Sunday, August 3, 2014

I Am Prejudiced

I was going to title this piece, "I Am A Bigot," but I looked up "bigot" and I do not believe I am a bigot. I do not hate people who I do not know simply for who they are.

Yet, I am prejudiced. I grew up in a time and place where I formed ideas about people I don't know.  When I see strangers, I have knee-jerk reactions.  When someone looks like a "homeless person," I assume he or she is poor, living on the street, and perhaps suffering from a mental condition.  When I hear of rich people who have inherited wealth, I assume they have feelings of entitlement.  When I hear that someone does not have a high school education, I assume that he or she is less intelligent.  When someone tries to convert me to a different religion, I assume he or she is narrow-minded.  I have even more repulsive prejudices than I am willing to admit in print because I feel bad about my biases.

As bad as I feel about my prejudices, I have not been able to eliminate them.  I am embarrassed, but I cannot control my knee-jerk reactions.  The best I can do is recognize my biases, admit to them, and understand that I cannot let the prejudices, my bigotry, control me.  My grandmother was a refugee from Nazi Germany. When she saw a non-Jewish German, she would whisper, "I bet he has a Nazi in the family."  That prejudice has stuck with me.  I know that Germans and Germany cannot be considered with a broad brush, that anti-Semitism is repugnant in Germany today, but I cannot stop my knee jerk reaction.  I can fight against my pre-conceived notions, but I am incapable of eliminating the original feelings.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ms. Bratcher: In the Broadway musical "Avenue Q" there is an amusing song "Everyone is a little bit racist." That is so, so true. We all have a lot of prejudices--it is just the way we are as humans. One of the best things that could happen in modern America is if people would stop such ridiculous behavior as pretending to be shocked that a family of duck hunters from rural Louisiana has Un-PC views on gay marriage or that a survivalist rancher in Nevada has Un-PC views on race. Take care!! Sincerely and Respectfully, Ernest Evans