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Thread: Prejudice

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Prejudice

    "....why am I telling you? You work for The Government."
    Yes I just heard these words coming from a crusty old building contractor. You see, I have no appreciation for the costs involved in building a porch because I work for the Government and am therefore part of the Problem; a force which opposes you. Seems I encounter this attitude with increasing frequency. It is frustrating because I feel I'm actually trying to help people, but once you hear words like that it becomes clear that certain folks' ears have already shut down and it really doesn't matter what you say.

    There's nothing quite like being prejudged, and having to deal with someone who has a boatload of assumptions they've already made about you based on one attribute (job, race, gender, religion, age, nationality, disability, weight, education, sexual orientation etc.). You might otherwise be a wonderful individual but God help you if you belong to that group.

    I remember 28 years ago in Okinawa I couldn't get a bus to stop for me in town, and I understand the experience was not that uncommon at the time. I don't know if Americans still experience the 'dirty Gaijin' treatment, but I hope things have improved. This was a pretty blatant example of prejudice, and most of the time it's a little more subtly expressed. Usually, it emerges in conversation when someone says something that reveals something about their underlying attitudes.

    What are your experiences with prejudice? When has it shown its face to you, and where have you observed it?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    "90% of _____ give the other 10% a bad name"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    "She's prejudiced against Italians.. can you believe that- a jew broad, in this day and age, prejudiced against Italians?"

  4. #4
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I am white. I work at a Latino organization. I speak basic Spanish but understand quite a bit more. I run the housing development program and often attend outreach events but always take someone with me who speaks Spanish fluently. More than few times I have gotten the following conversation:

    Are you Latino?
    No.
    Do you know that this is a Latino organization?
    Yes, it was founded by four Latino families but it serves everyone who walks through the door.
    Do you speak Spanish?
    A little.
    Do you know who your organization was named after?
    Yes, Don Pedro Albizul Campos.
    Do you know your founder Ramon Rivera?
    No, because he unfortunately passed away several years ago.
    He's probably rolling in his grave right now knowing someone like you is working there.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #5
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    When I was in west Texas working on oil drilling rigs, I was sometimes referred to as the white, yankee, college boy.

    When I worked in a Colorado ski resort town, so what if you had a college degree except if you went to certain culinary schools or have a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree.

    Around here, I am an outsider because I did not growup, went to HS, or am not related to somebody here.

    As a planner, because I did not go to a Big $$ school or after 20 yrs working I am not a director.

    Around women because I am short, balding and wear glasses.
    Last edited by JNA; 19 Apr 2012 at 1:07 PM.
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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Late 1970s, northwest Louisiana. I am with my dad and we are going to the office of the doctor of my great-aunt. We enter the waiting room and there are a half-dozen old black women looking at us rather surprised. My dad said, "oh." and takes me by the arm and leads me out. We go one door down and enter. We see a half-dozen older white women. Guess you would call that "separate but equal."

    And then there was the time in the late 1960s when I gave my seat to a black woman on a New Orleans streetcar and got the stinkeye from this white guy.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  7. #7
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    "She's prejudiced against Italians.. can you believe that- a jew broad, in this day and age, prejudiced against Italians?"
    Am I a clown to you?
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  8. #8
    About 3-4 times a year, I get asked if I am here legally. Not sure why, except that I am Mexican American and a Spanish last name.

    Could it be my button down shirts? My redsox hat? My Ipod? Who knows.

    Not sure why, except that I am Mexican American and a Spanish last name (my first name is not only English derived, it is unpronounceable for anyone who is a native Spanish speaker).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    As a white male, I really can’t say I experience much prejudice first hand (or maybe its just behind my back…). Sure, it happens on occasion (like Kjel, I work for an organization and in a community with a large Hispanic presence – I’m also the only guy and white person on staff) but for the most part, I have little to no room for complaint. I get plenty of respect by virtue of my background – sometimes undeserved (especially being male). The worst I get are from local advocates/activists who at first glance question what an “outsider” is doing there. Some folks tried to get me kicked off a neighborhood association board because my roots in the community were not longstanding enough (less about being white than having moved to the neighborhood 5 years ago). But these two were the minority opinion and the rest of the board defended me (which is good, because they were the ones that asked me to serve on the board to begin with). They were really trying to stage a coups of sorts and I was just collateral damage.

    I strive to keep my head down and do my job to the best of my ability. I know what I look like at first glance and I try not to let that define me. Given time, I find most people rate me based on my actions and not my background. And I do strive to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Besides, here in New Mexico, there is a strong history of crazy mixing of folks. You might meet someone lighter than me with a good Irish name who is fluent in Spanish and married into a local Hispanic family. Or, someone who is Hispanic and speaks not a lick of Spanish. Or a Japanese American guy that grew up on a reservation out in Gallup, or…you get the picture. Here, people don’t seem too quick to judge. Maybe because we have a small population so folks generally need to get along to get things done.

    Its been a long time since I moved from Philadelphia, but I do remember more racial and ethnic tension there. And a lot more judging (and pre-judging). I don’t miss that. I really enjoy the work I do and the people I work with and that has served me well. Once folks saw the work I could do, they began seeing me as a community asset. Besides, I’m not a very strongly opinionated person so I don’t butt heads too much.

    Gotta Speakup, you should come to New Mexico. You won't get any of that crap here. Lots of folks with Anglo first names and Spanish surnames. Or the other way around.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    As a white male, I really can’t say I experience much prejudice first hand (or maybe its just behind my back…). Sure, it happens on occasion (like Kjel, I work for an organization and in a community with a large Hispanic presence – I’m also the only guy and white person on staff) but for the most part, I have little to no room for complaint. I get plenty of respect by virtue of my background – sometimes undeserved (especially being male). The worst I get are from local advocates/activists who at first glance question what an “outsider” is doing there. Some folks tried to get me kicked off a neighborhood association board because my roots in the community were not longstanding enough (less about being white than having moved to the neighborhood 5 years ago). But these two were the minority opinion and the rest of the board defended me (which is good, because they were the ones that asked me to serve on the board to begin with). They were really trying to stage a coups of sorts and I was just collateral damage.

    I strive to keep my head down and do my job to the best of my ability. I know what I look like at first glance and I try not to let that define me. Given time, I find most people rate me based on my actions and not my background. And I do strive to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Besides, here in New Mexico, there is a strong history of crazy mixing of folks. You might meet someone lighter than me with a good Irish name who is fluent in Spanish and married into a local Hispanic family. Or, someone who is Hispanic and speaks not a lick of Spanish. Or a Japanese American guy that grew up on a reservation out in Gallup, or…you get the picture. Here, people don’t seem too quick to judge. Maybe because we have a small population so folks generally need to get along to get things done.

    Its been a long time since I moved from Philadelphia, but I do remember more racial and ethnic tension there. And a lot more judging (and pre-judging). I don’t miss that. I really enjoy the work I do and the people I work with and that has served me well. Once folks saw the work I could do, they began seeing me as a community asset. Besides, I’m not a very strongly opinionated person so I don’t butt heads too much.

    Gotta Speakup, you should come to New Mexico. You won't get any of that crap here. Lots of folks with Anglo first names and Spanish surnames. Or the other way around.
    Pretty much the same. I am greeted with suspicion first and then I win people over. I treat every one fairly with respect and compassion. I think that my work speaks for itself. Newark has for the last 40-50 years suffered from a lot of ethnic/racial tension and was devastated for a very long time after the Newark riots in 1967. The past few years things have started to turn around but the work we do as an organization seems like a drop in the bucket compared to what the needs are. An organization of 325 people that serve more than 25K members of the community annually says a lot about the need here.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  11. #11
    I've Ben to New Mexico a bunch of times but no one has ever asked me if I was here legally.

    But while changing planes in Phoenix on the way to the APA I was asked how long I had been in the US. I've head horror stories about people in Texas and Colorado. I've been asked my citizenship ststus in California. So it's not the number of Mexicans.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I find people assume I am stuck up because I am so good looking.

    But other than that, as a white male I have never once felt predudiced against.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    I've Ben to New Mexico a bunch of times but no one has ever asked me if I was here legally.

    But while changing planes in Phoenix on the way to the APA I was asked how long I had been in the US. I've head horror stories about people in Texas and Colorado. I've been asked my citizenship ststus in California. So it's not the number of Mexicans.
    Well, we pride ourselves on being distinct from our neighbors in this and other respects...

