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Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed.

Why do people still perpetuate prejudices against someones skin color, orientation, sex, origins, accents, age, etc?

When I think of prejudices I think of comedy shows. I laugh at the fact that it is so ridiculous, but not how true it is. I sometimes find it laughable how there is still an over abundance of people who still take their prejudices that target a group of people so seriously. I find it appalling that in the so called "United States" that prejudice is still so prevalent. I personally live in a large city, so I see and hear many things, but it shocks me that it can get worst if I were to travel to more rural cities. I ask myself, didn't these people learn about the strife that Martin Luther King Jr with the Black rights movement, Harvey Milk with gay rights, Susan B. Anthony and women suffrage, and other people and events in history like the Japanese Internment Camps?

Shouldn't we have nipped this human rights issue in the bud awhile ago? Sure, I am aware that other parts of the world may be a bit different, but looking in a localized sense, prejudice still exists and it seems still somewhat prevalent in the US. Why do people still perpetuate these prejudices/stereotypes? Does it root from history, human nature, politics, comedians, or from day to day interactions between people like me and you?

Let's dig into this issue and possibly figure out some way to lessen prejudices/stereotypes within our immediate environment. Think globally and act locally.

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Closing Statement from Dyed All Hues

Thanks for all the participants! There is still a lot that may have been left out or not discussed, and I hope to have a chance to exam these aspects again in the near future, but a lot of thought has been generated.

I hope that passers-by will be able to gain something from this conversation.

Enjoy Life, Peace, and Love. Good Day to You.

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    Sep 30 2012: Well... Inherent in your attack is that stereotypes, are not true. Many stereotypes, are just objective, experimented on observations, one should be aware of. Men are less interested in jewels and flowers than women... If you wish to buy a man a gift, it would be good to be aware of this. In devout muslim homes, a man and woman who are not married are not to be left in a room alone together, knowing that can save you an akward moment.

    Indian people, are unlikely to approve of eating beef, so don't cook it if a family of Indian people visit. There is a thin line between appreciating one anothers cultures, and stereotyping people. There is also a thin line between a culture which is different, and one which is abusive. Many deeply religious cultures, have an abusive history in their treatment of women... Should one not be slightly predjudice against that cultural practice, though they still appreciate the value of every individual?

    It's a weird world we live in... where you can say nice things about one anothers culture, but you can no longer comfortably poke fun, I don't think that is healthy. If we have strengths as cultures, and sexes, we also have weaknesses. Learning more about our own weaknesses, makes us strong. You only learn from criticism.

    Finally, to lash out at comedy... a source of finding joy and humor in our clashes of culture, rather than the hatred and violence we are more accustomed to... Is a step too far. Comedy clubs are dark rooms, with alcoholic 2 drink minimums, a comedian can say anything he wants on stage, as long as it gets a laugh... and nothing crosses the line. People who work for a living are spending 3 days wage to laugh for an hour, and comedians should be much more highly respected, and highly paid than they are in todays society. There is no room for people offended by obscenity, at a late night comedy club. It's where people go to release some of their darkest emotions, and work out their strangest thoughts.
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      Sep 30 2012: Hi David,

      Yes, they "should" be aware that stereotypes are objective, experimented on observations, and are not true, but many aren't aware, but who needs awareness when you got your television, computer, and other glitzy distractions! =D

      Comedy, yes I think that they take a lot of intelligence to be able to examine issues and be able to laugh about it, but to what extent should we allow it to trickle down to ignorant and gullible people?

      I am stuck in between the thoughts of humor and ignorance. Like south park is hilarious and witty, but for some it can either be something to copy or for some it is pure truth, and pure truth being extremely different from just true.

      Yes David, I admire your funny comments (not saying your comment is funny, but addressing your comical ability), but sometimes they can seem a bit like you are trying to convince your audience with humor that what you say is true. I think funny is good, but when should the funny end and the reality set in, also does the people looking through the rose colored glasses have the ability to take off in order to see a version of reality without the spin?
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        Sep 30 2012: You actually misunderstand... I'm saying that a lot of stereotypes are true... They are good things to be aware of. I'm not interested in flowers or jewels... I'm a guy. I'm not going to serve beef if a friend of mine from India happens to visit. Is it predjudice, and stereotyping to act on this information? Sure... Plenty of Indian people living in America love beef. I'm sure there are plenty of men out there that love getting flowers (from their boyfriend :P)... No generallization can be applied to the individual.

