Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Recent E-mail to a Friend of Mine:

Yes, narrow mindedness still exists--everywhere. But is it racism? Or is it something else?

There are narrow-minded Christians, narrow-minded Muslims, narrow-minded women, narrow-minded blacks (who think that Obama is not black enough!) And if I started 'squire-ing' around an eighteen year old sex Goddess, nibbling on her ear in Starbucks, guess what narrow-minded look you would give me (age breeds narrow-mindedness, too, no?)

As to your experience with people looking at you because of your race: attitudes shift. I offer this hypothesis: the problem with blacks today is more cultural-ism (economic) rather than racism. I must admit I shrink when I first see a young hip-hop black guy walking down the street. Not that I'm afraid he is going to marry my sister, or beat the shit out of me, but because I'm afraid he is going to give me 'attitude', or whip-out a loud CD boom box. My prejudice (pre-judgement) is cultural, not racial. I like the quiet life; and a lack of 'attitude'...from any source.

By the way,I also shrink from 'white trash' and urban women with 'attitude', too. And they shrink from me when they find out I teach acting. Life is often a case of 'like' attracted to 'like'; and repulsed, either mildly or strongly, by 'other'. Cultural diversity is a goal, an ideal...it is rarely a seamless reality. (It's similar to why they teach 'sharing' in kindergarten: because most human beings do not have an actual proclivity for it.)

But when someone first talks to you, my friend, their pre-judgement is soon banished; they see your 'professorial' manner, and soon discover they are talking to a man who reads History and speaks without a 'black' accent. The true fact of the matter is you are not black; you are a shade or two darker culturally non-black (at least measured against what we traditionally call 'black culture'). (Tell you the truth: you sound so good, I would have introduced you to my sister. But she has a prejudice about being a non-millionairess.)

I'm not saying the world doesn't suck...prejudice (mine yours and included) is (1) about ignorance and fear of 'the other'. (2) Prejudice transcends race. (3) It looks backwards instead of forwards. (4) The quickest way to end it is to end it. A person who spends all his time looking backward trips on the better path ahead.


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