    On a somewhat related note (while we’re talking about my neighbors), I went to an exciting event some weeks ago. It was for a caravan of folks from Texas who have gone to Arizona to deliver/donate books from Arizona’s banned list of titles eradicated from the public schools. They call it Librotraficante (book smuggler). People donated money and books for them to go park just off school grounds in Arizona and distribute these books for free to students as they leave to go home. It was a really cool project. It was shocking the list of items banned from the schools. Everything from Bless Me Ultima (Rudolfo Anaya) to Civil Disobedience (Thoreau), Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire) and…wait for it…The Tempest (by a little nobody author called, what is it? Oh yes, William Shakespeare). There is a link to the list of banned books on the librotraficante website. Its not clear tome the rationale for singling out these specific works. But its all definitely tied with some serious prejudice. IMHO...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  14. #14
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    I can to speak to the "gaijin" experience. It's been great here, so far. The only places I ever felt discriminated against was in Kobe when my wife and I were walking around the soapland district and everyone was giving us odd looks. I now realize that was more so because I had her with me and didn't really know where the hell I was. I was expecting a lot of prejudice, but quite frankly it's been the exact opposite.

    As for prejudice...where to begin? As a black male planner working in an engineering command I am often the only minority in the room. Yes, even here in Japan. My favorite story to tell was about a previous Captain I with whom I worked. First time he met me he found out that we went to the same college (15 years appart).
    I said "Sir, I hear you went to Cal."
    His response "Yup. I went to Cal. You did too?"
    Me: "Yes. Go Bears!"
    Him: "Go Bears! So you went on a football scholarship? Or basketball?"
    Me: "Neither, sir, academics got me in. Although, I did walk on to the team, but since I was a full time student, and worked full time, plus sent money home to my sick mother, it was a little difficult to just be an athlete..."
    Meanwhile, my supervisor (who was an awesome women) is standing there mortified because she knew what was happening.
    Me: "Plus, who wants to be known as a dumb jock? And some of us have to keep our thinking things protected for later use."
    Him: "Oh. I went on a scholarship and played ball."
    Me: "Sir, I did not know that [I most certainly did]. I guess now we have at least two things in common."

    After he left my supervisor couldn't stop laughing and told me that when he asked me about playing football she was ready to leave. I get it a lot when people find out I went to a top notch school. It used to offend me a lot, now I just laugh about it.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    I ain't saying folks in California ain't prejudice - but they are usually darn good about hiding it.

    Now my step-Dad, he's from Philadelphia. Let's just say, he required a bit of training
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    I disagree. I can remember Escondido passing a city ordinance to ban illegal immigrants from renting. Carlsbad at one point in time wanted to put up a fence at the end of a road that led into Oceanside.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    I disagree. I can remember Escondido passing a city ordinance to ban illegal immigrants from renting. Carlsbad at one point in time wanted to put up a fence at the end of a road that led into Oceanside.
    Isn't there a difference between those who are against illegal immigration and race?

    The ordinance didn't ban renting apartments to Mexican-Americans, after all.

    I can see how the immigration issue can be construed as racist, but I tend to view it as a separate issue from race.

    Edit: And regarding the fence at the end of the road leading into Oceanside... Have you been to Oceanside? Has nothing to do with race. Has everything to do with military base (Camp Pendleton). And no, it isn't an issue of folks in Oceanside not being white. In fact, the majority (by far) seem to be white...

    Finally, again, didn't say Californians *aren't* prejudice, merely that they're *better* at hiding it.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Oceanside is no longer a community where white people are the majority. While they might be the largest ethnic group, they make up about 48% of the population; compared to Carlsbad where white people are close to 77%. It was about race.

    Same with Escondido. The ordinance wasn't "Illegal immigrants can spend money here." It was "We don't want those people living here." Illegal immigration is definitely about race. When I said illegal immigration you didn't think about Canadians. It is a problem that falls along ethnic lines. Same as it always has been.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    Oceanside is no longer a community where white people are the majority. While they might be the largest ethnic group, they make up about 48% of the population; compared to Carlsbad where white people are close to 77%. It was about race.

    Same with Escondido. The ordinance wasn't "Illegal immigrants can spend money here." It was "We don't want those people living here." Illegal immigration is definitely about race. When I said illegal immigration you didn't think about Canadians. It is a problem that falls along ethnic lines. Same as it always has been.
    I'm a native of Carlsbad. Sorry, but it's about the marines, don't matter what color they are. The areas that abut Oceanside are far from majority white (as opposed to, say, La Costa, which is probably 80% white).

    And I stand by what I said - opposing illegal immigration is not the same as racism, period. Sure the majority tend to think of hispanics (not Mexicans, by the way) when they're talking immigration, but that's because the VAST majority come from south of the border, not north of it.

    If we had that many Canadians coming in illegally, there'd be war. WAR I SAY!

