It’s difficult to discuss prejudice without clarifying what it is. The fourth edition of the American Heritage College Dictionary provides four meanings for the term—from “an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts” to “irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race or religion.” Both definitions apply to the experiences of ethnic minorities in Western society. Of course, the second definition sounds much more menacing than the first, but prejudice in either capacity has the potential to cause a great deal of damage.
In this blog post I want to bring up something that actually discovered earlier today. A friend of mine transferred from Muhlenberg to Smith College, an all girls college in Massachusetts a couple years ago. When speaking with her today, she told me about a Smith alum, Anne Spurzem, who posted a letter about how adding diversity to Smith College is virtually ruining it. Here are two links that discuss (and present) the letter to the editor:
Recently in class, we have been talking about racism and the fact that racism is now more subtle whereas in years gone by, racism was more overt.
For 9 years now, I have tried earnestly to understand why, as an adult professional, I experienced so many adversities working with whites and other non-black professionals in the workplace. I have attended management classes, became very introspective to seek to understand myself and my management style etc. It was not until recently that someone told me what I suspected but was too afraid to utter. During the years I have worked in the Lehigh Valley, I found on many occasions that I would give a directive to someone I supervised and he or she would give me a hassle before completing and sometimes would not follow through. But if a colleague that was white and even in a non-supervisory role would issue the same directive, there would be no issue. I have experienced disrespect and isolation in the work place if I did not compromise standards and safety issues or behave permissively. These incidents would occur and I would question my approach and try new tactics catering my approach to each staff member. I would consult my peers and even superiors who would all agree that it was not “appropriate” to behave in an insubordinate manner towards me and that they themselves would not tolerate such behaviors. Curiously enough, no one has ever spoken up and/or coached the staff members being insubordinate.
Recently, I suffered a sprained shoulder and after a doctor’s visit, I was referred to physical therapy for help in rebuilding strength in my right shoulder. Let me say this right from the start, I am in no way, shape, or form a malingerer. So on my first visit, everything was about evaluating and trying to gather as much information about the injury determine the best treatment regimen for me. By the second visit, one is supposed to have a plan of treatment tailored to his or her injury explained and agreed to. Well, I got more than that on the second visit.