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Apr-27-2013 13:19printcomments

I'm So Prejudice

Not so easy is the path where I look at my own prejudices, and why I allow them to exist, much less to be expressed in action.

Prejudice
Courtesy: blue-point-trading.com

(SANTA ROSA, Ca.) - My wife must get tired of my constant outspoken prejudices. "Oregon People," driving Oregon's 55 speed limit in California where the speed limit is obviously 100mph. "City Folk," who come to the country and dislike our guns and constantly procreating animals and their enormous feces, people who have served in any branch other than the Marine Corps, Marine Corps officers and Marine Staff NCOs, Democrats, Republicans, Politicians, and the list goes on. There's just under 10 billion people on Earth, so it does have some limits.

Its so easy to be prejudiced. I mean, all I I have to do is look at someone who acts differently in any way than I do, and BAM! You suck, idiot.

Being superior is very good for the ego. It feels really good. I can pretty much do anything I want and I know I'm right. Its good a lifestyle, Right?

But the just other day, I found a flaw in my system. I was doing some agricultural project consulting for some clients of mine in rural Northern California. They were considering purchasing a large parcel of land and had the money, but had concerns about water, development and land use issues. I had driven around the property along some dirt roads, one of which the neighbors use as an easement to their properties.

The client decided they liked the property and wanted to purchase it. Excellent!

About two hours later, I got a call from the realtor. The seller had cancelled the contract. I couldn't understand why? There was suddenly talk of failure to perform according to contract, providing proof of funds, and canceling escrow.


In a roundabout way, it was expressed to me the reality was that the seller didn't want clients like mine living there, nor did some of the other neighbors, who had seen them inspecting the parcel.

To clarify, my clients are Asian. A mix of Thai, Mien, and Lao. Very sweet people who had been denied because of the color of their skin and perhaps even cultural differences even though, I'm fairly certain, the sellers had no knowledge of their culture.

I was shocked. I felt terrible for my clients and even debated if I would tell them the cause for cancellation. I didn't want to tell them, because I didn't want them to feel the way I did. I didn't want them to experience the heartbreak of racial discrimination.

I am Asian too. Well, half Asian. My mom is Thai, my dad is Caucasian American. I look very Thai, but I'm raised white bread as they come. I don't speak Thai because when I started school, they told my parents that two languages would hinder my learning. So I felt that even though I was not the potential buyer, being Asian, it touched me too.

I was heartbroken that someone whom I'd never even met, who knew nothing about my beliefs or ethics, might judge me and discriminate against me and others like me.

Oh, wait. You're saying, "But Phil, You do it too."

Yeah, I do it to. So after feeling victimized and sorry for myself, the dreaded time for humble introspection came.

I did the same thing. All the time. I wanted to judge them for being racist bigots. I can't explain how badly I wanted to judge them, dish out their just punishments, and have the bailiff remand them into custody.

And this is the part that actually hurt the most. I was them. I was prejudiced against just about anyone I didn't know. Maybe they only discriminated because of skin color, who knows? I discriminated for fun almost.

How could I judge them? I couldn't. It wouldn't be fair. I was getting a very large dose of my own medicine, distributed on a daily basis, ads with fine print and TV commercials included.

I should have had pens made that I gave out at my office saying, "Discrimina. Safe for daily discrimination. Ask you doctor is Discrimina is right for you."

So now what? Ignore it and go about the same path? Let their discrimination be an excuse for my rage towards people that, in my opinion, should have been eaten by lions, if we had lions. Maybe we could slowly introduce into the lions into urban areas first?

That would be so easy.

Not so easy is the path where I look at my own prejudices, and why I allow them to exist, much less to be expressed in action.

Talk about humbling and painful.


But I know in my heart there is little difference between my random acts of thoughtless discrimination and the racial discrimination that we experienced. There are those who might argue, but I think I am right. We have to approach all people, of all walks, with an open mind and an immediate acceptance in our hearts as a starting place.

Of course it does not mean let evil people prevail. Really, I'm not sure what it means. All I know is maybe some of us need to take a cold hard look at how we view ourselves and how we let ourselves view others.

There are a lot of crazy events occurring in the world today. Maybe if we spent more time evaluating our own prejudices, we wouldn't see quite as much madness in the world.

Maybe Prejudice and Tolerance 101 needs to be taught in elementary schools, and again in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, churches, mosques, and synagogues.

Teaching tolerance would be far more effective in ending mass violence than any gun law any politicians or groups of politicians could think up. Mass violence starts with prejudice, works its way into anger and isolation, and then into action.

Prejudice is the seed of violence. I would like to see our leaders and ourselves as a country and global community, begin to focus on these seeds instead of the tools used to farm them

Phil Northcutt is combat veteran of the Iraq war and a former infantry Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. He is an agriculture student at Santa Rosa Junior College, and works as a veterans advocate connecting veterans in need to the resources and non-profits that assist them.

He has experience as a music promoter, television and mobile media producer with a background in printing. Phil is an outspoken advocate of medical cannabis for veterans with issues of Post Traumatic Stress.

We at Salem-News.com are extremely happy to add Phil to our staff of writers, many of whom are combat veterans, and allow a place for his strong voice that has already made a difference for many. Phil is our first writer who is a combat veteran of the Iraq War.

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