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BNP and Racism - Ed's journal
BNP and Racism
OK so the BNP/question time discussion has triggered a bit of debate today in the office.
The subject of discussion - everyone is deep down a 'racist' - we're deep down hardwired to reject the things that are different. Fight the people from other tribes, and purge the 'deviants'. That's what worked when we were cavemen, and it is what drives 'racism' and 'bullying of goths' and the like today.

That caveman instinct is one we have to overcome - the 'natural state' of humanity is to be prejudiced - be it racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist or just generally rejecting 'alternative' culture.

I'm not entirely sure what I think. I think I can see the logic - there is something to overcome, but with a little bit of thought we realise that sort of thing is a relic of the past - racism is as obselete as going and clubbing mammoths to death for food.
4 comments or Leave a comment
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: October 23rd, 2009 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
We are prejudiced only in that we (the human animal) inherantly make preliminary judgements about something before finding out what it actually is (we pre judge). What i think matters is that some of us bother to challenge that judgement to see if it is correct or not, and others just go with the initial decision sure in the knowledge that their pre judgement is correct, whether this actually is or not. To say otherwise would destroy the very foundations on which they live their life.

I heartily agree with the people who say that Humans live in a delusion of their own making, they see the world around them and interpret it how they want.. a lot of the time before actually checking if their initial assumptions are correct, or even just skipping that part and going straight for the "i am never wrong My assumption is fact" and never allowing themselves to challenge that assumption. Mostly i think because of a a basic and underlying paranoia that if they make a mistake then they are weak and they can never be weak.

to be fair I am never quite sure why the humans have stayed a vaguely cohesive group... our grouping instinct must be mildly stronger overall. :D
wolflady26 From: wolflady26 Date: October 23rd, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's even more than racism - it's me-ism. It's really hard to get people to think outside their own preconceptions at all. Most people will make a snap judgment of a stranger based on everything from skin color to clothing to attractiveness to facial expression. And most people are quick to jump to negative assumptions.

This is true even of non-strangers. How many people are likely to attribute a snippy response from a coworker as being a sign of bitchiness, jealousy, or aggression as opposed to thinking maybe that person is struggling with something difficult in their lives?

Preconceptions happen all the time, but I think that we can overcome them by being open to alternate perspectives and fighting to keep our first assumptions from becoming set in stone.
queex From: queex Date: October 23rd, 2009 10:24 am (UTC) (Link)
The 'fight the outsider' idea is a little dodgy- most evolutionary psychology is on rather shaky ground and this is no exception. In this case it's actually trivially easy to find animals and microcultures (more rarely the latter these days) where this is simply not the case. So, it's an oversimplification and, I suspect, rooted in its advocates' desires to have justification for their own prejudices.
purp1e_magic From: purp1e_magic Date: October 23rd, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that yes, we are all prejudiced. Even those of us who try our best to approach things with an open mind. Racism, sexism, agism, homophobia etc... these are places where society at large has identified the problem. But what about prejudices against chavs, stupidity, Americans, girls who don't get dressed up, men who wear too much hair gel, people who speak with a broad accent, 'the kind of people who...' anything. Sometimes we have to have it pointed out to us that we're doing it.

We use social stereotyping to make sense of the world around us. We need to be able to glance at someone or hear them and make judgements. It's how our brains and bodies are designed. Someone who can't do that can't function well. You have to be able to see the young woman in a jogging suit and trainers and go "chav". Otherwise you can't make your social responses fit properly. But on the other hand, you also need to be able to say "Oh, whoops. Not Chav, PE teacher."

When you constantly automatically categorise everyone you see and judge them based on it it's very easy to become intolerant. "That group as a whole doesn't do things as I do, or see as I would." quickly becomes "they are wrong."
4 comments or Leave a comment