Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Prejudice: A Global Problem

"Jonathan, A Korean-American, was a victim of racial prejudice as a child. As he grew up, he searched for a place where people would not prejudge him based on his facial features or racial background. He became a medical doctor in a town in northern Alaska, where his physical appearance was similar to that of many of his patients. He hoped that perhaps there, amid the cold winds of the Arctic Circle, he had finally escaped the even colder winds of prejudice. Any such hope was shattered when he provided medical assistance to a 25-year-old woman. As the patient came out of a coma, she looked at Jonathan's face and uttered a taunt with an expletive, revealing her deep-seated disdain for Koreans. For Jonathan, the incident was a painful reminder that all his efforts to move and to blend in could not provide him with an escape from prejudice. Jonathan's experience highlights a grim reality. Prejudice is found in every corner of the earth. It appears that wherever there are people, there is prejudice. The Global Face Of Prejudice ... Canada: "Despite embracing the country's diversity and instituting numerous legal and policy provisions to protect the rights of diverse communities, racism has continued to be a serious human rights challenge." - Amnesty International Briefing On Canada, 2012 .... Europe: "Fourty-Eight percent of Europeans believe that too little is done to tackle discrimination in their country." - Intolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination: A European Report, 2011 .... Africa: "Violence and discrimination against women remained widespread in many countries." - Amnesty International Report, 2012 .... Nepal: "Dalits ('untouchables') suffer from endemic discrimination, especially in the economic, social, and cultural spheres." - Human Rights Watch World Report, 2012 ... Eastern Europe: "Scapegoated abroad and the victims of prejudice at home, eastern Europe's Roma are the problem no politician wants to solve." - The Economist, 9-4-10 .... What Is Prejudice? ... People struggle to define prejudice. Some say it is a 'negative attitude or feeling toward an individual based solely on that individual's membership in a certain group.' Others say that this attitude is based on 'insufficient information,' which leads to the 'prejudgment of members of a group.' Whatever the case prejudices can be formed against another person because of his race, weight, gender, language, religion, or virtually any perceived difference. Despite the prevalence of prejudice, however, most people are quick to condemn it. This is truly a paradox. How could something so disliked be at the same time so widespread." - J.W.

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