OK, I think the title probably got your attention. Maybe I should have said it is not totally or even mostly about race. Prejudices and discrimination in this country come from a myriad of sources. With this post I won’t try to convince you that any particular one is greater magnitude than the others but only that it exists on many different arenas. I will give you several different examples but will say that I believe there is one cause for most of it.
- It’s about physical differences and handicaps — As a deaf man for almost thirty years I have faced my share of prejudice. When people I don’t know find out I am deaf they frequently just wave their hands and walk away as if I am not worth the trouble to try to address. With others, even though I have an IQ of over 130, they start treating me as if I were a 4-year-old. Deaf & Dumb is still a very prevalent attitude when it comes to the majority population. Of course the same attitude or worse is taken for other handicaps that are even more visible than mine.
- It’s about People of color — I have been embarrassed at several times in my life by the way the majority white population have treated people of color, especially with my personal experiences in the 1970s South. This attitude is not limited to just those whose skin is black but also red, yellow and everything non-white
- It’s about national origins — I was raised in a very rural white dominant environment so had virtually no personal experiences with this category. But being a U.S. history buff I have read about it frequently. Immigrants have almost always been treated badly by many. The Irish in Boston and New York are perhaps the most visible in history.
- It’s about economic class — This is one that is very prevalent today. The “Makers vs. Takers” is the most visible moniker for this. When Mitt Romney railed about the 47% he was speaking to a group of affluent donors who probably couldn’t have agreed more. Now that economic disparity is reaching such monstrous levels this category will only increase in the coming years.
- It’s about political differences — I am a progressive living in a very red State. With that fact comes attitudes people have toward my views of the world. To many I am simply dead wrong about most everything I believe.
- It’s about religious differences — To me religious differences is a biggie. There just seems to be little to no tolerance for people with different religious views. I was kicked out of a church I once belonged because I didn’t tow their line closely enough. I think the most dominant cliques in America, and probably the world, are religious in nature.
- It’s about majority/minority relationships — It about the tyranny of the majority.
When it comes down to the root of it I think most discrimination is about fear. Lets face it, some people perhaps many are just fearful often to a paranoid level of almost everything especially anyone who are different from them. Some are fearful of even small changes in their lives and circumstances. I recognize that fear seems to be cranked up a magnitude in the last decade probably due to our paranoia of 9/11.
It’s About Fear