My skin colour is brown & my last name is Irish… Does this confuse you? It confused the majority of people in my city during my childhood.   

Being “prejudice” is having an attitude (positive/negative) and “discrimination” is behaviour towards others. 

 

I’m not sure where to begin. I was born and raised in Canada, but because my skin is brown, most of the people I meet for the first time assume I was born in a different country.  My parents moved to Canada when they were very young, and because of the prejudice and discrimination they encountered growing up, they chose to accommodate to Canadian life, rather than embrace their ethnic culture.  I grew up in a small city where the majority of people were of European decent.  A lot of the people I met throughout my schooling years were very ignorant.  I always felt “different” and that a piece of me was missing. 

 

In elementary school I remember being teased for not wearing make-up to hide my “imperfections”, being chosen last for games and class activities, feeling like no one wanted to work with me during group work, being the only visible minority in almost every single one of my classes, knowing I’d feel uncomfortable getting involved with other students or going to certain places, children making fun of me b/c they didn’t understand why my skin was a different colour, how I felt when other children made racial slurs directly to me, the prejudices I developed towards others based on their comments (direct/indirect) and actions towards me, how I struggled to “fit it” with others, preconceived notions I had of “others” and myself, being afraid to stand up for myself, being afraid to express traditional cultural views with others, the lack of culture in my life, how I often compared myself to others without realizing who I really was or who I could be, how being a visible minority led to fights (verbal & physical), how people didn’t take the time to get to know me, what I did to fit in with the culture around me, how I had to hide the pride for my ethnic background and how I felt like I had nothing in common with those around me.    

 

This is my experience with racism.  I’ve also experienced interracial and interfaith relationships with others because I wanted to.  Does that mean I don’t think that I’m prejudice against others? No, I have prejudice attitudes just like everyone else whether I publicly display it or not.

 

Everyone in this world, whether they believe or deny it, is prejudice.  As much as we think we aren’t, we are subconsciously and don’t acknowledge it. 

 

When I started university I got a huge culture shock.  I went from being a visible minority, to a being part of the visible majority.  It was difficult for me.  It took me a while to understand why people dress a certain way, why they cover up their skin or hair, the different greetings people used for each other, the different religious observations people were aware of and to change my preconceived notions of other people from different lifestyles & backgrounds. 

 

Even though blatant racism has decreases, there is still a lot of caution in regards to the prejudices people make of others. 

 

All my life this idea of “unwritten prejudice” follows me everywhere I go and sometimes has an impact on the decisions I make.  Some people think our differences bring us together, while others think it separates us.  There’s no definitive solution. We are who we are, and regardless of how we think or perceive things, not everyone has the same skin colour or comes from the same place, but does that really matter? What external influences in our environments have led us to have these preconceived prejudices against others? It makes me sick.

 

I know that people are ignorant everywhere, but when I have children, I want them to grow up recognizing differences and understanding that they exist.  People can be prejudice against others, but I think they should also acknowledge why they have those thoughts and understand that there is more than meets the eye.  How can you not “appreciate” the fact that differences exits? That’s life and no two people are ever going to be alike. 

 

 

Social Identity Theory states that many people form a social identity (also known as group identity), create associations based on nationality, gender, or religion. However, social identities can foster prejudice, discrimination, and intergroup conflict based on the “us versus them” phenomenon.

 

Is Ethnic Prejudice Too Ingrained Ever to Be Eliminated?

 

What am I being asked to believe or accept?

 

People who deny having prejudices still have negative stereotypes about and show discrimination toward ethnic out-groups. These negative attitudes run so deep in all of us that ethnic prejudice can never be eliminated.

 

If you’re not part of the solution; you’re part of the problem.

 

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