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How others think of you …huummm March 26, 2008

Posted by habeshaviews in Uncategorized.

How others think of you How others look at you


‘’I have never been racially discriminated and I always look at people beyond colors ‘.

That was a comment I wrote, with full reliance, as part of a summary I was doing for one of my courses in prejudice and discrimination.

What was more interesting was the response from my professor who wrote back

‘’What matters in these things is not how you see yourself but how others look at you ‘’.

I took that as a superficial response and didn’t even think about it afterwards.

A couple of weeks later, I was in one of the student parties. A typical girls group discussing, of course, men .We joked around a little about the men Vs women proportion in campus. One of the students threw out a comment, jokingly

 ’ I wonder if I could date one of the African Guys .You know, with all the HIV prevalence and everything.’’

 We laughed about it, added one or two remarks for a moment and moved on to the next topic. But my mind got stuck with that specific comment. A while back I have heard a similar statement from one of the African guys about dating local girls. Fast rewind to the party comment, I was still thinking,

 ‘Should I say something about it, Can I take that as a racial slur?’’.

And yet I know the girl very well and she is such a nice person who loves to giggle about everything. I don’t think she would say something like that consciously.

What is wrong about whatever was said?  Men or women, black or white, Muslim or Christian or Atheist, we all seem to have assumptions about others .Even amongst us who claim to be against these things and make the world a better place, there is a circle of prejudice and assumption. Africans think Europeans are immoral, Europeans feel Japanese are traditional, Americans believe the Brits are conservatives, religious people consider atheists doomed, and atheists think religious people are uncivilized.

The Webster dictionary defines prejudice as an attitude that always favors one way of feeling or acting especially without considering any other possibilities. Discrimination on the bases of assumptions is only the next level.

We just seem to lock our minds in this image of a racist who is relatively less educated, probably white and old fashioned. We don’t seem to look in to our selves and see the prejudices we have towards others.

It goes all the way from the ‘genius’ who thinks others around him/her do not have a same level of understanding to the Nobel prize winner who gives scientific explanation  on how some races are better than other .

We just seem to wrap ourselves in our own thinking and do not even look around to see how others think of us .Yet, what matters in these things is not how we see ourselves but how others see us.



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