I often ask myself if as human beings we really can live life without being prejudicial. It would seem impossible to be honest with myself and say that I am not prejudicial towards certain classes of people, or certain cultures for that matter. Does that make me a bad person just because I am honest enough to admit that I struggle with being prejudicial even though I know it is wrong? I think if I was able to force everyone to be honest with themselves for a moment, and then honest enough to be able to confess, that I’d find I am not alone.
We are told that we live in one of the most multi cultural accepting and tolerant countries in the modern world. I often wonder whether the spin doctors that come up with this shit have ever left Downing Street and the inner sanctum of Greater London. I wonder if a visit to the colonies would wake them up to the fact that right here within this wonderful home we call Great Britain it is difficult to find a Welshman, Scott or Irish person that does not hate the English. I wonder if they’ve ever realised that the English are frequently subject of discussions about how intolerant they really are. It is even subject of comedy as the likes of Dara O’briain and Rhod Gilbert make fun of the bitter rivalry between the nations of the Union Jack.
The biggest double standard comes from our oh so very political correct establishment in Whitehall. For if we are to follow the instruction of the government and community leaders, who preach tolerance and acceptance on the widest scale, then why is it that when it comes to accepting Neo Nazism, Communism, the fascists, Klansman or any form of extremist they are subject to immediate exclusion, ridicule and fall subject to persecution based on prejudice. Admittedly many of these groups are founded on the principal of intolerance or hate in the first place, and there is a social angle at the root of the treatment they receive. However my point is that if we expect these people to be tolerant and to lay aside their prejudices then shouldn’t we be leading by example. Double standards and hypocrisy are not the way to win a war of words.
When we examine history, especially the subject of religion we are faced with what I believe is the starting blocks of most prejudices. Islam will in no way at all accept that Christianity is a parallel religion, and Christians won’t accept that people are capable of making their own choice. Hindu’s will not for one moment agree that the Buddhists, Sikhs or Jainist’s are acceptable religions within their own sphere of influence. Then you have the pagans who won’t accept witchcraft, and Muslims that won’t accept Judaism. Within the walls of religion there is the greatest forms of prejudices and intolerance that society can point too, yet it is something that as society we are far too scared to even begin to debate or seek for a common ground that could lead to a peace accord.
On a personal level I find that I struggle with prejudice. If there is one thing that I have come to find intolerable it’s the whole class system that is so evident in modern society, especially evident here in Britain. I know and perfectly understand that it is an entrenched part of British culture, yet I find it so demeaning and irritating. The fact that a whole class of people look down their noses at people who are perfectly within their right to be where they are, doing what they are doing, and living the life they choose really makes me angry. In many ways, the so called upper class are infact a bunch of hypocritical, lazy, uncouth individuals who take their place in society to mean that they are entitled to be treated special. And we as the working or so called lower class seem happily to allow them to do so. It is a system that I fail to understand, and one that I defiantly seek not to become a part of.
Class systems exist all over the world, and you will always find the privileged at the head of the snake taking advantage of a hard working middle class and turning up their noses at the poor lower class. This through history again can be a pointer at a cause of prejudice. Class systems have certainly been at the root of racism. I know that through my experiences growing up in an African country where in many situations the white colonialists and indeed many people that chose to continue to settle in Africa after colonialism, looked upon the indigenous population as an intolerable mass to be segregated and kept out of society. This is unacceptable in any modern standard, and society pays the price for this intolerance even today. It will take many generations to forget the hurt of colonialism, even though it has a fact of history gone and unchangeable. The sad fact is that this class system which kept a majority in poverty for so long has caused one of the biggest issues of modern society. Racism in so many circumstances has become a trump card that a minority can now play over a majority anywhere around the world. For many years the world did not wake up to racism, did not see its effect on a marginalised people, and by the time it found itself ready to deal with the cause and effect, the flames of hatred had taken hold and raged in a insurmountable bush fire. The lessons that we should draw from this struggle should be learnt today before we have a total role reversal and reverse racism is allowed to destroy another whole millennium of potential here on earth.
Woman have for so long fought for their rights as human beings, that we can look back at another classic form of prejudice and the track it has followed. Any woman who reads this paragraph might find it irritating, and if you do I welcome your thoughts, but I write this thinking of a portion of the population that I see every weekend, and compare that in my mind to my life back in Africa. It is a funny thing to me that woman have struggled so long to become equal in recognition yet are the first to expect a traditional role in terms of dating and relationships. Of course this is not always the case, and there are woman out there today that seem to be perfectly happy to be the one to take the lead in the courting process. For the most part I don’t deny that woman should be given their rightful place in society. They are certainly not slaves of men nor should they be treated badly by testosterone fuelled bullies that prey on vulnerable women. However, if a woman wishes to be treated as the farer sex then in my opinion they should learn to be the farer sex. There is nothing attractive about a woman on an imaginary testosterone high. Having worked the night club industry for so long I have watched how modern woman have changed, and I miss my humble Africa where a woman was a thing of beauty to be admired and courted and charmed and respected and loved. How can you feel those things for woman who flaunt themselves as mutton dressed as lamb, drink copious amounts of alcohol, smoke, fight, use language that a trooper would blush at, crawl home along the pavement unable to walk after an alcohol fuelled night out, with little regard for their appearance, behaviour or safety. “How do you respect that?” I wonder to myself night after night as I leave the club and drive home watching this sad story play out. How are you able to not form a prejudice towards that kind of person, jump to conclusions about any woman that you might meet, wondering in the back of your mind if that is what they are going to turn out to be like. The most amazing thing to me is that it is not just the teens and twenty something’s that do it. I have happened to work for some classy establishments in my time and find that even mature, respectable woman seem to find it acceptable to carry on in this way. If that is woman’s lib then frankly you can stick it.
So I come back to my original thought. How on earth are we meant to live a life without prejudice? In this wonderfully PC world of ours, we are meant to teach the generation of tomorrow about acceptance and tolerance and learning to live side by side. Yet we carry out our daily lives showing our intolerance in our actions. Not only does this make it uncomfortable for the people around whom you display your prejudice, but children learn more from actions than they do from words. Take for example a gay person. Imagine a child growing up and realising as it does that its gay. First of all its probably learnt through its own experience in its family that gay is a totally uncool thing. So not only does the child have to go through the realisation that, “hell I have gay feelings!” but it also has to go through the mental trauma of trying to figure out how it is going to tell society that its gay. This is just one example of how we make it difficult right within our own homes to live without prejudice. Personally I don’t believe that we are ever going to be this wonderfully accepting race that we dream of being. Maybe in realising this fact and becoming more tolerant of ourselves as humble human beings with faults and imperfections then we might begin to make some sort of progress in learning to accept each other.