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If you have to preface what you say with, "I am not prejudiced whatsoever," guess what? You ARE.

Lyrics to "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

This was my first reaction to a video for California's prop 8 that showed a little girl singing a song about how gay marriage is wrong. She couldn't have been more than eight. Ironically, she was Asian, and as you can see, "South Pacific" was about prejudice against Asians.

Sometimes I think we haven't grown very much at all as a society.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
That video must have been hard to watch. Was it put up by someone for or against Prop. 8? Do you have a link?

Hate is conditioned, and no, people haven't changed in thousands of years. I really don't expect them to anytime soon.
Oct. 18th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
It was for. They want to make an amendment that will allow them to repeal the gay marriage law in CA.

I'll send you the link. I won't put it up here. Believe me, it's not the only one. I've seen tons in the last several days. But when I see children that young being taught to hate and fear people who are different, it makes me sick.

I added the lyrics to a comment there, too.
Oct. 18th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Ah. I thought maybe someone against the proposition was showcasing the proponent's awful bias.

I kinda thought you didn't want the link here.

Seeing the conditioning of children is particularly gut wrenching.

Good for you for adding the lyrics. I wonder how lambasted you will get for that... I want to see the link, to follow that thread, should there be a thread to follow.
Oct. 18th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
Ah. I thought maybe someone against the proposition was showcasing the proponent's awful bias.

Well, yes, that's how I found it.

I don't care how I get lambasted. I said my piece there, and I'm done. That's how I roll.
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
>Well, yes, that's how I found it.

That was what I expected.

I didn't think you'd care whether or not they lambast you, but I get strangely curious. I read along the comments for a while on some of these youtube posts on Prop. 8, until I could stand it no more. Didn't take long.

What a nasty election this has become.
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
I admit, I've popped back in a couple of times to see if anyone said anything. A sick kind of curiosity we have, isn't it? Either that or we're gluttons for punishment.

This election has become VERY nasty. Especially on that issue in CA. I pray it fails.
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
Defeat seems to be leading in the polls, although the poll results may be inaccurate. http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/1299870.html
In any case, I cannot imagine the majority of Californians voting yes here.
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
I pay little attention to polls.

What scares me is the 61% in 2000 who voted to overturn gay marriage. The vote was struck down as unconstitutional.

Now they're trying to amend the constituion with prop 8.
Oct. 18th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
a thought experiment
To say, "I am not prejudiced whatsoever," is more likely an unthinking remark, more than anything else. Everyone is prejudiced about something, whether intentionally or not. Whether they admit it or not. Everyone.

That being said, however, for one person to call another person prejudiced just because of a disagreement on an issue -- any issue -- well, that is rather prejudiced in itself, don't you think? To judge someone based merely on an opinion, one way or the other, is not being open-minded and tolerant.

But then, I suppose that depends on which definition of the word "tolerant" is being used. Whether your dictionary was published in 1967, or in 2007. But lately it seems that tolerance is a one-way street.

Does that make me a hate-monger to mention that? And if it does, am I not being hated by the very fact of being called a hate-monger?

This is all rhetorical, by the way. But I am tired of all the name-calling going on in this political cycle, on all issues, by all parties. I fear for my country if people can't talk together about differences without hurling insults at each other. Whether provoked or not.
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: a thought experiment
I love rhetorical questions. They make me think of how to argue effectively, so here goes:

Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view - Obi Wan Kenobi, Return of the Jedi

Anyone who can admit they are prejudiced is taking the first step towards conquering it. Before they come to that realization, however, they truly believe they are right and not prejudiced. Thus, if they say they aren't, they ARE. What's worse is that in this case, as in many other cases throughout history, people use religion to justify their opinions, sometimes with disastrous results.

Consider these quotes, cited in a book I'm currently reading:

From a letter, written in the seventies by a gay Christian, to the editor of "The Other Side," an evangelical Christian magazine:

Less than two months ago I was told by a sincere Christian (!) counselor that it would be "better" to "repent and die," even if I had to kill myself, than to go on living and relating to others as a homosexual. (A friend of mine, told something similar by a well-intentioned priest, did just that.)

Another quote:

The teaching of the youth to appreciate the value...of the community, derives its strongest inner power from the truth of Christianity....For this reason it will always be my special duty to safeguard the right and free development of the Christian school and the Christian fundamentals of all education.

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? That was Adolph Hitler.

I'm all for talking reasonably with anyone, and I will be the first to admit I have not always done this.

I try to avoid stooping to the level of hurling personal insults and worse, threats. It is difficult sometimes, but I know that approach does not fix anything. Sometimes I just have to walk away and agree to disagree (but I always hope I've at least "planted a seed.")

You looked up the word tolerant. Did you look up the word prejudice? I don't feel that someone who has a different opinion from mine on every issue is prejudiced, but I feel very strongly that anyone who disagrees with me on THIS issue is.

I firmly believe that homosexuality is NOT a choice; people are born gay. If someone can convince me otherwise, then I'll consider the notion that I, myself, am prejudiced. I have examined the facts; I've prayed; I've talked to and read about people who are living it, including my own brother; I have looked inside my own heart. I believe I am well-informed. By definition, a truly well-informed person cannot be prejudiced.

I've heard some well-reasoned arguments against my opinion, and in one case in particular, I completely understand and respect their right to disagree. I still think they're wrong (and yes, prejudiced).

Because I believe homosexuality is a natural occurrence, that people are born that way, the right to marry, regardless of sexual orientation, is not an issue of morality or of preserving "traditional values." It is an issue of basic human rights.
Oct. 20th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Re: a thought experiment
Well, my thought experiment was regarding the use of language, not the particular issue(s) that could be discussed...

