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Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70049] Fri, 31 July 2015 14:17 Go to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Registered: March 2012
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As far as I can tell, it is generally agreed that prejudice is mostly learned, and most of that learning takes place in early childhood. Other things learned in early childhood are language and sources of disgust. For some reason, there seems to be an assumption that prejudice can be unlearned. However, it seems to me that it probably can't. Certainly, despite my best efforts I've not been able to unlearn my own prejudices.

We can't unlearn a language we absorbed in childhood, though we can learn a new language and choose to use only that new language. If we do that, the original language might get rusty and it may be less easy to use, but we can't unlearn it, and the basics will remain for the rest of our lives.

I believe that a similar situation exists with prejudices. Trying to unlearn prejudices is as futile, though not so dangerous, as pretending that there is no prejudice at all.

Now, I'm not trying to say that if we can't unlearn prejudice then it's okay to carry on acting out our prejudices. On the contrary, by recognising our prejudice we can see them as illogical and takes steps to try to ensure that our actions and words are not the result of that prejudice. Even more importantly, by acknowledging our prejudices we can try to prevent our prejudices from being passed on to the next generation.

[Updated on: Fri, 31 July 2015 14:18]

Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70050 is a reply to message #70049] Fri, 31 July 2015 21:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Gay Deceiver is currently offline  The Gay Deceiver

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Location: Canada
Registered: December 2003
Messages: 869




My father, and his father before him, and Lord only knows just how many of their forebears, were two of the most prejudiced individuals you would likely have ever met; both had resounding influence on my formative years, my father more than my grandfather, but only because I saw less of the one than the other.

I remember well the day I brought home the first friend I had had of colour, and my father's reaction to him; a reaction hitherto unseen before during my young life so I had no idea my father had these feelings throughout that time.

Canada was in its' earliest embrace of diversity and the policy of what would emerge a couple of years hence across the country under the tutelage of Pierre Elliot Trudeau as Multiculturalism.  My father was a great admirer of M. Trudeau, as was my grandfather, with both wholeheartedly and financially supporting his social contract; therefore, it quite possibly should not have come as much of a surprise that when confronted with a person generations of my family had thought less superior to themselves, that my father would declare, in my presence and face-to-face with the youth "... that he could not like the boy because of his colour; this being his problem not the young man's", and having said this he added "You apparently are someone of good character, and an individual he could call his friend; otherwise my son would never have brought you into our, his, home.  For this reason, and this reason alone, you will always be made welcome, and hopefully comfortable here during your stay."  In closing he stated "I can't help my personal failing with regard to the colour of your skin; but, I can ensure and guarantee that neither of my sons will share and further this disgusting attitude with their generation, as my father, and their grandfather had shared with me and mine."

My father, I would learn, extended this "diversity" epiphany to Creed, Race, Politics, Language, Gender, Occupation... whatever drove, and defined, the human condition.  Whereas he had failed to somewhat degree in his endeavour to rid his sons of his prejudices with my elder brother, he succeeded admirably with me; therefore Kitzyma®, I would say to you that I am living proof to your attestation that "prejudice is mostly learned, and most of that learning takes place in early childhood".

Unfortunately, my father's embracing diversity in 1964 didn't extend quite as far as Sexuality, although I didn't know it until he was confronted with the reality of my having brought Jon home for the very first time that autumn evening, 1967, in the wake of both of us having been thrown out of Jon's family home in Iowa and my having earlier asked him to arrange the air-fare from Chicago's O'Hare Aeroport for the two of us some hours earlier.  That evening it was my grandfather who surprised us all, when he intervened in my father's, his son's, railing against Jon and I ever taking up together.  He simply told my father "that since the age of 13 the family had expected that Warren behave like an adult, and that as far as he was concerned I had made a momentous adult decision, and it was beholden upon each and every member of the family to respect and support that decision regardless of whether we personally, and individually, agreed with it, or not".

In my family the eldest living male is LAW.  My grandfather had, much to my amazement, spoken.  That was that.  The subject of my homosexuality was never again discussed, excepting a brief conversation my father and I would have in 1984 as he lay dying in bed asking that I move home to care for him as I, having no family of my own to support unlike my brother with a wife and two young children, was better able to abandon whatever it might be that I was doing and make the change.

Not since mine and Jon's moving out of the family's Westmount home in Montréal early 1968 had my father and I shared more than 15-minutes at a time in the same room.  Move home I did, with no qualms and no reservations.  I remained in the home long after his passing to take care of my then ailing mother and the two teenaged sons I had gathered somewhere along that journey.

Warren C. E. Austin
The Gay Deceiver
Toronto, Canada

[Updated on: Sat, 01 August 2015 01:48]




"... comme recherché qu'un délice callipygian"
Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70058 is a reply to message #70050] Sun, 02 August 2015 04:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kiwi is currently offline  kiwi

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Registered: August 2009
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Interesting thoughts & cool stories, Guys.

