Perhaps many suffer from racial bias. But is this simply a matter of black and white – a person is racist or he is not? Is it so simple?

racism

My take is – most people might harbour various degrees of racial bias in one situation but not in another.

Then, there are those who see everything in black and white (and all shades of the rainbow in between) – full stop!

And, there are some – bless them – totally devoid of bias. Truly, this is a Gift!

Care to share your views?

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41 comments

  1. I think we regurgitate what’s within. Being what society has labeled as ” black”, I’ve had my taste of racism, and it can go both ways. I agree with some of the others on HIS STORY this is a new story compared to how long we have been here. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t tell the whole story. We should want to know Accurate stories about each other but I don’t think the media will allow that. There’s money, control and wealth based off these differences. And as long as that is the case we will keep evolving. We are not exempt from evolution. The worlds not perfect but it must evolve.

    1. Thank you for your visit and contribution.

      You are right – accurate stories are important but ordinarily, not available.

      Even in court cases – criminal or civil – where stories are related when fresh, stress tested and judged, miscarriages occur. What are the chances then, of arriving at the ‘truth’ where regular history is concerned.

      Peace,
      Eric

  2. I think it is based on fear and insecurity, because when a biased person sees something different, it makes them feel uncomfortable. They can not recognize themselves in the other person, see them as another human being who is only different because of their color, orientation or belief.
    I think some are so hard wired to believe that, that it is impossible to change them. Tolerance must be taught at a young age.

      1. That’s why we always have to hope that the future generations don’t fall into that same pattern. It’s a hard one to break, but we have to keep the hope up and start educating better. The more communication and exchange the better.

  3. This world is so diversified made up of different races and people that I can’t say it’s a black and white thing. However I kinda like a mixed society.

    1. There is a belief among certain groups that the ultimate and complete mix will produce a lovely shade of gold – now how lovely is that, huh 🙂

      And I’m sorry for my late reply – sieving through and catching those I missed 🙁

  4. In my view, bias and prejudice are human traits. May not be welcome ones, but traits nevertheless. Since we cannot start from scratch at every encounter, we form opinions based on our experiences and learnings. If we see a tiger on the street, are we going to go up and talk to it or run away? Is running away a bias against the tiger, labelling it as dangerous?

    1. You’re so very right, Ankur my dear friend
      And I must apologise for this late reply 🙁

      A baby will reach for a cobra, until warned of the inherent dangers. A cobra I can understand, but when a child is told to fear or worse hate people because they are different – it takes us to another dimension.

  5. Thank you everyone for your visit and comments – quite thought provoking. I’ve learned some too.

    I’m rushing to meet some writing deadlines and also meeting with out-of-town visitors all week but will return to reply to all comments by next week. I respect my commentators and therefore will not post flippant replies. I need the time to consider and fashion my replies.

    Thank you for your understanding and all good wishes,
    Eric

  6. I believe that racism, at its worst, is the choice to hate. I know too many people like this. At its best, racism is a kind of blindness that is subconscious. You can behave in a racist way without knowing it, even if you are vehemently opposed to racism with all your heart. I know liberals who say and think all the right things, but don’t notice that their lives do not agree with their beliefs. I pray I am not one of them, but it is what the Bible calls the deceitfulness of sin. We are all of us fools at one time or another, and it is foolish to take your own heart for granted.
    And by the way, it is good to renew contact with you. It is a bad time in the States, and may be getting worse. May God’s protection be over you all in Singapore.

    1. Hello Carrol,

      You’ve posted a comment after a long lay-off and I reward you by being shoddy with my replies. My apologies.

      You are right – at times, we all exhibit racist streaks. I do it too, but have a technique which helps me.

      I try to relate people to my loved ones. When I see my friend, or daughter or son in others, – it is so much easier to view them in a positive light. And whatever bias I harbour, simply melts away and I engage them at a nicer level.

      It works for me – perhaps not for others.

      Peace,
      Eric

  7. Congratulations, Eric, you spawned a good one here – great discussion! I agree that, even in today’s world where racism is taboo, all kinds of discrimination exist. Some, no doubt, is handed to us by peers and parents. I also believe that much is due to personal flaws in the person practicing the racism. If a person lacks self esteem distain of others might be used to boost that person’s own feelings of self-worth.

  8. Racism may have been cultivated in us since young. I remember parents used to tell their children, “if you are naughty, I will ask the “bayee” (a colloquial for a Singh), to catch and sell you off”. Perhaps in the parent’s mind, it is just a light warning, but how this is implanted in the child’s mind can be scary.

    1. Yes, our teachers (parents included) are not without blame.

      And in a multi-cultural country like Singapore – the government uses race based policies for social engineering. Scary and let’s hope it does not blow up on our faces.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

  9. We are all unique individuals, all given choices to love and respect another one whatever their color, faith or background or lifestyle. It is what God wants of us, to love, because He loves us, unconditionally. It is the way that Christ loved, and wishes us to love because His death was for all, and loves all. He does not expect us to pic and choose those whom we should love, but to love all, unconditionally as well. Sometimes, that is hard when people do the things they do to hurt, cause injury, yet without that kind of love we cannot expect to have the kind of joy or forgiveness for those who hurt us.

    1. Beautiful Joyce,

      Simply beautiful – what you say. It is no wonder you have such a strong and long happy married life.

      Wishing you all the best of many more joyful years,
      Eric

  10. There are those who relate specific color to beauty and unable to see beyond the features, shapes and charisma. Our bias leads us to group, classify and make judgement, which in instances can put us totally wrong.

