Wednesday, September 20, 2017

RACISM

      From time to time I do a post on some kind of prejudice. From an early age I could not understand why any group should be exclusive. I liked to see all people come together. Now as a kid I didn't understand where I was heading , what this meant or why there were prejudices at all. 

     I probably would never have come to terms with things if I hadn't had the opportunity to teach in aboriginal schools.

    Now since there have been some very ugly incidents recently it's time to comment. Incidents that were highly publicized occurred in the U.S. Incidents of racism happen in many other places but don't get the PR. My home province is well known for incidents of racism. So racism is found in many corners.

    So racism originates from ignorance of other groups. Untruths are spread about racial groups and to really shake things up people have to get in shouting , shoving matches and more. Hatred of others is stoked to a high degree. No acceptance of any differences here. The white guys have it all!!!

   My teaching experience found me in the minority for five years. I was dependent on aboriginals and had to trust them in many situations. I was participating in activities in which I had little experience. I was watched and supported. I could be a few bones scattered on the tundra if I hadn't been cared for. When I was out with my students on the land they would sometimes say, "You shouldn't go there."

   The first time I was referred to as the white man cut through me like a knife. However, it was not used in a derogatory way. After that I got used to it. Whenever I knocked on a door I would hear them say inside "kabloona" which means white man. How did they know it was a white man knocking on the door? The aboriginals didn't knock at doors.

    I found out that I had to accept some differences.

    So I hear people criticizing aboriginals. They seem to find many complaints. Yes , there are some obvious behaviours that are disgusting. But, people are not aware of all the other people who live productive and honorable lives. A few rotten apples spoil it for many. For example, many people other than aboriginals conduct themselves improperly but we don't stop and hate the whole group.

    So now that I'm elderly , I still can't understand why some people will hate others with such vehemence that they are willing to fight and do harm to others.

    All my life I've been hoping that we could accept the simple idea of inclusiveness and live in harmony. 

    Will we ever find that knowledge that we can accept?

    

30 comments:

  1. AH, Red, I fear not. It seems to be inherent in human beings that they distrust and fear "the other". I never have understood it either.

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    1. Distrust and fear are a good choice of words.

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  2. I'm with you Red. I never understood racism and I never will. Life is so much better when all people of all races are just treated as people.

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    1. I know you walk the talk more than most.

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  3. My answer to your last question is "No" Red. Enmity and prejudice appear to be part of the very DNA of the human race. It's always bubbling just under the surface. Living with Canadian aboriginals as you did must have taught you many lessons about tolerance and admiration as well as obliging you to look deep inside yourself to discover the real you.

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    1. It took a long time for me to learn a few lessons. Things still come up and more understanding takes place.

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  4. I too wonder if human nature will ever change. It seems we have to demonize some people in other ethnic groups in order to make ourselves feel superior. At least that's the way it seems. I don't think we will change, unfortunately.

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    1. You've got it right about demonizing a group and then you get more power.

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  5. I feel the same way. I don't understand any of this. I never have. Any type of bigotry is based on ignorance. And even fear. I know people who have a derogatory opinion of an entire group of people without good reason. They might run across one bad apple in that group and then just conclude that all the people in that group are bad. It's totally illogical. And small minded. Not long after we moved here, I discovered that there are racists and bigots living on my street. They have made some derogatory remarks about our 'non white' neighbours. It is very disturbing.

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    1. It's always a big surprise when people you know well make some derogatory comments.

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  6. Well said. I share your perplexity at why racism persists. The problem is usually with people whose experience of the world is very narrow -- who only know others of their own "type" or in their own tiny communities. Their knowledge is reduced to stereotypes about what they've heard or read about other racial or ethnic groups, and isn't based on knowing individuals. If they knew individuals, they'd see that the stereotypes don't hold water.

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    1. Yes, they have to know individuals and then they have to move further to look at culture.

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  7. I had to unfollow two bloggers recently for racism. The sad thing is one of them claimed on that very post "do you think I'm racist now?"

    uh...yeah

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    1. I unfollowed one follower for continuous prejudiced comments.

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  8. My parents raised us to take people one at a time- to judge by the actions and character of the individual, not by the group they belong to- and by extension, not to condemn the group based on the actions of the few or the one. Racism and bigotry are about the only things that can still shock me.

    My sisters ended up with guys who came from a different perspective at one point or another, bigots and dirtbags. It rubbed off on both of them, and I've heard them say awful things about other groups of people. One of the many reasons I no longer speak to either of them.

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    1. You had very broad minded parents. Sometimes people don't get the lesson.

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  9. I have seen it a lot also, and a few times have been a minority myself. I listen and try to observe ways to delete these thoughts carried over generations.

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    1. Unfortunately some of the racism has a long history and both sides show hatred.

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  10. This is a terrible issue. There are many old farts around here, who are blatant red necks, with no information, and a small view of the world based on our tiny, little Lanark COunty. I think you learned a lot teacing up north. I am proud to know you.
    My schools have always been multi-cultural, which also opened up my eyes. Kids who fled the Gulf War, Vietnamese 'boat people' and kids like this. I learned a lot not traveling.

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    1. I thought Alberta had all the rednecks! With all the temporary foreign workers we've had, who have now become permanent, we see much more diversity here.

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  11. Well written. The degree and kinds of discrimination are so varied and we all have to realize there are not many differences. My best friend, adopted from Philippines, finally had to leave our town and our state to get a good job. Our state prides itself and votes minorities into office but only certain minorities. My friend now has a job in New Mexico where he can make enough money to support his family and be treated with respect.

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    1. Yes, there are many different kinds of discrimination.

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  12. How can you not understand it? As you've said, it's part ignorance of other people and part what DJan says, that many people demonize other ethnic groups in order to make themselves feel superior. The hard part is: how do we get around that?

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    1. Part of it is ingrained from generations of prejudice.

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  13. Thinking you are better than someone else just because of color, race or whatever is a very sad commentary of what kind of person you are. Unfortunately, the world has these kind of people in it. I do wish it would change but I don't hold to much hope in to that thought.

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    1. I guess we have to speak a little louder and more often to get some attention.

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  14. I fear a time of total acceptance of all people is a long way off, if at all possible. Humans are a suspicious, violent species and we seem unable to live without fear or conflict. But never give up the dream.

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    1. We can be optimistic but I don't think we'll ever get there.

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  15. Excellent post, Red. Getting to really know people is the quickest way to get rid of those preconceived ideas, but in a lot of cases the people who should be mixing in and learning stay away and learn nothing. I think your last reply above ("we can be optimistic but I don't think we'll ever get there") is about the closest to my evaluation of things, too.

    But maybe, someday, there will have been enough mixing of races and religions that everyone will be part this and part that, and maybe then there will be peace and acceptance. That's a long way off, though.

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  16. I think most of the world is a mess right now. Watching the local news doesn't help..it is either Blacks, Native Americans, Somalis or Hispanics that are robbing, raping or being sought by police. It is a scary world out there

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