look at this picture.. what if I told you he was black? What are the first assumptions that come to mind. What if I told you he was white? What would you think then? Why does this even matter? The other day I was in the car with my mum and she saw a black man riding a bike, his hair was unkept & he was wearing a beenie. Out of nowhere she said “druggie”… I was infuriated by her remark. Who is she to judge his life and to say that he is on drugs. Because he’s riding a bike? Because his hair is unkept. She has no idea what is going on in this mans life, & within 5 seconds of seeing him from a distance she judges him. He may have been having a rough day – in todays economic climate everyone is struggling & he may be right at the bottom of this vicious cycle. But then again, now I’m judging…
Why do we as humans are so quick to judge others but then be in denial of our own situation?
There was a psychological study conducted on the factors of addictive behaviour, namely on attributions
(internal or external – what they blame their behaviour on). A group of smokers were asked to describe WHY they still smoked & they blamed it on other things such as the environment or peer pressure. Then they were provided with 4 fictitious scenarios of other people who smoked. The same participants were then asked why these other people still smoked. They blamed the people & said they had “low self-control” ..
The amazing thing that this study revealed was how people judge others. When asked to evaluate their own situation they were quick to blame it on something outside of their control (external attribution style) but when asked to judge other people in the same position as them they blamed the person & said they had no self-control (which would be an internal attribution if they were to blame themselves). It’s a defence mechanism, “saving face” – something I’ve talked about before.
Don’t be so quick to judge others – everyone may not have gone through what youve been through, but everyones still had shit happen to them in their life.. Even those little posh white kids that were raised in countrysides with multi-billionaire mummies & daddies & their own horse named Bob.
What is the psychology behind racism & prejudice? What is it that can cause such hateful feelings towards a person or group? Let me explain in lay mans terms. I’m only explaining the racism again MINORITIES here.
Humans are governed by groups. Groups control almost everything we do & though we like to think we are individual & we are alright by ourselves, we have all been influenced by a group at one point. There are too many people in the world for us to form an opinion on all of them individually, we form stereotypes of certain groups. Stereotypes & prejudice are not to be confused as being the same, though they are similar. Stereotypes aren’t always negative & usually hold a kernel of truth as they are based to some extent on observations. But let me not get side-tracked. The problem with racism is that, though it can go both ways, it seems to affect black people and other ethnic minorities more because of the simple fact that they are just that. A minority. Based on the psychology – as humans, we want to know how to act around certain people etc. The process of grouping and stereotyping I mentioned before is made a lot simpler here because if a group is small already, i.e., a minority, rather than splitting them into smaller groups and sub-categories, they are all looked at the same way.
Another reason is the concept of the “in-group vs. the out-group”. Like I said before, humans are to some extent governed by groups. When we find a group we identify with, we feel loyal to them & this is known as our in-group. Anything outside that; rather than being split into different groups, i.e., “we’re against this, that & the other group”, all other groups are clumped into one massive group, the out-group. To you & your group, the police is just as bad as that group of bullies at school or whatever. Anything done to the in-group is usually over-exaggerated and made a big deal out of.
We can’t expect racism to just end. We haven’t had enough time to get to that stage, however, it’s not getting any better either. A survey done in Britain in 2003 showed that 31% of people openly admitted to being racially prejudiced. The number seems low, however, this is the same as it was in 1987.
The main problem, in my opinion, is a lack of understanding. When I moved to where I am currently living – I noticed the lack of ethnic minorities & although Britain is becoming a very multicultural place, some places have not been exposed enough. From the perspective of a white person, they may not understand what it feels like to be discriminated against because of something that is out of their control, i.e., skin colour. That is not to say that only ethnic minorities get discriminated against, fat people may get bullied, difficulty finding clothes etc. However they can change things about themselves. You can’t do anything about the colour of your skin or your heritage.
so what is the black cycle? There are certain negative stereotypes associated with being black. To name a few these include, violence, ignorance, stupid & loud. These stereotypes are instilled from a young age via the media & maybe prejudices from parents, other children at school etc.
Let me give you a scenario. The stereotype here is that black people are violent, confrontational and argumentative. Let’s say someone passes a black person in the street, its 2 in the afternoon & as they walk past, they hold onto their bag tighter. The black person may notice & get angry at this form of discrimination – they may confront them & start arguing. Things may escalate & police may get involved. The whole situation could have been avoided. The black person didn’t have to make such a scene, but then, the person shouldn’t have reacted in such a way. They have no reason to be afraid. Now arising from this situation, the black person may have gotten arrested, and all the stereotypes are reinforced in the eyes of any speculators.
A common problem these days is employment. Ethnic minorities are very under-represented in employment. However, it most cases, most people do want to work, jobs are just hard to come by. There is more pressure on a minority group as their family may not be as wealthy as others. Some people do not NEED a job as badly as others. If employers are prejudiced about hiring black people & they don’t give them opportunities, this may lead to other behaviours. A mother may need to support her family, however cannot get any work, so may turn to easier ways out. Fraudulent and other criminal activities. Young people may turn to selling drugs. In turn, the stereotype is fed. Arising from the criminal activities, they may get arrested & now they have a criminal record, it’s even harder for them to get a job & the cycle continues.