    1. Hello Windy,

      When we discuss racism – it is fashionable to blame white people. But I have seen and even experienced racism from people of all shades.

      Luv and hugz,
      Eric

  11. Given events currently here in the USA and the recent election results and all the hate crimes occurring, racist people show up everywhere now. The most terrifying realization is that many are very racist and do not even know it.

    1. That is sad, Juliana,

      And when a “leader” makes fiery statements, it sort of legitimizes people’s abhorrent opinions and behaviour, I reckon.

      Peace,
      Eric

  12. I have read your writing…I have read the comments…all of which I subscribe to. When I reflect upon my early life as a child…and my experiences in the world…and NOW, that I am old and gray—out of seemingly nowhere comes a horrible racist thought! And I think, where did that every come from? This thinking takes me back to my childhood and the things that were said and done…and what WORDS I heard…and then ALL of the reading of HIStory…Once I was an avid reader of history—then I realize how it was HIS STORY…and how WHITE it was. I have lived in different parts of the world in my late 20’s—-for about 5 years—I lived with many different people of different nationalities…and, I experienced racism as well…I experienced hatred not only for my skin color, but for my country of origin. This I can certainly understand—USA known as the “Policeman of the World.” It angered me so that we are viewed as a military machine…unfortunately, the politics prove it to be true. Returning to the idea of racism—I think, every culture, every race, has its racial biases and views. I think it is a consequence of survival…as one of the women remarked: “rape or pillage”—not only of our bodies, but of our safety nets. I have a Black American brother-in-law and sister-in-law…and they are the kindest people of my relatives. They each took care of my sister and brother, respectively, as each succumbed to a genetic disease that ultimately took their lives. Yet–some of my other siblings—STILL had no room in their hearts for them! Unbelievable to me! I am from a family of eleven. My parents were not racist—and I often wonder, what happened to some of my siblings! Then I think of the conversations of my early youth—the horrible laughter, sneers, ridicule, sexist statements of the countryside population. It appalled me then…and still does. I think education…opening ourselves up to others…experiencing the lives of others…all of this can only help us be HUMAN to each other…that is all we each want in the final analysis…to be ourselves…to be accepted for who we are. WHY we fight each other so much is so sad!

    1. Dear Jane,
      I have read your comment twice. You have touched on many aspects here and your comment deserves a well thought response. Hopefully, I am up to it. As I am rushing to do something, I plan to return and re read a third time and post an appropriate reply.
      For now, truly I am impressed by your words.
      All good wishes,
      Eric
      P/s I have yet to respond to the other commentators too.

    2. Dear Jane,

      I’ve finally found some time to review your comment – and really don’t have anything worthwhile to say for you’ve said it all and posed some valid questions too.

      If I may share my experiences – my wife, Lisa, is Chinese and I am not. Her parents accepted me readily; her siblings too after a while – but not some of her in-laws. Not even after 36 years!

      On my side, it is even worse – most of my siblings cannot accept my wife – purely on racial grounds. And this had caused serious rifts in my relationship with them.

      Even my mother could not accept my wife. But a few days before my mother passed away, she finally said – Lisa is the best daughter-in-law.

      Kinda late, I thought, but no regrets on my side.

      Sad but that’s how it is.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

  13. I think there are degrees of racism and bias. I have my own biases based on personal experiences but knowing that, I try to put that aside and see the pertain aside from race. I think does concern me when I hear racist cinema because it perpetuates hate and I think there’s plenty of that in the world already.

    1. I share your sentiments – there are degrees of racism.

      One guy (a Chinese Singaporean friend) said something and it stuck – he is happy sleeping with “them” but will never marry “them” – girls of another race.

      Is he any better than another who will not even date one of “them”?

      Degrees of racism…

  14. Racism is just one of the many isms we file our preconceived ideas into. People have always been wary if not downright terrified of ‘the other’, often with good reason when ‘the other’ was only there with the intent of rape and pillage. We still all have our ideas about how an individual is likely to behave on what they look like. It becomes blind prejudice when we keep those assumptions intact even after getting to know the individual and having proof that our ideas were wrong. Just think how many men smile indulgently and wink when we talk about sexism. Too many people just believe what suits them.

    1. You’re so very right, Jane,

      As for men smiling when sexism is mentioned – hmm, interesting. Fortunately none in my circle of friends but then again, I weed them out of my circle.

      I believe that whatever people believe in is true – for them!

      But there is always a greater truth and that comes with wisdom born out knowledge, experience and reflection brought together in concert.

      Peace,
      Eric

  15. We all have biases which we build from experience, fears and expectations. When we’ve embraced our biases ( either knowingly or not ), it’s hard to move from the generalization to the individual. And of course with the individual, the golden rule
    should prevail.

  16. Racism is evil, but so is the discrimination within colour and societies based on the level of society we are assigned to. Even the West has its caste system. Too bad we can’t learn to love each other for who we are.

    1. You are so very right, Ian
      Having traveled and lived in Asia – you have seen how a person’s level in society leads to extreme discrimination even by their own race.
      Peace,
      Eric

  17. You hit the nail on the head with your 3 examples of people when it comes to racism. The problem we have in society is we have people that deny that they are racists yet their actions tell otherwise. I believe this is an issue that has always existed and always will. I believe crushing the ideology of racism can help reduce it but we will always live with it.

    1. I don’t know how I missed your comment – very sorry.

      You’re so right – people can be in denial mode.

      And I’m afraid, you may be right again – racism or mutations of it will always exist in every society.

      Cheers,
      Eric

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