Discrimination and Extreme Prejudice

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RaStereotyping is a way of thinking about groups of people. It ignores the differences of the group, while emphasizing its similarity. One belief, that is a stereotype, is that red-haired people are hot tempered. Another belief is that Scottish people are stingy. Such thinking ignores many even-tempered redheads and generous Scottish people. Stereotyping emphasizes many differences between groups while ignoring their similarities to other people. It ignores that many blond and brown-haired people also lose their tempers. Stereotyping overlooks the fact that many American, Brazilians and French people are stingy.

Stereotyping redheads or Scottish people usually does little harm. It typically leads to friendly kidding and good-natured jokes. Simple-minded stereotyping can be dangerous. The danger lies in exaggeration of differences in color, nationality, religion and language. We exaggerate the differences, ignoring what we share as human beings and become prejudiced. Prejudice is nourished by fear as it grows out of exaggeration. It is a profoundly negative emotion bearing the fruit of hatred.

Racism is a form of extreme prejudice that leads to physical and psychological violence. Racists can be any color: white, black, brown, red or yellow. A white racist thinks all blacks are alike, while a black racist thinks all Hispanics are alike. In addition, a Hispanic racist may think all Native Americans are alike. The ethnic boundaries of racism "pigeon hole" another group, while having no boundaries of its own. It only requires a tangible object that can be pointed at, discriminated against, spat upon and attacked. The differences are not important because the attack comes from fear. Racism is expressed in labels including: "chink", "nigger", "honky", "wop, "kike" and "Gook". Such is the power of stereotypical, simple-minded thinking.

My brother was a small child when my family moved from Oklahoma to California, at the end of "The...
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