Prejudice is a normal and natural condition. Every society has its preferences and beliefs regarding cultural issues, so every society in this sense is ‘prejudiced’. Much injustice can be done if this preference (prejudice) is directed against religions and races. We know that many societies are not democratic and prejudice raises its head in international situations, causing wars and other distresses. Prejudice is a common element and many/most people experience and practice it. While we commonly think of black/white conflicts that are inspired by prejudice, it exists and has existed between races and religions ‘forever’. While it is a popular social focus, it exists in every ethnic stratum of our world and national society.
I know of a white girl who was discriminated against by native girls of a Pacific island because of her ethnicity. How can we deal with the realities of this universal problem in a way that will enable us to achieve ‘success’? First of all, discrimination is good. Recognizing our differences is very practical. The popular politically correct ‘color blind’ proposition is not the answer. It is unrealistic for people to pretend that they do not recognize racial differences. Differences should be celebrated and not condemned.
I have a Chinese friend who lives in Malaysia. She tells me of the various holidays that the several cultures celebrate. If it is Buddhist, Islamic, or Indian holiday, everyone is invited to come to their ‘open house’ celebrations. The cultures are rather evenly represented among the populace so one single culture or religion dominates and everyone ‘gets along’.
Touching on one of the repeated statements of this book, our maturity eventually takes us to a place where we realize that all people are ‘ordinary’. Everybody has their differences from other people, so ‘everybody’ is ‘ordinary’. This is the ultimate solution to our racial issues. Exercising our ’freedom to choose’ is part of our liberty. Being free does not mean that we are all the same and there is nothing wrong with recognizing our differences. There is no problem with like people wanting to live together in a community.
The problem arises when one group believes and practices social behavior that implies that are ‘better’ than another group or that one group owed something to another group. We must remember one of the key propositions of this book regarding discovering who we are - If you are to be the most ‘successful’ that you can be, you must thoroughly know that nobody owes you anything that you do not also owe to them. We may not agree on our religious beliefs, for instance, but each group owes the other group the same respect and privileges that we claim for ourselves.
One popular solution is to go to another place where you are accepted. For many thousands of years, whole ‘tribes’ for the lack of a better word, have migrated from country to country and continent to continent in search of a better place to live and work and raise their families. One group, the Vandals, migrated from Europe to Africa and back to Europe again in this search. America – the land of opportunity symbolized by The Statue of Liberty, has stood before the world as the last best hope to achieve ‘success’ since 1886. If you live in the United States or another ‘free’ society and you still ‘suffer’ from prejudice, either racial, religious or some other attribute? What can you do then?
You can’t wait for society to change, because it won’t – no matter how hard you try. Ancient civilizations suffered from prejudices in a much more severe form than we experience. Slavery was very common among all races and people could be killed for trivial offenses. Actually, we are probably the most prejudice free society in history.
Everyone is ‘prejudiced’, or at least they should be prejudiced. If ‘prejudice’ means holding an attitude or position different from those held by other people, you are perforce ‘prejudiced. If people didn’t hold opinions and attitudes, they would not be discerning of values. They wouldn’t recognize the blatant differences that challenge us where we live. It is absolutely necessary for people to be ‘prejudiced’ if they are to be ‘successful’ people.
How can we succeed in a prejudiced world? The first step is to recognize the truth. Other people are prejudiced and YOU are also prejudiced. People may not like you because of some distinctive that you carry. It is also true that you do not wholly accept all other people as equals. The ideal is for all peoples to accept the rights of all other peoples, first of all, to exist. This is the root prejudice extant in the Arab/Israeli conflict. The same element to a lesser extent exists in our other social conflicts. An extension of this prejudice is: ‘You should not be allowed to live in my part of town’. This extends into other social areas of our life. ‘You should not ‘exist’ as my (supervisor, teacher, business partner, etc.’
Summing it all up; It is natural and probably good for people to chose marriage partners, for instance, from their own racial of religious group but not recognizing all others as equals in a broader sense creates strife where non should exist.