Tuesday, June 17, 2014

On Prejudice

The government and popular culture seems to think any expression of disagreement or dislike is prejudice. It all depends on skin color though. If I disagree with one of my Caucasian neighbors no one cares. If I disagree with a Black neighbor I am a racist or prejudiced. What strikes me is that when my Black neighbor disagrees with me the nature of the disagreement isn't important--I'm labeled a racist! If I disagree with the president's policies it isn't because I'm a Republican it's because I'm a racist. If I disagree with Bill O'Reilley no one cares! As it used to be said on TV, "Know what I mean, Vern?"

Christians and Caucasians are the only people of prejudice in the United States these days. I'm beginning to think George H.W. Bush's dislike for broccoli demonstrated his prejudice against broccoli. One of my friends teaching at a Christian university once asked his class if Black people were prejudiced toward Whites. He got a negative answer. African-Americans can call Caucasians "whitey" or "crackers" or any other term they wish and that's not prejudice. If you're white and say the wrong word you'll be drummed out of your TV show, or forced to sell your NBA team, or be labeled a racist by even pseudo-conservatives who ought to know better.

Everyone is prejudiced in one way or another. My prejudice shows up when a person with tattoos from head to foot shows up. I'm not talking about one tattoo; I'm talking about someone with tattoos everywhere. I once met a New Zealander in Myanmar who had tattoos everywhere even on his face and neck. I bristled and my thoughts were negative. When I got to know the guy my bias evaporated. Tattoos are part of the Maori culture in New Zealand but I had to get around that in order to have a relationship. You can't kid a kidder! Every person has prejudices, biases, dislikes and those things crop up because of first impressions (and sometimes second impressions). Face it, you and I might be like two pieces of different grades of sandpaper rubbing together.

Just because I tolerate someone or something does not mean I agree with it or like it or the person who advocates it. I've learned over my many years to tolerate people but not principles or ideas. I'm prejudiced against  the principles espoused by Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses and I won't tolerate their false doctrine and the way they twist Scripture. I've known some really nice people trapped in those cults and I tolerate them. I'm prejudiced against homosexuality. Homosexual behavior is a sin (no greater sin than heterosexual adultery) yet I had some terrific homosexual friends in Palm Springs Sunup Rotary. I more than tolerated them--I liked them and appreciated them. I disagreed with their lifestyle and I refused to tolerate their unreasonable belief system.

Let me go one step farther. Why is the government, or anyone else for that matter, telling me I can't have prejudices or attitudes of racism when they do? I'm not advocating genocide because I don't want to sell my cakes to homosexuals or take photographs of a homosexual wedding. Who can tell me whom to like or dislike? How dare someone force me to avoid some people or activities or to participate or accept some  people or activities? After all, if I don't want to sell my cake for a homosexual wedding I'm the one getting hurt! I lose a sale. The "happy" couple can always find another bakery. If someone doesn't like my attitudes aren't they prejudiced toward me?

The United States of America is closer to George Orwell's vision of 1984 than ever before. I can't choose to do business with whomever I choose. I can't express my political or religious opinions for fear I'll offend someone who has prejudices about Christianity or what-have-you. It is a strange world when only one side of anything is prejudiced!