I’d like to emphasize before I get into this how much I hate white people.
That being said, I think it’s important to understand that people aren’t inherently bad. Criminals aren’t born criminals etc..
The way I, and a large portion of the psychological community, see it, people are products of two things commonly referred to as nature and nurture. There’s a certain degree to which genetics (nature) plays a role in determining personality and mannerisms, but I think there is a larger degree to which a person’s environment (nurture), affects development.
Nurture is kind of a misnomer, because our environment has, for the most part, been far from nurturing. However, the environment, as it is, has been most callous, in my opinion, to the minorities of the world. It’s a statistical fact that minorities, at least in America, succeed at a lesser rate. This cannot be, and is not, an inherent affliction of people with certain skin colors. It’s a social complex that is a big part of our (ahem) nurturing.
That complex has many roots. I believe, the most pertinent of these roots to this issue is the human tendency to compartmentalize, especially under socially stressful situations.
The youthful mind doesn’t like change or differences. We cry when we are deprived of the warmth of the womb, we are upset when our parents exhibit unexpected or unknown characteristics, and, certainly, we don’t deal well with differences amongst our peers.
So, when people encounter differences as noticeable to the senses as race, they are highly susceptible to categorizing (stereotyping). And since often times these encounters occur in socially anxious situations, the categorization tends to be negative as a result of one’s fear or discomfort.
Mentally, people assign categorical roles to things (like people) based on their categorical prejudices. These prejudices oftentimes lead those who are assigned such roles to fulfill them. It’s very much like peer pressure, but instead of the goodie two shoes being pressured into smoking weed based on common usage, the fat kid gets pressured into eating gross things because simple-minded people think fat kids like to eat everything. In the same way, minorities tend to fall into certain negative roles based upon common, negative expectations.
So, choice is a funny thing. Do people choose who they are? Or do social and inherited factors lead them to a certain self? I think it’s a little of column “A” and a little of column “B,” but behavior amongst the various types of people should definitely be looked upon with more compassion and understanding. Hopefully with a little mindfulness, we can nurture our environment—our society—into a more nurturing entity. Whuddya say?
Oh yeah, Just kidding about that white people comment. Sorta