Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

Many like to say to say racism and prejudice don’t exist

But the thing is, I know they do. I know because despite my intellect, I sometimes do very bad things.

Twice, in just one day, I did things that I know were wrong. Once, I pressed the button that locks the car doors. Later, I held on extra-tightly to a little bag that had my cigarrillos, bank cards and phone.

Both times I did that because of the appearance of the people who were in my immediate vicinity. I’m embarrassed that’s my reaction,  but it is my reaction. Why can’t we say that out loud? How can we fix it if we don’t say it out loud?

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19 comments on “Many like to say to say racism and prejudice don’t exist

  1. roughseasinthemed
    June 22, 2015

    Is this what you mean?

    I realised how incredibly racist I was one day in a car park in Newcastle. A tall rasta guy approached me. I was petrified. I looked round. There was no one else to be seen even though we were in the city centre.

    I wrote this seven years ago … https://cloudsmovingin.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/you-dont-come-from-round-here/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hariod Brawn
    June 22, 2015

    Many like to say they seldom, if ever, lie too; yet hypocrisy is part of the human condition it seems. Are you certain that your reactions went beyond mere common sense? Where does reasonable inference end and prejudice begin? Perhaps the answer depends on a whole host of qualifying factors in the environment which, on the spur of the moment, we have no time to calculate. It is natural to trust our body’s intuited reactions under any circumstances we (correctly or not) perceive as potentially threatening, for what other choice is there?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. appletonavenue
    June 22, 2015

    I don’t think your actions were racially motivated, but simply precautions based on gut feelings. Did you lock your doors because the man was black, or because he looked like a derelict eyeing your expensive watch?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. davidprosser
    June 23, 2015

    I certainly don’t see you as racial or prejudiced for those reactions.Wherever we are we have to assess the dangers to ourselves and /or our possessions. If you know for sure you chose to lock the car door or grasp your bag tighter for no reason other than colour then yes, you’re wrong but I’d be willing to guess there were other mitigating factors. A crowd of people not behaving with respect towards hose around them, people who are looking in the windows of cars as they go along, people who look out of place in the environment.
    We all take time to adjust to the people in an area new to us and may even strike up an acquaintance later with the very people who worried us, but for now self preservation is perfectly natural.
    Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory
      June 23, 2015

      As a woman I err on the side of caution irrespective of race or colour, and like David says, you pick up intimations of danger at a subliminal level based on far more than just the colour of someone’s skin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        June 23, 2015

        My intimations of danger might be a bit exaggerated. I don’t like it if Mike wanders away and leaves me alone in a town centre or a discount supermarket.

        Liked by 2 people

      • acflory
        June 23, 2015

        Only if it’s unfamiliar or all the time?

        Like

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        June 23, 2015

        Unfamiliar 🙂

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        June 23, 2015

        Toddlers also experience anxiety when left in an unfamiliar place (like a new preschool). You can hardly say that they have a prejudice against anyone. It’s called “separation anxiety”.

        This reaction is not universal to all children. My kids don’t care when I leave them at a new school. They seem too excited by the new people and toys in the room to even bother to say “goodbye” to me. But I witnessed tears and clinging to parents many times with other kids.

        I think the reaction to new and unfamiliar things is very individual. I cannot say that there is some behavioral pattern encoded in our DNA common to all humans like those newborn reflexes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        June 23, 2015

        That’s a very interesting and academic way of calling me a toddler…

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        June 23, 2015

        Well, I didn’t call you a toddler. Besides, why would that be offensive? Do you have prejudice against toddlers? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 23, 2015

      It’s certainly not just race. I know it’s terrible but teenagers in hoodies make me nervous too, whatever colour they may be under those things. And people playing loud rap music in their cars make me nervous. And I do recognize that an older woman with blue rinse doesn’t make me nervous. And a nicely dressed middle-aged white woman doesn’t make me nervous; especially if she’s carrying a nice bag.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. john zande
    June 23, 2015

    In SP I had a thief protect me from a thief… Odd moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. agrudzinsky
    June 23, 2015

    My son’s school is located downtown. They rent a part of a church building. The church is running a shelter for homeless people next door. There are all kinds of characters loitering around. The children are instructed not to pick anything from the ground on the street because you are likely to find syringe needles laying on the ground. When I leave my car for 5 minutes each day to drop my son off and pick him up, I lock the car and remove anything that may look valuable from the car seats. I don’t think I have a prejudice against homeless people. Simply, more than once I’ve seen car windows broken to take that purse left on the seat. I don’t feel guilty when I lock my car. I don’t associate these crimes with any particular group of people. These crimes are done by white people as often as by black (or so it seems to me — I did not look into statistics).

    One day my wife was picking up our son. She saw a man approaching the minivan. She hustled the kids into the car and hurried to lock the door and leave. Her actions were based on the appearance of the man. His pants were down exposing his youknowhat, he was mumbling something and it did not look like he was aware of where he was going and what he was doing. Call it racism.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Helen Devries
    June 23, 2015

    I tend to take precautions if I don’t like the look of someone….nothing to do with colour, more about how their body language.

    Liked by 2 people

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