What is the extent of prejudice? How far will it go until the entire world realizes that it is wrong? Prejudice continues to infect and destroy the dreams and minds of many people. A human being is not born with prejudice. Prejudice is taught to children at an early age to make certain that their father’s beliefs continue. By the time a child reaches adulthood, he or she might have the same hatred of their fathers. Prejudice has gone through many extremities. In a book called Black Boy, a black woman is thrown out of a clothing store beaten and bloody for not paying her tab. In the movie “American History X” a boy is taught at an early age to hate anyone who isn’t a white protestant. Stereotypes are used today to discriminate against others. A restaurant owner with stereotypical views charged a black man a 50% tip without his consent. When the owner was confronted by the customer the owner replied saying “black men don’t tip well.” Without discrimination, putdowns, stereotyping, and name calling, this world would be a better place. Instead we have prejudice. Prejudice is wicked and evil. Prejudice is a spurious occurrence that continues to confine those who deserve more, and infects the world with its hatred. Prejudice promotes violence and anger towards others who are different.
Richard Wright’s Black Boy writes, “They got out and half dragged and half kicked the woman into the store. White people passed and looked on without expression. A white policeman watched from the corner twirling his nightstick but he made no move to help.” Throughout the early 1900’s people tolerated much more hate than they do now. The reason the lady in the quote was beaten was because she had not paid her bill. What is really distasteful is that people walked by without noticing the woman simply because she was black. Even a policeman observed this incident and didn’t lift a finger to help her. Instead the officer arrested her for being a drunken woman and disturbing white folk. This is outrageous! White people didn’t care and black people were afraid to intervene. The blacks were fearful because of the attitude that the next time it could be them. Blacks are forever at risk simply because of their dark skin. Prejudice makes an environment unsafe and almost impossible for people of color to exist in harmony with those of differing views.
The Movie “American History – X”, is a neo-nazi movie that describes the spicy topic of racism and the skinhead movement. It describes a young boy named Danny Vinyard who grows up to believe that anyone not a white protestant is someone of pure evil. The boy’s brother Derek kills two men for breaking into his car. The brother goes to prison and Danny is left subjected to racial and ethnic hate crimes. He is led to believe that he should not trust anyone. The brother is then released from prison and because he is a changed man he helps the boy realize how he can make his life better. Unfortunately the boy is helped too late and in the end pays the price for his hate by being killed by a black boy in a restroom at his high school. If only the boy would have realized the stupidity of his hatred sooner, he might not have been killed. But the brother was successful in teaching others that prejudice is wrong. The movie has been successful in depicting the impact prejudice has had on many lives. The director of this movie, Tony Kaye has influenced many and his efforts are to be commended.
Prejudice does not require violence to be successful or to have an impact on the community. In Miami, Florida at the Thai Toni restaurant, owner Hirotomi (Toni) Takaradan was accused of racism. Toni made a comment that he did not believe to be racist. He added a 50% tip onto a black man’s bill. He said that black people don’t tip well. The Black man was appropriately outraged at this action and pursued legal action. As a result the restaurant was taken off many of recommended eateries list and although the owner denied that his actions were in any way racist the community supported the statement of the customer. Seemingly little incidents often evolve into bigger disputes and reflect a culture or environment that is racist and riddled by stereotypes and prejudice.
There is no one reason for prejudice. Ignorance and hate contribute to that toxic thinking. Prejudiced behavior in people is a response to a lifetime of beliefs passed down generation to generation. To eliminate the prejudice in society, people must be tolerant and examine their own beliefs and ways of thinking and operating in the world. They must look beyond their own histories and skin color and listen carefully to those who have been harmed. We as a society must learn from our mistakes. We are required to make this world a better place. Our future and the future of those who follow us are counting on it.