really care to be honest.
Thatís something else.. Toronto recently had an awful rise in High School Drop outs. Whatís worse.. yes.. many (I wonít say majority as I donít recall the figures personally..) fell into the same cultural background. Blacks.
Itís not hard for some people to make huge leaps.. and brand a race as lazy, or stupid, or smelly, or whatever. Sometimes, itís all we see.
Some of that, sometimes, will get carried into our adult lives. Here is where the really sad part comes in. When the same white people, donít understand, and donít learn why some things they see arenít the whole picture. Why there are reasons things happen.
Some racist people are simply happy in the knowledge (ignorant as it may seem) that ďblacks are lazy and donít work, cheat on their women, and sell drugsĒ.
If I were to believe all that I see, hear, and read in the city of Toronto, this would be a good SummaryÖ
Blacks, From the ages of 12-30 are unemployable, uneducated, and are more or less predetermined to commit violent crimes, usually with a gun and will fost 7 children out of wedlock before they die (usually a death that is crime/drug based) Thatís pretty nasty, but given what the press and mass media pumps us with every day, thatís the conclusion.
Clearly, that isnít the case. Not all can fall into that mold. However, thatís the sexy stereotype the media love to project. Why, for their own reasons. Money, and ignorance, and/or a combo of both I suppose.
If someone asks me anymore if Iím racist.. I donít even know what to tell them anymore. It used to be a lot easier for me to proclaim Iím not a racist. It used ot be easier to say my friends arenít racist.
Iím college educated. I have a decent group of friends, covering much of the diversity of this cityís many cultures. I consider a Japanese, a Chinese, and a Jamaican as my 3 closest friends. Iím sure though, without realizing it Iíve made comments that shed some cultures in a less than flattering light. Hopefully, I didnít do so intentionally.
Someone asked me a question once, would I have sex with a black woman. Now? No. Iím married. But, I have had sex with Asian, east Asian, and black women in the past. The follow-up to that question was ďcan you be a racist after having sex with someone from the culture you have a bias against?Ē I suppose you could. Someone far smarter than me is going to have to discuss and debate that though.
Personally.. Iím of the mindset that somewhere deep down, even the most open minded person is racist. Iím not even sure itís worth debating if people are racist. What is more interesting, and more fascinating, is to what extremes, and why.
I do however hold dear the idea that people can have an open mind, and can work towards over-coming some of the near constant stereotypes we are bombarded with in the press, media and news.
Prejudice Ė Pre Judge. Nasty word. I donít think we can ever overcome the ability to prejudge. Genetically, we have been somewhat predetermined to judge certain situations and make reflex reactions. Fight or Flight.. etc. Itís in our nature to prejudge. Itís why we are still here after all of this time. Our ability to size up a situation and make a quick decision. Shame ití isnít always the right one though.
Iím no hippy. I donít think the world can ever truly be made happy and whole. We as the human race, have far to much against us.. and far too much pent up anger to forget things that should be forgotten. One of the things that makes us human I suppose is our ability to take any incident, and turn it into a reason to hate someone, their race, and/or their country for an eternity.
All I can do personally, is try not to do to my daughter what my parents did to me. I try not to use words I donít want her repeating. Iíve already taken great efforts to expose her to children of other backgrounds, both cultural and social. I can give her the benefit of what I have learned. My parents did their best to make me think like them. My plan, is to give my daughter the tools, respect, and education to make intelligent and informed decisions on her own and allow her to form and shape her own personality and belief system.
Edited by HSDEMONZ, 04 January 2006 - 07:30 PM.