Prejudices are usually, but not always, to do with race - which is  just dumb! We currently have people of 3 different races living in our house. When you get to know them, race/colour doesn't matter a damm, they're all just people.

Who said this? - "Pride in one's own race - and that does not imply contempt for other races - is also a normal and healthy sentiment. I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves. They belong to ancient civilisations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own. They have the right to be proud of their past, just as we have the right to be proud of the civilisation to which we belong. Indeed, I believe the more steadfast the Chinese and Japanese remain in their pride of race, the easier I shall find it to get on with them."
Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70059 is a reply to message #70058] Sun, 02 August 2015 08:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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"kiwi wrote on Sun, 02 August 2015 04:10"


Who said this? - "Pride in one's own race - and that does not imply contempt for other races - is also a normal and healthy sentiment. I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves. They belong to ancient civilisations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own. They have the right to be proud of their past, just as we have the right to be proud of the civilisation to which we belong. Indeed, I believe the more steadfast the Chinese and Japanese remain in their pride of race, the easier I shall find it to get on with them."



--

Adolf Hitler!
(Do I win a prize??)  Smile

[Updated on: Sun, 02 August 2015 08:10]

Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70061 is a reply to message #70059] Sun, 02 August 2015 20:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kiwi is currently offline  kiwi

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Registered: August 2009
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Right first time! What a lovely man Mr. Hitler was. (Of course he did have Some prejudices).

You win the chocolate fish, Kit, but you have to come and get it Smile

cheers
Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70063 is a reply to message #70061] Mon, 03 August 2015 02:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark

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I'm thinking that it could depend on how one defines "prejudice" in the first place.  If I don't like the idea of a 30 year old having sex with a 10 year old, does that necessarily make me prejudice against those who feel that such things are acceptable?  (And even if the answer is "Yes" here, does that necessarily make any prejudice I might have a bad thing?)
Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70065 is a reply to message #70063] Mon, 03 August 2015 08:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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"Mark wrote on Mon, 03 August 2015 02:20"
I'm thinking that it could depend on how one defines "prejudice" in the first place.  If I don't like the idea of a 30 year old having sex with a 10 year old, does that necessarily make me prejudice against those who feel that such things are acceptable?  (And even if the answer is "Yes" here, does that necessarily make any prejudice I might have a bad thing?)



--

Of course, one is free to define anything in one's own personal way - people often do - but if clarity of communication is desired then there are only two ways to do it: i) use the standard definition or ii) clearly define your own usage of the word.

Taking the first route because it's much easier, here are some standard definitions of prejudice that I found online:
1. The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions
2. An adverse judgment or opinion formed unfairly or without knowledge of the facts
3. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular social group, such as a race or the adherents of a religion
4. an opinion formed beforehand, especially an unfavourable one based on inadequate facts
5. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason

The common theme of those seems to be that prejudice is not based on facts or reason. Therefore, if someone doesn't "like the idea of a 30 year old having sex with a 10 year old" and if that dislike is not based on reason or facts, then it would, indeed, be prejudice.

There is, of course, the caveat that it is not unusual for people to use pseudo-facts and false reasoning to try to justify what is really a prejudice. By that means, some people manage to convince themselves that it isn't prejudice at all. For an example of untruths and bad reasoning, some people might say that homosexuality must be evil and unnatural because more homosexuals get AIDS than heterosexuals and that homosexuals molest children.

On the other hand, it is possible that something that starts off as a prejudice but that it can later be genuinely justified by newly discovered facts and/or by rational thinking. For example, in medieval times, before the discovery of germs and causes of disease, it might have been considered that one was prejudiced if one thought that one should avoid pig farmers who didn't wash their hands before dinner. Once there is a genuine justification, however, and once one knows that justification, then it might no longer be prejudice.

So, is not liking "the idea of a 30 year old having sex with a 10 year old" based on any facts or reasoning? If not, then it's a prejudice. My opinion is that in general prejudice is a bad thing. However, whether or not that particular prejudice is a good or a bad thing depends on whether or not other people can come up with real facts and good logic that can turn what was a prejudice into a reasoned opinion.

Kit

[Updated on: Mon, 03 August 2015 09:24]

Re: Some thoughts on prejudice  [message #70068 is a reply to message #70049] Mon, 03 August 2015 16:23 Go to previous message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13759



I am prejudiced. There is nothing to be ashamed of in being prejudiced. The thing to be ashamed of is exhibiting prejudice, encouraging prejudice.

Many prejudices seem inbuilt. We fear that which we do not know or do not understand, thus we protect ourselves against those things. That is, at its most basic, a prejudice or a set of prejudices.

In 1972 I became prejudiced against camp gay men. I outgrew that prejudice, but it was caused by being surrounded by them in a concentrated period and feeling self loathing for being a (heaviliy in denial) gay man. I was afraid of what I did not want to be, thus became prejudiced against it.

We see the inverse of prejudice every day, too. Look at couples. Big nosed people tend to partner with other big nosed people. Tribes partner within the tribe. Races partner within the race. And there are notable exceptions.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
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