Modern Prejudice

Dena - Lewis Center, Ohio
Entered on January 2, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: prejudice, race

Last night, I overheard this guy asking this other guy about the army. Then he offered his own input.

“If any single Iranian walks toward me at two miles an hour I’ll shoot ‘em dead. I don’t care.” That caught my attention, especially since he made a mistake of saying Iranian instead of Iraqi, which is what I think he meant. U.S. forces aren’t stationed in Iran; there is no war going on in Iran either.

I asked him, “What if it were a three year old?” When I did, I pictured my three-year-old cousin.

“I’d still shoot them.”

“Really? Someone completely innocent?” She has the biggest cheeks and likes to throw her toys down the stairs. She’s missing her two front teeth. How could anyone want to hurt her?

He kept repeating himself. I told him he’s a racist.

I think the fact that some people don’t know whether our military is stationed in Iraq or Iran is nearly as sad as the fact that some people can’t point out the United States in a map of the world.

I watched the movie, Eagle Eye, last week and the beginning scene shows the U.S. military bombing an entire village in Iraq because they were maybe 51sure that a major terrorist was spotted there. It was disturbing to me because it looked exactly like where my dad grew up, where my grandpa lives, or where my cousins live.

My family called my grandpa the other day. As usual, my grandpa laughs into the phone and still remembers the Americans he met when he came here in 2000. He tells me to say “hi” to Laura the girl with the long legs and this person and that person. He tells me how happy he is to hear my voice, says how proud he is that I made it into college, and blesses me a million times over. He’s so selfless it’s almost inhuman.

I believe popular culture has influenced Americans to be indifferent to Middle-Easterners, at least the ones they don’t know, almost as if they aren’t 100% human. I don’t completely blame people for that since there’s no other image giving young people an alternate perspective of Middle-Easterners. So for someone that doesn’t know any better 9doesn’t know any Middle-Easterners, or hasn’t seen any other images other than the ones of them burning American flags) would never think of one otherwise. That’s why I’m writing this; because not all Middle-Easterners are bad and deserve to die. Actually, I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of them aren’t bad. The ones that do commit unforgivable acts, I believe, were once good. I believe they were probably vulnerable to their environments and conformed to something because they knew nothing else. A little like how an American might conform to the idea that all middle-easterners are bad people.

All my relatives live in Iran and if a war were to occur in Iran between the American and Iranian government, the civilian casualties of that war could very possibly be my three-year-old cousin or her 13-month-old brother.

A psychologist once deduced that all people are inherently the same; they’re just different as a result of cultural differences and upbringing. My uncle aspires to be a dentist, just like someone here at The Ohio State University might. Middle-Easterners care about each other, they gossip (just like we do), my cousins Elham and Sonya want to be make-up artists, my other cousin doesn’t believe in marriage because she believes it degrades women. My point is that they are normal people too just like us who have aspirations, ideas, who wish they were thinner, love watching sports, have rivalries, and question their faith just like some friends of mine do here.

Prejudice is the holding of preconceived ideas about an individual or group.