Prejudice with Pride . . .

We all like to identify with people, places and things in which we can take great pride.

We also equally deplore and denounce most forms of prejudice–when clearly recognized as such. What we may not recognize so clearly, however is that the biggest difference between the two is who has it! If it’s mine its pride; if it’s yours, it’s prejudice. Therefore the primary obstacle in eradicating the many forms of prejudice is recognizing and owning up to it–in whatsoever tabernacle it may harbor.

Some take special pride in excluding ourselves from others through membership in collegiate, social, fraternal, political and/or other exclusive organizations, yet become the first to yell “foul” or “racism” when others practice the same policy. There are also many who are taught from infancy or otherwise introduced or indoctrinated into various social, religious ethnic or other lifestyles for various reasons that can be perceived as prejudice. I seriously doubt that there would be objection to or other strong sentiments regarding “separation of church and state,” religion and prayers in schools or in open public gatherings, etc. if comparative religion could be taught from an unbiased perspective. Unfortunately this is most unlikely at the present stage of mankind’s maturity, coupled with the multiplicity of nationalities incorporated within most public school systems of today. This continuously graduates into the “One World” reality of all nations–but for language.

My first most appealing aspect and subsequent introduction to the Baha’i Faith was (and continues to be) its reverent inclusion (rather than exclusion) of former religious Manifestations and their respective Revelations and Dispensations, coupled with the fact that one must be at least 15 years of age before officially joining the Baha’i Faith (by free choice) and not through clandestine indoctrination. Also, upon entering most public school systems from first grade, oe is taught to pledge allegiance to the American Flag, denoting patriotism, easily misconstrued by some as superiority!

It all depends on who’s shuffling the deck and who’s dealing the cards as there is no one stupid enough to voluntarily deal a winning hand to someone who isn’t even in the game!

Marches and non-violent demonstrations have been and continue to be excellent vehicles to focus national as well as international attention to American apartheid as during the ‘50s and ‘60s, resulting in a barrage of doors being subsequently opened legally to Blacks. But there is enough blame to go around for the successive years that now follow.

Today, as we continue to meet and march, the pendulum is once again swinging in peculiar directions. Remember the Japanese who were the most hated people on the planet by the US following the December 7, 1941 bombing od Pearl Harbor? Less than 50 years later Japanese/Americans were to be paid monetary stipends by the U.S. Government for their “humiliation” suffered following the Pearl Harbor incident. Not because the U.S. government loves them any more then than now, nor any better than the American Indians and Blacks from whom land and labor were respectively extorted for centuries to build this mighty nation! But because, while we’re meeting, marching and making verbal demands, the Japanese were busy pooling wits, wisdom, labor, genius and other resources resulting in that nation emerging into an economic giant commanding the respect of every nation!

Both Black and White Americans may do well to reassess priorities and voluntarily sacrifice the foolish pride and prejudices with which we have preoccupied ourselves for centuries–leaving us with nothing left to take pride in—but our prejudices!