        But, where do you draw the line then between being aware of, and respecting one anothers cultures, or sex, and stereotyping?

        I would actually suggest something entirely different, when it comes to comedy. Smiling, is a submission sign in monkeys... Laughter, in human beings, is a submission to the truth. We laugh, because everything, and everyone in the world, in a position of authority, has told us to believe something... but in our own personal lives, we find it to be complete utter nonsense... So when someone else expresses that feeling on stage, we submit to our shared experience. We lose an argument internally, and it tickles our brain.

        Many South Park episodes are a fantastic example. The one about "There's a turd in the punch bowl", where all the men in America are involved in a giant conspiracy to pretend they don't want to sleep with women other than their wives... So they talk about how rich men like Tiger Woods, must be sex addicts. At the end Kyle learns there's no such thing as "sex addiction", and we all need to learn to control our vices.

        They actually show a science experiment, in which researchers try giving a male monkey a bunch of money, and see how he reacts... It rolls around in it, throws it up in the air, and starts humping every girl monkey... That's an actual experiment. UC researchers did that with bananas... and instantly the monkeys traded them for multiple sex partners. It's funny, because it's the truth.
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          Sep 30 2012: I disagree that stereotypes are true. I believe they have truths, but shouldn't be looked at as a stereotype and should be looked at as being well informed and considerate of another human being. I also believe there are trends in behavior within each specific culture, but believing that all Indian people don't eat beef and all homosexual men like getting flowers is being insensitive, though you are right to consider the cultural trends within each specific groups of people. I think we need to lose the stereotypes/prejudices because it marginalizes people who don't fit those stereotype or prejudice and it will make certain cultures feel a sense of superiority, while the others inferior due to their "cultural trends", not stereotypes.

          I am wondering if each type of "comedy" has its own effects and ramifications on society or can all types of "comedy" be used to expose the same idea?
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        Oct 1 2012: You wouldn't laugh, if you didn't secretly agree that you have shared experiences similar to the artist, contrary to popular belief.

        I didn't say all stereotypes are true, or that any stereotype should be applied to individuals, in fact I said the opposite... However your respons is exactly what I'm talking about. One mans being polite, and wise to the typical reverance Hindu people have for the cow... Is another mans marginalizing people who don't fit stereotypes.

        How does not serving meat marginalize? How does a girl not buying a guy flowers marginalize him? This is the problem... You take perfectly normal acceptable behaviors, that can be clarified with a simple "Oh no, I eat beef", or "Ya you can buy me flowers", and you turn it into this negative subjucation...

        Paying attention to different cultural norms, and patterns of behavior, can help you navigate social waters, and there is nothing inherently negative, or ill intentioned about it. People like to be aware of their surroundings, and the types of people they are interacting with. There are some rooms where it's good to avoid telling a funny atheist joke.

        There is something different, that should always be avoided, bigotry... lazy, violent, drug addled, etc... Those are not stereotypes, they're hate speech. They are always destructive, as those problems have much more to do with unhappiness, and poverty than any race or gender.

        However predjuding people in order to treat them politely and with respect, can make you look stupid, when you're wrong, but it's also a perfectly natural safety device.
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    Sep 29 2012: Some people perpetuate stereotypes because they actually believe they are accurate. Others do to fit in or to create a sense of belonging with a group of like-minded people. Some cling to and repeat stereotypes as a way of trying to make their group seem and feel superior (by ridiculing or subordinating "the other."). Others do this for self-serving reasons- political, social, or economic.
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      Sep 30 2012: Hi Fritzie,

      That is all very frightening, and if I didn't accept the reality of the situation I'd probably be overwhelmed and I'd be looking for my happy place right about now, but I am confident that change can happen and it someday will. I think that if more people can become aware of all the things you just listed, then that may be the beginning of a much needed paradigm shift? Any thoughts on how to spread the info Fritzie? Maybe flyers? =P
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        Sep 30 2012: The more people connect in positive circumstances with a diversity of people, the more stereotypes will be challenged.