This is where lack of understanding comes in again. It’s easy to say, “oh, just get a job, the rest of us have to do it”, but it’s not as easy as that. Let me give you a personal example. A friend of mine has been looking for work for over 6 months. She has been vigilant in her job hunting and although she can find vacancies, she never gets call backs or interviews. She even came to the area before moving here to hand out CVs. She’s black by the way. 2-3 weeks ago, one of her friends started looking for work. He’s white. In his 2 weeks of job hunting, he got an interview. Similarly, another of her friends, also white, has received 4/5 job offers in the last 6 months, 2 of which she didn’t call back after she had completed trial runs. You can’t say that is pure chance.
My friend has no current source of income, not even her family. While others are complaining that they don’t have money to buy alcohol or to go out partying until their parents give them money the following week, others don’t have ANYTHING coming from their parents & hardly have money to have a well-balanced diet.
Some people don’t even want to work, they just want the money for leisurely activities, while others, such as me & my friend actually want to work.
No-one can tell me that racism isn’t a problem. & this whole idea of playing the system is bullsh*t as well.
Anytime I have talked to someone of the older generation about it, they say, “that’s the way life is, you just have to play the game”.. It seems that only a certain type of black person is acceptable. Well-spoken, well-dressed etc. Why should they have to conform to such customs? If a white man was a “skinhead”, these are just a “small proportion” of white people, but when a black person does something wrong, their behaviour is seen as a reflection of the whole race.
This post has gotten way too long & I’ve barely skimmed the surface, but I strongly encourage you to watch the video I linked above.
I hope everyone reading this has had a lovely day so far, because I plan to fuck it up.
I envy everyone who lives in large cities, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds. I hope this post opens your eyes to what is going on around you & I change you’re perception of the way you see things. For those who are not aware, we live in a world run by the white man & we have been, and still are being conditioned to hate anything that is not white.
It starts from a young age. Apparently, in some schools in London, children are no longer allowed to describe white children as “white”, but must call them “peach” & if they don’t they get in trouble. There is no equivalent rule for black people. So, from young kids these days have the idea of white people being like a peach. What are the connotations of a peach? Nice, sweet, fruit – healthy etc. What connotations are associated with black? Death, decay, evil, sad, depression. It may seem like nothing, but as I described in my post “are we an ignorant generation?”, these seeds are planted in our head & they sprout in the subconscious. Their self-esteem and sense of self-worth drops. But all this psychological talk is for another day. Watch this space – “The black cycle”..
Let me tell you the events that unravelled in the last 24 hours.
Incident #1 ~ I had a little drink up in my room – few drinks, 5 people, my room is slyly sound proof – the flats on the opposite side were having a LOUD kitchen party, music blaring. At my university, we have a Campus Watch, sort of like security. So, 11 o’clock, we were drinking, listening to music, none of my flatmates had a problem with it – some of them even joined in. So, at the same time, in the accommodation where I live, we have a bar – on this particular day, they were having their weekly night, so there was noise from there also. Around 12.30, a group of friends came, 5-6 Black boys. The music turned down cos I was sorting out drinks for them, talking etc etc, 20 minutes after they arrived – Campus Watch knocked on my room door. Not the front door of my flat .. MY ROOM. They said people were complaining about the noise. Bullshit, I have been blasting music since 9 o’clock, & you couldn’t even hear it from outside my flat door. The weekly night at the bar wasn’t even finished & people wanted to complain about my little get together? Campus Watch were watching my flat until 5am.
Furthermore, after everyone was told to leave, in the car park they saw a car that had dents all around it. They started laughing etc, & one of the Campus Watch security guards tried to accuse them of doing it. He then chased them all the way to the next college & kept harrassing them, saying they were suspicious & he needed a name then he would let them go. I came out shortly after & started arguing with him & asked why he needed a name – why couldn’t he just check the CCTV.. I ended up giving him my name.
That aside, the event that really put the icing on the cake was, the following afternoon, I had a dentist appointment. On arrival I went to go & sit in the waiting room, filling out forms, my friend (who is black) accompanied me & there were a lot of people in the waiting room. I ended up sitting next to a primary school child, no older than around 7. As soon as I sat down he started squirming and fidgeting uncomfortably in his chair. I didn’t pay it much attention but eventually he had slid off his chair & was sitting on the floor in front of his mother, who was sat opposite us & 3 other children that were there had all huddled closely together. I didn’t think much of it, I was too busy with the forms etc. But when I left I realised what had happened. My friend had noticed too. Now, I’m not fully black, I’m mixed race but I currently have braids in my hair. It upset me that such a young child had already been conditioned to be prejudiced in such a way. What did he think I was going to do?
I currently live not too far from London, but the area is very quiet & there are very few ethnic minorities. From day 1 I noticed that walking around the city centre, I would get a lot of stares & people often held their possessions tighter when I walked past. I haven’t experienced such behaviour in such a long time, I used to live in Southern Germany & my family ended up moving practically to the other side of the globe from the abuse we used to receive.
Racism is not dead. Understandably. It has only been 2-3 generations since the Civil Rights Movement etc., and there are still some elderly people who are not used to the sudden burst of multiculturalism. Of course, racism is not exclusively directed at black people, though they do seem to be targeted a lot.
Anti-racism does not mean anti-white, there are a lot of white people who are against racism, it’s just a few bad apples that spoil the rest. Look at Trayvon Martin. if you are unaware of the situation, this video may enlighten you. Trayvon Martin Shot, Killed By Neighborhood Watch