    Edit: And if you still think we're not good about hiding our prejudice, all I gotta do is point to my formidable arguments above
    Last edited by Tarf; 19 Apr 2012 at 9:18 PM.
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    If you're tall and a jerk, you're just a big jerk.
    If you're short and a jerk, you've got an inferiority complex because you're short.

    If you're tall and a high achiever, you're a natural leader..
    If you're short and a high achiever, you're overcompensating because you have an inferiority complex because you're short.

    If you're tall and beat up people, you're a big bully.
    If you're short and beat up people, you get your a$$ kicked most of the time.
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  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    If you're tall and a jerk, you're just a big jerk.
    If you're short and a jerk, you've got an inferiority complex because you're short.

    If you're tall and a high achiever, you're a natural leader..
    If you're short and a high achiever, you're overcompensating because you have an inferiority complex because you're short.

    If you're tall and beat up people, you're a big bully.
    If you're short and beat up people, you get your a$$ kicked most of the time.
    You forgot the big and dumb stereotype. That stereotype ended pretty quick with me once I started taking. People found out that my vocabulary was well past them and I got pissed when they couldn't keep up. I used to shock the crap out of people by quoting Shakespeare.
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    You forgot the big and dumb stereotype. That stereotype ended pretty quick with me once I started taking. People found out that my vocabulary was well past them and I got pissed when they couldn't keep up. I used to shock the crap out of people by quoting Shakespeare.
    True, it does go both ways. OTOH, Randy Newman hasn't done a song called "Tall People", but that's probably just my inferiority complex speaking.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  23. #23
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tarf View post
    I'm a native of Carlsbad. Sorry, but it's about the marines, don't matter what color they are. The areas that abut Oceanside are far from majority white (as opposed to, say, La Costa, which is probably 80% white).

    And I stand by what I said - opposing illegal immigration is not the same as racism, period. Sure the majority tend to think of hispanics (not Mexicans, by the way) when they're talking immigration, but that's because the VAST majority come from south of the border, not north of it.

    If we had that many Canadians coming in illegally, there'd be war. WAR I SAY!

    Edit: And if you still think we're not good about hiding our prejudice, all I gotta do is point to my formidable arguments above
    I'm a native of Chula Vista. You have a point that opposing illegal immigration is not the same as racism. But do you remember when prop 187 was going through? Man, alot of the discussion surrounding that was certainly racist. we had race riots at our school - white students started wearing blatently racist stuff and hispanics started waving mexican flags. That was crazy.

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    "....why am I telling you? You work for The Government."
    If you really want to set those people off use the famous words "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you".
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  24. #24
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    I can to speak to the "gaijin" experience. It's been great here, so far. The only places I ever felt discriminated against was in Kobe when my wife and I were walking around the soapland district and everyone was giving us odd looks. I now realize that was more so because I had her with me and didn't really know where the hell I was. I was expecting a lot of prejudice, but quite frankly it's been the exact opposite.

    As for prejudice...where to begin? As a black male planner working in an engineering command I am often the only minority in the room. Yes, even here in Japan. My favorite story to tell was about a previous Captain I with whom I worked. First time he met me he found out that we went to the same college (15 years appart).
    I said "Sir, I hear you went to Cal."
    His response "Yup. I went to Cal. You did too?"
    Me: "Yes. Go Bears!"
    Him: "Go Bears! So you went on a football scholarship? Or basketball?"
    Me: "Neither, sir, academics got me in. Although, I did walk on to the team, but since I was a full time student, and worked full time, plus sent money home to my sick mother, it was a little difficult to just be an athlete..."
    Meanwhile, my supervisor (who was an awesome women) is standing there mortified because she knew what was happening.
    Me: "Plus, who wants to be known as a dumb jock? And some of us have to keep our thinking things protected for later use."
    Him: "Oh. I went on a scholarship and played ball."
    Me: "Sir, I did not know that [I most certainly did]. I guess now we have at least two things in common."

    After he left my supervisor couldn't stop laughing and told me that when he asked me about playing football she was ready to leave. I get it a lot when people find out I went to a top notch school. It used to offend me a lot, now I just laugh about it.
    People often think of the military as being relatively free of prejudice, but I found that was not true, especially in the National Guard/Reserve, where there was still a strong "good ole boy" element in the 80's and 90's. In my case I was the only white officer in a nearly all-black unit and initially had a challenge with several soldiers in my command. I deployed to Iraq with a southern Illinois unit where there was a great deal of racism against the handful of black soldiers in that unit.
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