I cannot help but wonder what drives prejudice. Yes, for sure, we all have had negative interactions with some people from some cultures, like other cultures have had negative interactions with ours, but is that enough to take a position that everyone from that culture is the same? Or is it possible to look at someone from a certain ethnic or cultural background and make assumptions about them?
I always ask my students to reflect on their own outward appearance: their skin colour, hair colour, eye shape, eye colour and so on, and ask them what stereotypes exist about them? I then ask them to think about how many of these stereotypes are true?
Of course few are, and to make broad generalizations about someone based on their skin colour is as pointless as making generations based on the shape of their ears.
It is for this reason that politicians frustrate me and are incredibly irresponsible when they do this. It simply builds prejudice and fear into the rest of the population – and allows those with predetermined opinions to justify these.
It is for this reason that I wrote the piece for The Punch reflecting on the question ‘Are we are racist country?” which is available here – have a read and let me know what you think.
It is also great to see so many anti-racist projects happening: from the launch of a new group call All Together Now to the ongoing work of established organisations like Amnesty International and their confrontation of myths about refugees.