        The less socially acceptable stereotyping becomes, for example in schools and neighborhoods, the less it should happen for social bonding purposes.

        In some countries, popular political and religious leaders could set a standard.
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          Sep 30 2012: Is there any current attempts at abolishing stereotypes/prejudices by setting standards from leaders?
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        Oct 1 2012: How about, say, Desmund Tutu?
  • Sep 29 2012: "Does it root from history, human nature, politics, comedians, or from day to day interactions between people like me and you?"

    No, not from human nature. Certainly not from comedians but politicians use these falsehoods to perpetrate their agendas and one of those includes keeping history alive. That is done simply by keeping the populace repeating history themselves and making sure to be the ones helping them by leading them along the way.

    It is true that these things are so deeply embedded into our psyches that they seem "normal", thus acceptable and familiar. But, as I am fond of saying these deep-seated convictions contain the word "convict' and thus humans remain prisoners of their own beliefs. But! They aren't their own beliefs because they have been embedded into the human psyche by others and with ulterior motives, motives that are downright evil. By religion, by politics, by government, by education and with the use of fear. Once there is a cause for creating inequality, it follows that poverty, slavery, crime, greed, war and death will follow as they are necessary in order for those in charge to keep their positions. So it is of the utmost importance to them to keep these kinds of divisive beliefs alive and well in the collective consciousness of the global population.

    "Lessen, we can do. There are laws against murders, bribery, rape, perjury, slavey and so many other evlis. But these evils still persist in spite of the laws."

    That is because laws don't solve problems and humans in charge are not interested in solving them. They have brainwashed everyone into believing they cannot be solved, that the causes cannot be removed and done away with and one very vivid example is the fact that so many attribute these problems to "human nature." It isn't human nature.
    It is unjust systems that cannot be made just and need to be done away with along with those who perpetuate them but the brainwashed masses worship the lies and they don't know or want the truth
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      Sep 30 2012: Hi Random,

      Ugh...norms.....how un-normal they are. Yes, I too feel that there a sense of the "system" keeping us well fed with lies. Sounds a bit like something a conspiracy theorist would think of, but I'm sure there is plenty of evidence in plain sight to uproot that conservative slander, I suppose? You are so right! It is not human nature, but it is a social construct, as many things are! Right about now, I really want to scream out curse words at those people in power, but who else would be screaming them with me? I'd just be a single crazy person. Ha!
      • Oct 1 2012: Hi Derek.
        I don't think you would be a single crazy person.
        I think you would be one of the sane ones.
        This world is very ill, insane even, and that mass of ill humanity imposes an incredible stress and pressure on those who are sane to become insane or mentally ill like everyone else, just to ease the stress.
        "Go into insanity like everyone else so you feel comfortable."
        I scream with you.
        Few listen but some do.
        One never knows when or who might hear the truth when it is screamed at them.
        An acquaintance of mine refuses to listen to me because of the manner in which I now speak to them. Ok, they're right to some degree but I have told them, "your house is burning down and you want me to wake or rouse you gently from your slumber, or else you won't listen, get up and get the hell out of there!"

        I don't do that all the time but nowadays we only seem to argue so rarely talk.
        I need more growth myself to rise above this weight that seems so heavy only because I have been choosing to carry it awhile.

        Gotta put it down.
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          Oct 3 2012: Hmm...that is a whole other social issue that could take years of research and discussion. I do feel you have a very accurate assessment though. One of my friends that came from Thailand told me that "LA is filled with neurotic and overly opinionated people; they announce everything, like I need to take a dump. We would never say that in Thailand. People are also so jaded in LA, it;s sad really." I laughed and agreed to most of his comments. I think that people are a bit neurotic and jaded, so monkey see, monkey do....I suppose that is what the children learn from their environments.
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    Oct 1 2012: Some have suggested stereotyping doesn't originate from human nature. I have to disagree.

