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Racism and Bigotry

and thoughts concerning thereof...hmmm...I am not really sure how I feel about people who are racist and/or bigots...the difference between the two you ask?

Racism
  1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
  2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.


Bigotry
The attitude, state of mind, or behavior characteristic of a bigot; intolerance.
(bigot being defined as: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.)

I am of course somewhat sensitive to racism and not because of my race, but more because of what has happened during my brief 22.5 years here on Earth. Perhaps at a younger age I was treated differently, though it is hard to say. When one is young how can she discriminate? She has not yet gained enough life experience to really be able to see that there is truly a difference in race or learn how to stereo-type genders as well as races.

My first experience with racism (though I did not truly understand) was when I was 10. I was on the playground and I do not really remember what happened I think I was teasing some boy...and then he called me a "Stupid nigger". I did not really feel anything when he called me that, I did not feel shame nor were my feelings hurt. I just looked at him...I just did not really understand. To be honest, I forgot about it later in the day. When I got home my dad came up to me asked me if I was ok. Apparently the school had called and told my parents what had happened. How did the school find out? I think a teacher or a student over-heard. Needless the say that kid was suspended for a week or so. I did not see what the big deal was, what did I care what this boy thought of me or what he called me? My dad told me that no one has the right to call me that, the word "nigger" is a racial slur and I should never let anyone put me down in that way. Like I said...I did not really understand then...

My first acknowledged taste of being discriminated was when I 15. I lived in Woodstock, GA (sounds pleasant doesn't it?) it was not a bad area, on the contrary very wealthy people lived there and many were not even from the South. I recall my friend Anita and I walking to either Publix or Eckerds...these people in a car passed us and threw glass bottles at us calling out, "Nigger!" Anita and I looked at one another and started laughing...I told her, "I am not even full black" and we laughed some more. Even then...that word just did not bother me. To be honest, I do not think it ever will. I can no sooner get rid of racist people any more than I can get rid of stupid people (though I would love if I could). I have always believed that it is who I am and how I think of myself that truly matters. What I do with my life, how I present myself to others, whether I succeed in my goals and accomplishments, that is what truly matters. Perhaps another reason this never bothered me is because I did not grow up being called any racial slurs on a daily basis, it has just been a few instances in my life. I am sure that if this were to happen more frequently I would have many problems with this.

Onto bigotry...my dad's parents are bigots. They dislike my mom because she is Korean. Can one really control who they fall in love with? Does it matter that my dad did fell in love with someone not of his own race? My grandparents of course do not outwardly express their feelings, however, it is very clear in their actions. My brother and I have always been treated differently than my cousin (who is full black) and of course, not as well. As you can see there is no love-loss there. I recall at the age of 14, I was worried that if one of my grand-parents died I could not bring myself to cry at their funeral, which I knew I would be forced to attend. How could I cry for those who felt no love towards my mother who I love so much? To be honest, for awhile I had hoped they would die before I marry so I would not have to invite them my wedding. Cold? Perhaps. Justified? No.

Sometimes I have to remind myself...that my actions are not for those in society, but for myself alone. I encountered someone who expressed his feelings on inter-racial relationships. He said he did not believe in them...he tried to explain himself by saying that he just does not like to picture two people of the opposite race having sex. lol...I found that funny. He proceeded to explain that he does not like to think of anyone having sex (as if this justifies his feelings?). I do not know how to feel about that. I question...if he were to have children...and his children grew up and fell in love with someone outside their race, would they endure what my parents did? Would their children endure what my brother and I did? It is disgusting. My emotional and moral sides argues that judging someone by their race no matter in what context, whether it is dating, marrying, job related, or et cetera is just...there is no word strong enough to even express the extremity of my emotions to this. Yet, my rational side asks, "Are they not entitled to their own opinion no matter how morally or immorally correct their opinions are?"

The pangs of being one of philosophical thought can be rather trying to the soul. I suppose my biggest thought would be...do I befriend people who are bigots? I suppose I would always question my comfort level around these people. Particularly if I were to introduce my boyfriend to them...

Some of my relationships have ended because of a boyfriend's mother not believing in inter-racial relationships. I could not stand the thought of having a repeat of my parents' relationship. It is so important to me to have a good connection with the parents of the one I am dating...does that make me weak for wanting to walk away from those men where their mother feels this way? I have already tried before...believeing that if we care about one another enough, that it would be enough, however, was that not my mother's downfall? To make that assumption? If the bigot family wants to stay involved in the lives of those in love...reality has proved that love is never enough. Who knows? Time and love changes everything...

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ronalum
Jan. 18th, 2004 02:57 pm (UTC)
Very, no VERY, well said! (hug)
archer823
Mar. 22nd, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
People have the right to form their own opinions, but they do not have the right to act upon opinions that only lead to ignorant stupid behavior that has no rationale except to harm others.
natalie516
Mar. 22nd, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
haha...that is very true. But...I am sure they don't see it that way, or else, why do it?
archer823
Mar. 22nd, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
It's because bigots believe that they're better than person X and one of the irrationale factors they blame is the color of one's skin or say one's sexual orientation.

In fact I think that a big disease within the human population is that almost everyone believes that they're better than some other person. We all say that we believe everyone is equal, but the reality is that everyone thinks they are better than others.
natalie516
Mar. 22nd, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
Of course...human nature...you need to be better than someone else to validate your existence (to become better than someone else)...ok...that's just negative and cynical :-/ That is not usually like me.

But...though it may be true that people think they are better than others, it is more how they end up treating that person not so much what they internally think of them.
archer823
Mar. 22nd, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's negative or cynical at all. It's true. I mean it's animal nature to kill or be killed, survival of the fittest, and all of that. The problem is when an ignorant shell of a human being tries to defend their ignorant behavior and beliefs by saying "it's all about survival of the fittest, and the fittest people are the ones with X skin color".

I tend to believe that if you think one way and act the other, eventually your internal thinking will prevail over your external "fake" actions. So really the only way to defeat bigotry in general is to educate people at a young age that such behavior is unacceptable. I think that it's happening, parents from pervious generations grew up in a time where hating someone simply because they were a different color was acceptable. Now a days, kids are taught early on that it's wrong. I'm not sure if our generation is over racism, I still see it even in my fiancee's family members (which makes me uncomfortable) but I think it's better than last generation and the next generation hopefully will do even better.
natalie516
Mar. 22nd, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
I would agree that our generation is better, particularly with interracial relationships...but I don't think racism will ever be completely eradicated. You are always going to have someone out there that will lead others.

I wrote a speech on the eradication of racism when I was 13... :-) I won 2nd place...hehe...but the point of my speech is that it is not possible. However...Some people change
archer823
Mar. 22nd, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'd like to believe that with enough time and positive energy, it is possible that the world can be free or racism. That national / cultural pride is one thing, but to apply that to say that your nation / culture is better than anothers; that thought process just won't exist. It'll be illogical, there'll be no one to defend such ideas. It won't happen before I die, but I'd like to think it's possible. =)

I'm a pretty optimistic to the point of being naive.
natalie516
Mar. 22nd, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
I'm a pretty optimistic to the point of being naive.

Haha...there is nothing wrong with that. I have always encouraged that in my friends
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )