This week’s Spin Cycle is all about speaking out for something we believe in or are passionate about. Geez…I’ve written so many times about things I’m passionate about or believe in.
I do feel very strongly about prejudice of any kind. I guess it’s fitting that I write this on MLK day. I have always hated racial prejudice and I cringe whenever I am around someone who starts making racial remarks. It makes my skin crawl.
I know my parents were brought up in a different era and they don’t even realize sometimes that some of the things they say are very racially derogatory. I’ve tried to say things in the past and it goes right over their heads so I usually try to change the subject or if that doesn’t work I just ignore it. I know I should probably voice my opinion louder but they ARE my parents and even though they are being disrespectful to an entire race, I don’t want to be disrespectful to them. Besides, at their age, I’m not sure how much they can really change their lifelong engrained beliefs.
Not the television show but the movie that came out in 2004? I think that is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Seriously, if you have any kind of conscience at all, that movie will make you examine your own thoughts and feelings about others. I mean I have NEVER considered myself a prejudiced person. I have always felt like I was very open minded and treated others equally. After watching this movie I realized that I DO harbor some deep seated prejudices. They may be very subtle but they are there and I was shocked when I realized it. I really almost cried from the realization.
Here is the synopsis of the movie from IMDb: “Several stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles involving a collection of inter-related characters, a police detective with a drugged out mother and a thieving younger brother, two car thieves who are constantly theorizing on society and race, the white district attorney and his irritated and pampered wife, a racist white veteran cop (caring for a sick father at home) who disgusts his more idealistic younger partner, a successful Hollywood director and his wife who must deal with the racist cop, a Persian-immigrant father who buys a gun to protect his shop, a Hispanic locksmith and his young daughter who is afraid of bullets, and more.”
I urge you if you have never seen Crash to maybe rent it and watch it. It was directed by Paul Haggis and has a star studded cast including Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Larenz Tate, Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Daniel Dae Kim, Tony Danza, Keith David, Terrence Howard, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Brendan Fraser, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Pena and Jennifer Esposito. Seriously, it changed the way I look at my own life. I don’t think you can watch it and not be affected by it. I cried several times watching it.
I think we all make stereotypical assumptions about other races or ethnicities or religions and maybe make jokes about the tendencies of another race, religion, or ethnicity. Admit it! We ALL do it. And if we say we don’t we are lying. It might be something subtle or something outrageous but at some point in our lives we have all uttered a slur against another person because of race, religion, creed, or sexual preference and that IS prejudice. Just not in the sense of the word that we most usually think of it.
A very good friend and fellow blogger, Ron, from Vent, wrote a post last week titled Weight, Age and Society where he talked about how society looks down on people because of their age or weight and how we all are pressured by society to fit into a certain mold. Go ahead, go on over and read his post… I’ll wait. Dum de dum de dum…. Oh, are you back? See, aren’t you glad you went over and read that? It’s SO true.
It seems that if you are overweight or underweight or have wrinkles or gray hair then you are deemed unattractive and you don’t fit into “the norm” of what society, in general, thinks is appealing. Everywhere you look there are ads touting weight loss and make up and botox and liposuction and whatever is the newest miracle get young, get skinny, get beautiful pill is on the market.
It kind of reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom last week. She was lamenting on how my sister was sick because she went out in the cold night air because she just HAD to have her hair dyed and her spray tan and fake fingernails put on to look younger and ended up with pneumonia. My mom said my sister told her that SHE (my mother) needed to go and get her hair colored so she’s look younger and my mom retorted that she’s 78 years old…. She’s not supposed to look young! And I found it especially funny because this very same sister, years ago when my mom was in her 40’s and 50’s and used to dye her hair, used to tell my mom she needed to QUIT dying her hair because she needed to stop trying to look younger and needed to act and look her age! Is that not the pot calling the kettle black?
I’m not saying I don’t wear makeup or that I haven’t in the past dyed my hair or tried to enhance my looks. I have and I do fall into that societal trap at times but I think it is ridiculous how society looks down on people they consider “different”. Truth be known there are probably more people overweight than what is considered “normal” and more people who are “average” looking than beautiful but that is what society makes us think we should look like.
I think I am even more annoyed at the labels that society puts on people who are different. They think that if you are overweight that you are stupid or lazy. They think that if you are covered in tattoos and piercings that you are not trustworthy and not a good employee. They think if you are homosexual that you are unchristian or sexually depraved. They think if you are really thin that you must be on drugs. They think that if you are homeless then you must be either mentally unbalanced or lazy. Society is full of stigmatisms and labels and they love to attach them to people. It is also full of preconceived notions about people they consider to be different and I, for one, am going to try to do better with my own preconceived notions. I am going to try to banish from my thoughts any that pop up automatically when I see someone who I might have in the past considered different.
I am going to try to embrace a new way of thinking. Everybody has a story. We just have to take the time to listen to it before we make snap judgments. We need to take the time to get to know the PERSON for who they are, not because of the labels that have been attached to them. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.