Long post/ minimal point made ;)
Fritz Wyssen and Son
The 1 Second Film
I thought I had a great Idea for a post but the more I think about it it may just be a bunch of pretentious nonsense. Well I guess we'll find out ;)
I was reading the responses to my "FAT JOE" post and one of my guests suggested that insulting a fat person is similar to other forms of prejudiced speech such as racism/ sexism etc. I started thinking. Now it's not that the idea was so new to me but as I partially agree with the poster I wanted to explore a little why we come to harbor these feelings and sometimes act on them.
First, however, let's take racism out of the equation because it's such a hot button issue and it's a word that is thrown around far too easily because the threshold is usually placed far too low. Prejudicial thought and speech do not constitute racism. When prejudice wields power for it's own selfish means...that's when we get racism. But, enough on that.
prejudice is human nature. Bare with me. It's primal, natural. It's the remnant of a primal self preservation mechanism.
Let's face it. Mankind is not the fastest, strongest or sense (as in the 5 senses) gifted animal cracker in the box! We have survived mainly due to our ability to learn and adapt to our environment. Oh, and running away from the saber toothed tiger from time to time didn't hurt either. We are where we are because we developed the ability to assess each situation relying on past experience to help us hopefully make a decision that will keep us alive long enough to crawl out of our caves in the morning and witness another sun rise.
Prejudice. Break it down and you obviously get 'pre judge'. (Kids play...) Think about what it means to pre judge...why would anyone need to do it? Well...say that you're primal man...or woman and you're walking along and *Crack* lightning strikes a tree and flaming branches fall all around you. Well..you've never seen fire before. What do you do? It sure is pretty...all sparkly and crackling...but as you get closer and are just about to reach out and grab it you feel this strange sensation. There is pain and your skin begins to tighten just a little.... You pull back. "What the heck", you think to yourself. You walk around the burning branch and try it from another angle and the same results...ooowch! Just then you flash back on that time you were going to sun yourself on that nice rock and you burned your skin so bad that no amount of chewed up root and mud could sooth you and you spent the next 2 moons sleeping on your face in on the hard cave floor. Remember how you learned to test the sunning rock after that. "Well", you think to yourself. "This feels very similar." Right there you prejudged the situation and saved yourself from a horrible burn. Soon you will learn to hold the part of the stick that is not burning. You will bring it back to your people and they will learn from your experience that Fire is hot. You'll learn how fire affects food. Next thing you know you're hosting your own cable network cooking show!
Ok, that was a lot of rambling to make a simple point. People pre judge. We look at things and situations with the benefit or lack of prior experience. If someone told you that a certain type of people were dangerous and you have no prior experience with them your pre-judgment will take into account what you observe of the situation mixed with what you've been told and you'll arrive at a decision regarding how to react. If the person appears to exhibit traits that confirm what you were told your reaction may to be scared and you may act on that by lashing out or by running away. If your observations contradict what you have been told you may be more trusting and you will have learned that you have been feed bogus information. No matter what the outcome there will be a moment of "prejudice" pre-judgment.
Animals also apply similar pre-judgments to situations the difference is that as humans we have the ability to control our reactions regardless of our pre-judgments. Simply put. If your inclination is to lash out at someone because your prejudice tells you to...you can still choose not to. Or we can be taught not to.
Awwww crap...this is a mess. I would like to make the point that my definition of prejudice is a simplified break down of the word and is not meant to take into account the social stigma that has become attatched to the word.
It's late and I don't even know if I made a point. I'm gonna post this because I have nothing else. i promise tomorrow yo return you to the regular light hearted posts...