Prejudice

I am struck by how powerful negative messages can be when they appease entitlement or false beliefs. Just thinking about the concept of believing in a superior religion, sex, or ethnicity feels strange to me. Biology and genetics have been used to try to prove a superior type of human, namely the white man. One can say this is out of ignorance, but there must be more to it. When Europeans first discovered the African content, they saw the native Africans as  inferior.

Religion, philosophy, and science have been twisted by man throughout history. This is why I believe it is important to be a skeptic. Even so, skepticism is not fool-proof. After reading Even the Rat Was White: A historical View of Psychology, by Robert V. Guthrie, I learned that even psychology has a racist past. Science is not protected from false ideology or false belief. I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose. I learned a lot from the book about where psychology started, an account that you do not usually find in the typical psychology textbook. In part this is because we don’t like to remember the negative experiences of the past.

I feel that the most important message from the book is that diversity is crucial to a healthy society. Now, this is not literally stated, but the book shows how science was stymied from racist assumptions. The attempt of a  lot of white scientists to “prove” the inferiority of African-Americans is likely based on their homogenous upbringing. I would hope that most people today would be appalled at such a notion as one race being inferior. When a person grows up in a homogenous environment, they can form judgements or beliefs that are inaccurate or false. That is why I think diversity is so important and why I am happy to see the U.S. population changing in a more diverse direction. Hopefully that will lead to a more diverse representation in government and the private sector.

Racism, homophobia, and sexism still exist in the U.S. and the world. However, diversity presents us with an opportunity to reduce prejudice. I think that part of why racism was so strong in this country was due to old beliefs based on white superiority. It was also supported by beliefs about heredity being stronger than environment and that European white heredity was superior to other ethnicities. The history of science is not pretty, but that is due to white men who twisted science to fit their own beliefs. Thanks to the effort of African-American men and women, psychology made an important shift away from racist beliefs. You should really read Even the Rate Was White if you want to learn more about the contribution of African-Americans to psychology.

I believe humans to be naturally progressive. Most of us want to grow and improve ourselves. While some do not like societal change, we really don’t have that choice. Society shifts and changes naturally. We can change and improve society through progressive values. What was so inspiring to me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was his inclusive language. He wanted everyone to come together and fight against injustice. After all, equality is ingrained in the constitution of the United States, even if back then it meant equality for white men and no one else. We can decide to interpret the constitution as proclaiming equality to all people no matter who we are.

We cannot help who we are or who we love. More and more people, specifically of the younger generations, believe this. That is the hope we have to eliminate prejudice. While it may take time, I believe it is possible to live in a world without prejudice and discrimination.

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Getting Started in Minecraft

Just a short video for those who are new to Minecraft. I help you get a good start in a new world by showing you how to build shelter, so you will be prepaired when it’s night-time. This is part 1 and there are more videos to come.

 

The Fight Heard Round the Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am about to share something that may seem strange to write about on my blog, but I feel like I need to share it. Last night while I was playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, a girlfriend and boyfriend began fighting and everyone in the room heard it. Yes, I was hunting down some bad guy in an online multiplayer match and all of a sudden some guy starts yelling and a verbal fight ensues. The girlfriend sounded pretty surprised.

Basically, the boyfriend was told by one of his guy friends that his girlfriend was dancing with a man at a club. I get the feeling she had recently been with her friends at a dance club, discotech, or whatever you young kids call them these days! Anyway, the boyfriend was pretty upset, so I imagine that he believed his girlfriend was dancing in an inappropriate way with this guy at the club. To be fair, she denied any wrong doing the whole time and said she had been dancing with her girlfriends. The girlfriend also claimed that the guy who claimed to see her dancing with a guy at the club was telling lies in order to break up other couples, because he was jealous of them and didn’t like being single. She claimed the guy tried to break up another couple, giving their names. I’d call it, “if I can’t have a girlfriend, no one can” kind of attitude. It may seem farfetched, but I there are weirdos out there.

At first, it was really annoying. Here I am trying to get to prestige level 4 and now I have to endure this fight between two people, probably around their early 20s. But, after a while, I started becoming invested in the relationship when  she asked him, “Don’t you trust me?” I began to feel sorry for her. To me he was complaining about something that seemed overboard. So what if she had been dancing with another guy? Though I wouldn’t appreciate it if my girlfriend had been dancing with another guy doing sexy movies, I still wouldn’t have acted the way the boyfriend did. The mature thing was to calmly talk about it and give her the benefit of the doubt. Based on her reactions, she seemed genuinely surprised at his accusations. How does he know she was NOT dancing with her girlfriends instead of some random dude? He trusted his guy friend more than his girlfriend, which seemed strange to me.

The more the fight went on, the more defensive she got and I didn’t get the impression that she was being dishonest. She was either being honest or was a really good actor. I felt like speaking up and saying something, but I wasn’t using my mic, rarely do I actually use it. Besides, it wouldn’t have been appropriate to intervene, it wasn’t any of my business and yet everyone in the game could hear it. It was like we were apart of their fight. I wonder what the other gamers were thinking? I don’t think anyone was using a mic. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say he is a jealous type and even may have some trust issues. It’s difficult to say for sure since I don’t know them nor do I have any context of their relationship. Maybe she is a liar and has cheated before or maybe he’s just a big jerk. I know if I was the boyfriend I’d at least consider her side of the story. He was intent on believing his friend over her and was upset that she wouldn’t admit to any wrong doing. Well, what if she didn’t do anything wrong?

Thankfully, it sounded like just a verbal fighting match and there wasn’t anything physical going on as far as I could tell. I’d wager that things would cool down and maybe he’d come to his senses. I guess you can tell that I’m on her side! What was scary for me was had there been any domestic abuse, I would have been helpless to stop it. Even if I had my mic on, there’s not really anything I could say to stop it. Had I checked to see which PS3 account was hooked up to the mic, I may not have been able to tell if it was the girl’s or the guy’s. Sending a text message might have been inappropriate and it’s not like I can call 911 and tell them some guy is beating his girlfriend on Call of Duty.

The fight ended and whoever was playing shut off the game. This was all happening around 11:00pm. What would happen next? Ultimately, the realization was that I could do nothing to help, though I wish I could have. It was such a strange experience, it was like I was a researcher observing a couple in a science experiment. I wanted the boyfriend to believe is girlfriend, I was rooting for her. I hope things turned out ok for them. Maybe she will dump this guy, if he can’t trust her, why be with him? Or maybe after calming down he will realise that he overreacted. Then again, maybe he was right all along and he is going to move on. Who knows?

I guess you just never know what’s going to happen when you are playing an online video game late at night.