Please don’t feel offended with the title above. If you believe you don’t have any potential of being a racist, I apologise. But I have an argument why I chose that title for my entry today, and I will explain. But please wipe those angry face. Want a cup of tea?
My first term studying Intercultural Communication, I came across this Racism Theory which although it wasn’t as scary as it sounds, it does give you goosebumps whenever you think about this theory very carefully. So really, you might need a cup of tea. Or coffee. Or wine. Up to you, really.
If AK is still visiting this blog every now and then, she might hate me for bringing this “level of attitude” which might reminds her a little our good days on the University of Pain and Hell. But, come on, who doesn’t want to talk about cognitive, affective and behavioral attitude at their blog?
Paralleled to the “level of attitude”, Racism theory is broken down to three different level. The first one is the stereotype which works in the cognitive level of attitude. The prejudice which functions in the affective level of attitude. And the last one is discrimination, which of course operates in the behavioral level of attitude.
Stereotype is a set of beliefs that someone has towards other culture. You might acquire a certain stereotypes from the media, from the school, from where you life, or from your friends. You can get a certain stereotypes from your own experiences, or the experiences of people you know. While stereotyping, you are trying to connect the dots, and makes sense of the “odd” stuffs that you don’t understand.
Prejudice is different. It’s the feeling towards certain culture. Usually in the bad way. Generally it happens because of you have experienced a lot of bad things with certain cultures (I am not talking about my personal experiences, I promise!), and you believe that the bad stereotypes about a certain culture is true, then you start to develop unhealthy feelings towards it.
Discrimination is the dangerous level of racism. Trust me. Not only you have an idea about something, and develop a feeling towards it, now you act upon it. It could be sweet if it’s related to romance (or could be creepy if it’s the stalker kind of guy/girl), but it’s definitely wrong when it comes to discrimination. Racial genocide is one extreme example of discrimination, but whether you’re willing to admit it or not, it still happens around you. Got your application rejected JUST because of your religious preference, or getting a different treatment at work JUST because of your sexual orientation, or being called names when you walk on the street JUST because of your skin colour? Yes those are discrimination.
I wasn’t talking about racism at all? Well… UN doesn’t have the definition of racism, but they do have a definition about racial discrimination, browse yourself and CMIIW. The level of attitudes that I have presented above was how racial discrimination could develop from stereotype. But, what disturbed me a lot was… NOBODY could live without stereotyping.
Our culture, wherever you are, have beliefs, even if you decided that you’re a non believer. Our culture has the sets of beliefs that is inherited from generations to next generations, which contains their view towards people from other cultures. You don’t have stereotype about other people’s culture? How about stereotypes about your OWN culture? Stereotyping is the way people simplified life. Of course people are different, they are unique but, to survive we need to categorise to make things in order. It is in our brain. It is in our mind. It is in our culture. And it is automated.
And who the hell can decide what other people feel about something? You can’t stop someone from having a prejudice towards other people. Not that I support prejudice but, I promised not to make this personal but, you don’t know what some people has experienced in their life. Their generalisation and prejudice might be their only defensive system to protect them from having the same bad experience again.
Of course there are some people who develop stereotypes and prejudice merely because of ignorance, but… Hey are we the judges here? I am not 😀
But discrimination… well… I don’t know. Of course because of the past experience and the feelings that developed towards these experiences, some people might have certain preferences with which culture they want to get involved with. Does that mean they’re discriminating people? I see grey area there…
So… are you still being offended when I say you have the potential of being a racist?