    Human nature may be the MAIN reason stereotyping exists. Numerous studies (theories?) exist that show the human being's need to "belong" can override the individual's own "safety" and "security" needs. Look at history...many people join formal and informal groups that perpetrate discrimination against other individuals and groups. And the "belonging feedback" they receive from each other in taking these discriminatory actions can be a very strong motivator for them continuing to do so.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

    Remember, there is a difference between prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is a thought process and occurs in the mind only. It is not harmful to anyone else, and cannot be legislated against. But when those prejudices are acted out against someone else in a harmful way, that is when it becomes a problem. Laws exist to try to prevent that, and punish those who engage in it. Discrimination can be legislated against...and should be.
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      Oct 1 2012: Hi Rick,

      I personally don't see stereotyping as a issue affected by human nature, but I do agree that Prejudices don't need to be legislated. I also don't desire we make legislation on what people think, but I think what people think inherently and indirectly effects peoples behaviors and decision making. I feel that legislation against Discrimination is a good idea, but it doesn't necessarily deter people from acting in the mindset of prejudice, while telling the potential victim a nice lie. We all think before we act even if the thought is a split second or an unconscious silent consent. If thought can be taught then it would prevent a lot of unnecessary situations of Discrimination. It might also be helpful if this prejudice person were to talk to get more exposure in their area of prejudice so they can better understand and empathize with the group they are stereotyping.
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    Sep 29 2012: I don't think we can ever get rid of stereotypes unless the stereotype itself becomes commonly falsified.

    Stereotypes exists and so do differences of individuals, but what we can work on more is Acceptance of each other in spite of differences. Respect each other for our similarities and differences.
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      Sep 30 2012: Hello James,

      I urge you to reexamine the idea of stereotypes in respect to an individuals environment and upbringing. Stereotypes, itself is a social construct, and believing it as reality can be very dangerous and harmful. The generations that carry this idea that "it is what it is" mentality, may hinder innovations and a more rationale generation may never fruition. I do agree that we must respect each others differences as well as similarities.
  • Sep 29 2012: "Does it root from history, human nature, politics, comedians, or from day to day interactions between people like me and you?"

    It's actually all of them. Fact is, many of today's stereotypes are present subconsciously. When we discriminate against someone, it's our subconscious and "common sense" that is acting. All this discrimination has such deep roots that we now think it to be "normal". We see it all the time in our daily life reading history, watching films and comedians, reading books and interacting with others that all of this has become very "homely" or comfortable to us i.e. we have adapted to it and think it commonplace or routine.

    Another factor is that we humans, all of us, hate changes, whether it be in our society, ideals or in someone else. And as we have adapted to all this discrimination, we are frankly not really inclined to change it. Then there are the "conventional" type of peoplewho still rigorously believe in all this so they too are definitely not in a mood to change it. They feel this is right and modernisation is all wrong.

    But these people are really scarce because over th last few years, society has drastically changed. It's just us, we need to get out of this comfort zone of ours and stop being lazy so as to sincerely make an effort to ent these stereotypes.
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      Sep 30 2012: Hi Sachita,

      On your last sentence, I believe you meant to type "end these stereotypes" or "enter these stereotypes"?
      • Sep 30 2012: It was meant to be end. Sorry :)
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          Sep 30 2012: I ask so I can clarify, and no biggie, it happens. I suggest you read Random Chance's comment because his comment is some of what I would want to say in response to your comment and possibly more.
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    Sep 29 2012: I love the way you ended your opening statement: "Let's dig into this issue and possibly find a way to lessen prejudice/stereotypes within our immediate environment...."

    Lessen, we can do. There are laws against murders, bribery, rape, perjury, slavey and so many other evlis. But these evils still persist inspite of the laws.
    When someone knows what ought to be done and finds an excuse not to do it; or when someone simply chooses not to do the right thing because it is not convinient, the consequences of these is discomfort to other people. If people are free, it also means that they are free to make mistakes.

    But every society has the resposibility of making it clear that discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation is not acceptable. Just as clear as our disapproval of murder, bribery, stealing, and perjury.
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      Sep 29 2012: Though the context of the discrimination can depend too. Like if you were some guy in charge of advertisements and marketing, and you want to appeal to more black people, chances are, you probably wouldn't use a white person as the subject of advertisement.
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        Sep 30 2012: Hi James,

        I think it is the human affinity towards the familiar. As someone influential in my life once told me, destabilize the familiar. I think if more people could step outside their worlds, then they will see the clearer picture of the world. This clearer picture involves all peoples of the rainbow, and sometimes we should put on a veil of ignorance to truly see a better picture of the world.