Sunday, March 20, 2005

A New Idea About Racism

In the course of writing a book, as yet unpublished, about prejudice and bigotry in our society titled, Pardon My Prejudice, I am continually amazed that, just when I think everything has been already said on the subject, a new thought emerges. Today's Los Angeles Times letters section has several critiques of a lengthy opinion section from last week [March 13] on racial problems in Los Angeles. In one particular response, the writer, Sikivu Hutchinson, intelligently describes what she thought was the problem with the Times' approach, mainly the cool disconnected view of white liberals regarding a typical inner-city seething den of issues related to disadvantaged minorities. Her reference to Barak Obama's contention is a short and profound answer to the question of my entire book: why is racism so easily prevalent in our daily lives. Forget about all the complex ethnic orientations and bigotry that comes from that--the core problem still comes down to what one person perceives as different from himself in his surroundings, on a totally superficial level--"If you look different, especially if you have a different skin color, you must be different, and maybe you're also not as good as me because you are different."

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