Persevering through Prejudice
“Ahhhhhhhh!” I squealed and jumped for joy the moment I dropped the phone. I hurrily scurried over to my mom to share the news. “Mommy, I got my first job!” This was the stepping stone to me being an independent young woman. I was officially employed at Hollister Co. as a sales model. I was ecstatic and excited to make some money at the tender age of 15.
My first week was definitely a learning experience; from learning how to maintain a cash registrar to folding tons of polos and jeans. Soon through this journey, it started to become bittersweet. With three months of being employed, my shifts were diminishing from 4 shifts a week to 1 shift a week. As I looked at the schedule postings for the week, I noticed a trend with the scheduling of the shifts. Ironically, most of the employees that were working more hours and more shifts were white females. I figured it might have something to do with the fact that my supervisor is a white surfer-boy who is infatuated with beach-blonde beauties. However that did not stop me from asking him to put me on the schedule more.
Sadly, I resent the day I had asked him. Unfortunately, he felt that I didn’t have the “natural beachy look” that Hollister Co. was trying to perceive. I am of Malaysian decent and have tan skin color. Hearing that definitely bruised my ego and made me self-conscious about my appearance. I felt this was a tactic for me to quit, and so I did.
Over the months I begin to realize that ultimately there will be people in the world that have a perspective of life that I cannot seem to change. I had realized that this was not my fault; it was his own personal judgment that led him to think that. I was treated this way because of how I looked not on who I am. Many people have tried to explain the reasoning of why people are prejudiced and discriminate against one another. Two readings that are eye-openers about prejudice are "Causes of Prejudice" and "C.P. Ellis." In the essay, "Causes of Prejudice," the author Vincent N. Parrillo explains the reasons for racism and discrimination in the United States. Which brings us to Studs Terkel’s essay "C.P. Ellis," he tells us the story of C.P. Ellis, a former Klansmen who claims he is no longer racist. With Parrillo's essay, we will analyze what caused C.P. Ellis to be prejudice and how he changed.
Parrillo’s Causes of Prejudice outlines reasons how and why prejudice exists in today’s society. Parrillo first starts out telling us that prejudice is the rejection of a member of a certain culture, and that ethnocentrism is a rejection of all culture as a whole. He then states that there are four areas of study to consider when dealing with prejudice; levels of prejudice, self-justification, personality, and frustration. This theory is ideal to the root of why and where prejudice starts. He explains that the first level of prejudice is the cognitive level of prejudice. This is a person’s beliefs of a culture. The second level is the emotional level of prejudice. This level includes what kind of emotional response a culture has on a person. These emotions for example can be that of hate, love, fear, etc... The final level, explains Parrillo, is the action oriented level. This is the desire to physically act upon their prejudice feelings toward the person or culture. As stated in the text, “The emotional level of prejudice encompasses the feelings that a minority group arouses in an individual. Although these feelings may be based on stereotypes from the cognitive level they represent more intense stages of personal involvement” (Parrillo 386). His statement holds true. In the sense of economic competition prejudice occurs frequently. We need to realize that jealousy is an important factor of prejudice. There would still be competitions, hatred, and stereotyping. It is just in our human nature.
The story of C.P Ellis begins as he discusses his life as being a...
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