Actually, I didn't look up the word tolerant. That was mere rhetorical flourish on my part, based on how I have experienced the change of language over the last 40 years. But as I have more dictionaries around than I know what to do with, I'll toss in some definitions of prejudice:

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary--
1. Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind, formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination. It is used in a good or bad sense. Innumerable are the prejudices of education; we are accustomed to believe what we are taught, and to receive opinions from others without examining the grounds by which they can be supported. A man has strong prejudices in favor this country or his party, or the church in which he has been educated; and often prejudices are unreasonable. A judge should disabuse himself of prejudice in favor of either party in a suit.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1967)
2.a.(1): A preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an opinion or leaning adverse to anything without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge...(snip)...c: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics.

My newest dictionary went to college with Em, so this last definition comes off the internet:
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.

On the surface, those definitions are very similar. But with the passage of time, the word prejudice is being used more and more in a negative sense, to the point that its current use is almost exclusively as a pejorative. From Webster's 1828 usage as "opinion without facts, sometimes unreasonable," prejudice has morphed into "irrational hostility." That is the objection I have with the use of the word prejudice in most cases. It's become more of a slam than a descriptive; as a way to silence an opponent, rather than to understand him.

In all of those definitions, though, there is the sense that prejudices are largely based on an individual's unthinking knee-jerk response; that they have not thought seriously about the opinions they hold. But to call someone prejudiced who has done their homework and come to a different conclusion.... well, that is not helpful to any discussion. Unfortunately, prejudice has to be determined on an individual basis, one person at a time. Which takes a lot of time and energy... which leads to making judgments on a group based on a couple of examples...which leads to... well, prejudice. And I use that word in the older sense.

Perhaps my argument is just with the changes in the English language over the years, in which case I really need to just chill. ;-)

Or perhaps I'm over-thinking this. Which is also entirely possible. *sigh*

(please excuse formatting messes, if any!)
Oct. 20th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Re: a thought experiment
It's late, but I will sleep better having replied. ;)

My Webster's from 1987 leaves out the third definition, going closer to the 1828 usage.

n. An opinion, favorable or unfavorable (more often the latter), formed without fair examination of facts; bias; v.t. to bias; to influence; to injure.

It has been my experience whenever I've heard a statement prefaced by "Now, I'm not prejudiced, but..." something very prejudiced followed. As you said in your initial response, "I am not prejudiced whatsoever," is more likely an unthinking remark... That's my point, really. I want people to think about why they say that. I theorize that people subconsciously realize that their opinion is not based on solid facts.

And yes, I'm talking about a specific issue here. In this case, cannot fathom anyone coming to a different conclusion having truly examined the facts as I have. I will listen to someone else's opinion, however, and will ask how they came to it before explaining why I disagree.

I also believe that ignorance leads to fear. "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering." - Yoda

I love Star Wars wisdom. ;)

So, yes, prejudice can lead to hate. This is simply my opinion, though, since it is not defined as such specifically (although "to injure" is hardly an act of love).

On this issue, the pro 8 ads are definitely using fear as a motivation to get people to vote their way.
Apr. 7th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: a thought experiment
I'm being anonymous, because I can't be bothered to sign up. Sorry about that.

I suppose one way we can tell the difference between prejudice and reasoned opposition is the quality of the arguments. I'm happy, for example, to disagree with people about abortion. I've heard reasoned arguments from both sides, laying out a series of points grounded in facts leading to a "therefore". Fine. We may disagree, but we can accept that both sides have thoughtful and considered opinions.

However, I am yet to hear an argument against same-sex marriage which doesn't boil down to "My imaginary friend doesn't like it". That's prejudice.

Apr. 8th, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
Re: a thought experiment
I'm being anonymous, because I can't be bothered to sign up. Sorry about that.

No problem. That's why I leave this option open.

The arguments I hear are littered with so-called facts that have no factual basis. Yet they insist they are true.

Thanks for your input.
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I saw that video. It made me feel sick. And terribly, terribly sad.
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)
That is very sad that people teach their children to hate as if it is a family value. I also truly believe that your sexual orientation is something that you are born with. I can't imagine taking a precious, innocent mind and trying to twist them into blinded angry haters. More people need to be raising their children to have compassion, to think with their growing minds and to respect all life and know that we are all connected in this world together. I only hope that someday if I'm blessed with children that they will carry on a message of kindness and compassion well after I'm gone. It just may be up to the next generation to really save the world. I do have hope that they can do it, if we all start laying a foundation now.

Edited at 2008-10-19 04:04 am (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
I'm sure if you have children they will be compassionate, because they will emulate you.

You're right. Each generation must do its part to make this world better.
Oct. 19th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate that. {{hugs}}

I found this video and it make me cry, its beautiful and I loved seeing the faces of people in love sharing the happiest day of their lives together.


Also crossposted to my myspace.
Oct. 20th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
Wow, the ladies who had been together for over 50 years finally getting married. That is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.
Oct. 20th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
Yeppers, I thought that was really wonderful. I was just imaging what it would be like to be with someone for 50 years.
Oct. 20th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
You may still live long enough to find out. Not so sure I will, though. ;P
Oct. 20th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
It would definitely be one of my ideal goals to make it to 50 or more.

I think it would be great if we both did. :-)

So here is to emailing each other congratulating one another on our 50th aniversaries when we are little old ladies. We can reminisce back on these times and have a giggle. Maybe have a reunion at Shaker Village were everyone gets together, brings their families and looks back on those wild days of our youth. (because I think we are still living them)

Edited at 2008-10-20 03:51 am (UTC)
Oct. 21st, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I would be pushing 100 even if I met someone VERY SOON. ;)3

(And I don't plan to start a family at this stage.)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 20th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
Me, neither. ;P
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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