Originally Posted on June 27, 2015 by jshaul
Where we have come so far:
1) All prejudice and racism may NOT, inherently be logically unreasonable.
Prejudice may be reasonable or unreasonable.
Racism may be reasonable or unreasonable – but reasonable racism is rare if not, in all practical terms, impossible.
2) Personal prejudices should be carefully analyzed to determine whether or not they are reasonable – and if they are not, removed from our belief system.
3) All prejudice and racism may be gained through personal experience or adopted from others
4) Adopted prejudice and racism is very likely unreasonable
5) All racism is almost certainly unreasonable
6) All bigotry is nothing more that firmly disagreeing with someone else’s firmly held beliefs.
Where we should go from here:
Years ago, I was grad school. My graduate department had a reputation of being populated by sexists (it was an all-male department). My experience there, in the main, confirmed it, although at least one professor seemed to manifest no sexism. There was not hardly a day that went by without someone making a joke or comment that was, in some fashion or another derogatory to women. I got to the point where, if I could hear a negative comment coming on, I would ask the person if he was going to make a negative comment about women, and if so, I would ask him to not do so, and if he declined my request, I would walk away so as not to be even tacitly in approval of such things. For some, it had an effect. For others, I was just annoying. One winter, my wife and I decided to throw a Christmas party for the department and we invited everyone. At that time in life, my wife didn’t drink alcohol, but was ok with others bringing it to the party, so it was a BYOB party. That was fine with the invitees. However, one of the professors asked me if I was going to enforce my no-misogyny policy at the party, and I said, yes. He, with a chuckle, asked, since it was my house, if he made such a comment would he be asked to leave, and I, matter of factly, said yes, he would. I told him that I could do nothing about what he did out of my presence, but in my home and in my presence, I could make known my displeasure and choose not to be complicit with his rhetoric. And it was my house.
He came to the party. I didn’t have to ask him to leave. I have no idea if my actions and personal policies made any changes in his head, but they did change how he acted around me.
I did not bully any one. I did not force my views on anyone. I did not even put them down for their beliefs. If they wanted, I was willing to engage in discussions about it, but I did not proselytize my position. I simply made my clear by my respect towards all persons but my respectful non-toleration of behavior that did not fit with my belief system.
To me, this is the way to end prejudice and racism: 1) analyze and get rid of any unreasonable prejudice and racism in your head. It is not hard to determine if it is unreasonable, trust me. The tougher part is removing it, because often the beliefs are held within and rooted to some emotion. There is often pride and past hurt associated with these beliefs and it takes commitment and perseverance to root them out and remove them. Befriending and being transparent with a member of the group towards whom you are holding the prejudice and racism and learning that in fact, they are all just people like you and I, can go along way towards this end. 2) Do not give silent approval when you are in the presence of prejudice and racism. This can be tough. It could end up costing you friendships and even jobs – you have to make the call as to what you are willing to sacrifice to stand up for your beliefs.
All prejudice and racism exists in people’s heads. That is the battle ground. But beliefs do not change easily nor quickly – and never by force. You have to consistently and persistently live your own life with respect towards all people and do all that is your power to encourage others to do likewise.
Also, realize that YOU are a member of many identifiable categories – categories that others may have reasonable prejudice against… and YOU may be the single counter example that someone needs to put aside his/her prejudice. Be the best you can be -the most noble, the most praiseworthy, the most dignified, and most possessive of integrity – and represent your peeps as best as you can, giving no one any basis to continue the prejudice. Be the change – be the example – you want others to see.
We are family. We may not like all the quirks and idiosyncrasies of our family members, but they are still family. Our human family.
I teach logic and critical reasoning, and therein I demonstrate that there really is not such a thing as male and female logic. It is just logic. From my perspective, male logic is really nothing more than a person believing that he is right because he has a penis and (incorrectly) believes that his thinking is not clouded by emotion. Female logic is nothing more than a woman believing that the world does not begin and end with reason – that the emotional dimension is essential to a full life and therefore must be woven into the discussion. I used the phrase Female Logic in the title because I figured it might hook you in. Men’s inability to understand women may, in fact, be mostly our own fault.
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For His glory,