Saying #1053

Saying #1053


Pervasive prejudice — Confused Confucius answers his own question #29

It is easy for a saying to masquerade as a question. Answers are much harder to extract from the ether… but it must be done.

Question #29 Why is prejudice so pervasive?

Imagine growing up in a remote highland village in Papua New Guinea, a challenge certainly because not many of us have. One thing is that you would not have tasted the delights of salted caramel ice cream. Other wonders would have crossed your palate including many that induced cravings galore but none of them would be ice cream.

Now suppose a helicopter lands in your village and a strange man falls out of the cockpit clutching a large plastic box. There is the sound like bellbirds playing and in the box peculiar goo that the man encourages you to taste.

Elders hover around with scowls on their faces. They too have not witnessed the ice cream man before and are wary. They do know that loggers also arrive in metal birds and that the outcome is never good. They step in with flat hands scattering you and all your friends.

Instinct tells those older and wiser not to trust what is strange, especially anything as strange as goo arriving in a helicopter with a white man who everyone knows are shifty.

No goo for you.

You don’t need to be from the PNG highlands to be prejudiced. It is in us all. Sometimes trendily supressed and at other times allowed free expression, we are all wary of the unfamiliar. How else would we have survived this long?

Which 15 year old girl is most likely to live on. The one that says “Oooh, look a slithery, shiny thing that keeps poking its tongue out. I must pick it up.” Or the one who screams “Yeoow, creepy thing. Hit it with a stick, hit it.”

Prejudice is an unfortunate consequence of the need to survive and compete in an uncertain environment and explains much of the behaviour seen in teenagers.

Travel well,

The confused one