Apologia For Discrimination

How does one describe a prejudiced mind? To me, I have visions of a garage full of old junk piled up high to the ceiling, nothing can be moved therein nor can anything be placed in addition to. Upon opening the garage door, everything begins to flow out as the much needed exhale of breath.

Prejudiced minds leave little room for outside influx and interpretations and ergo, growth is stagnant, logic is deemed illogical and even if one were to find logic in an argument, it wouldn't make an iota of a difference. People, by default, are prejudiced in many categories of life, be it religion, philosophy, a particular economic system, a political party or race. It's quite understandable then, that xenophobia be part and parcel of the package. If a person hates Muslims there's little one can do to change that inbuilt perception. You may fight the good fight by producing ample reasons to like them, to tolerate them, you may even resort to screaming on their behalf but all those pleas of justness and justice would be moot.

Our prejudices, and let's be fair, we all have them, constitute a huge fraction of our personalities, should we openly concur to have them or not. It's but a general fact of life. The issue is that sometimes they may lay innate, lurking at the bottom of some mental lagoon wherein through only osmosis does it gradually begin to lain waste upon the surface of our psyche. Many reasons could account for us developing prejudices; growing up with a cruel or neglectful father, a sick mentally deranged mother, one's own terror, from undertaking loathsome tasks or even from enduring unnecessary punishments. The prejudice can even assert itself from being brainwashed with the lye of hatred. Much like phobias, they are so deeply rooted that if by chance we were to become acutely aware of them, we'd only be at their mercy and be rendered helpless to do anything by way of curing them.

The wise question to ask is not whether we are prejudiced but rather what our numerous are. Reasonably, we're against the word 'prejudice' itself as it has been ingrained into us that it is both socially and politically incorrect to be biased about anything. I, like many folk, am prejudiced against racists and bigots. Deeply, I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a loathsome view of lawyers and on a lighter note, pork. As far as lawyers are concerned, I'm aware I'm not alone in harboring a negative opinion towards them as they are not only snooty and arrogant figures of society but rather, seem inept at pursuing anything that doesn't have a dollar bill hovering over its head. Now about the my attitudinal bias; they represent only interests of people and corporations without really caring who they are, what they did, what harm was caused or how reprehensible they are. Cronyism runs today's law firms and because of this "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" routine, gender and color neutrality is crushed. Furthermore, the justice system serves and oils the hands of a few white men who influence business and politics in a way that often resonates to being hostile to more than half of the general populace. Can you catch the stereotypes that I've come to place due to my own prejudiced mind?

Their malevolence against the destitute reflects their own deep, abiding, ugly favoritism. A lawyer or an elitist would pass a starving man on the street but will never turn down a fundraiser or benefit committee where they can hobnob with their own pretentious friends. To digress a little, I am against pork as my religion forbids me to be but also because I hate the smell of bacon. This in turn has created a prejudice against pigs and I'm blown away as to how anyone could eat anything that feeds on filth and refuse. As we have confirmed already, prejudices grow out of early experience and can be blamed largely on our parents' hate towards a certain race or people of a certain vocation, like lawyers. We inherit these like recessive genes. Our own life experiences also pave the way to our prejudices. Like for instance, if we were mugged in New York City by a black man, throughout our lives we would never live it down and would grudgingly begin to hate all blacks due to that one lone incident. The problem is, that people who are prejudiced are often not only ignorant but find a comfort zone in that very attitude. They see it as nothing but the truth.

Perhaps it is in the way they live that I find blemish. If you know a lawyer, you can be sure that he won't be driving a hatchback, nor would he be living in the ghetto and likely never did, will probably be not affiliated with any church and you'd be safe in assuming none of his friends are part of the Communist party. Likes of him would never have had the misfortune to spend a night on the streets, would come from affluent families and have graduated from an Ivy League university. His suits would be tailor-made and he would most likely vote the Republican ticket. A thought provoking poem would be unheard of, as would be a painted portrait coming from him. I give you free reign to point to the exceptions of the above biased yet totally generalized statements, for there are always and certainly many.

People like him continue with the thought that if you're not working, then you're obviously incompetent or a lazy git. He views the black community as the main reason for disruption in the streets and gang related violence. Of course, through a sly smile he will try to convince you that he is solely without prejudice against the blacks, but upon probing him will soon discover he serves and caters to only a small fraction of their community. Delightedly he'd agree that the government should extend the death penalty and not eliminate it, thereby adhering to the view that society should kill off more people who show the slightest tendency towards delinquency in their youth.

Notably, it is dangerous and immoral to lump members of society into categories by race, ethnic background, economic status or profession like I just did, but we live in a culture that encourages it, which is an ill-fate, mind you. It might be self-serving and politically incorrect but it's significantly better than what's on the other side of the pulpit. The youth often wonder what it takes to be a killer shark or any other calling, but shouldn't they need to learn what it is to be human first? If we want to be successful in any field, it's my opinion that we ought to be proficient in understanding our fellow man. Unfortunately, we do not learn how to behave this way by going to school. Even those lucky enough to come from moneyed parents, given the opportunity to attend private schools where they soak up Latin and the arts, sadly only know the ways of the elite and are immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to comprehending a simpleton. The point is, our perception of the people who we meet along the way, depends largely upon who we become ourselves; who we are.

The working man understands his fellow working man better than a scholar understands the working man, you see? Perhaps it's life's little irony which makes it so amusing to hear a lawyer argue in front of simple ordinary jurors. His vernacular, his approach in choosing words, the metaphors used and the design in syntax; basically all his ideas which to him seem persuasive and skillful, often come off as snobbish, hubristic or patronizing. The people aren't familiar with his type and so to empathize and trust him becomes rather difficult. To take a step back, anyone who wishes to be successful, must learn as much as they can about the human condition, hopefully through experience. It should be a rite of passage for young individuals to work as tirelessly as they can in their adolescence so they may educate themselves with the general republic and how best to prepare for running alongside it in their future lifetime. Wiser still, for them to learn the value of money, the arduous labor involved and to worry about where next month's bill is coming from. They should write poems, play in a band, acquaint themselves with what it means to be a free human, to have and try all the options in front of them that our forefathers strived so hard to get. Dream during the days and daydream in the nights but at the same time understand what pain is, what loss is, how it's like to be underprivileged with a wide range of responsibilities. From a being who understands, prejudice is unlikely to be borne.

So having discovered how prejudice works in society through my own biased opinion, we ought best to recall what we have already learned; that arguing and confronting a prejudice or a preconceived notion is nothing except futile. Not only does it promote stereotypes but also begins to represent the negative practices against the humane condition. Adopt and build upon inclusive communities while fighting the various discriminations that exist in our society. It is in this that bewildering lawyers after having lost, would understand that their failure was not in the art of expression but rather in their inability to uncover a prejudice residing in the people and learning how to deal with it. Changing people's attitudes and practices is difficult and requires dedicated work so look upon it as investment for our future generations and toil hard.
Mahak Malik https://zentreve.wordpress.com/

1 comment:

Mahak Malik said...

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-m