4.14.2006

racial profiling... stereotyping... prejudgement (prejudice)

all of these terms are interesting
the notion of racial profiling
the idea of stereotyping
the concept of prejudice

our brains are not complex enough to create a file for each and every person on the street
we need to create files and sub files to keep our thoughts organized
these little categorizations make things move more smoothly in our day

we alter our behavior based on the age of the person we are going to interact with
we alter our behavior based on the socio-economic classifcation of who were are going to deal with
and
we alter our behavior based on the race of the person we are going to encounter
we all do it
we all have to do it
it only makes sense to make certain logical leaps before the interaction begins

racial profiling

is it so wrong?
to a certain degree it is vital
it is vital to our survival
it is vital to our sanity
it is vital to to speed things up

as an urban cyclist I contend with this on a similar level
as I move through the city streets on my bicycle I need to anticipate the actions of the cars that move around me
it is up to me to guess their next move
in my mind there are multiple algorhythms running as I approach each car

I look at the make an model of the car
I look at the condition of the car
there is a glance at the license plate of the car
who is driving the car?
what is that person doing while they are driving?
is that person young or old?
what nationality is that person?
does that person see me?

these are questions that are already loaded into my head
I do not need to slow down and mouth the words
the questions are already being asked over and over again as I float through the city

is it wrong that I anticipate different behavior from different drivers?

the actions of the minature blue haired lady are different then the testosterone filled teenage boy
both can be dangerous
but the set of risks are different
am I wrong for creating stereotypes
for expecting a certain behavior from a specific type
?

I think not
like a women walking home from a bar late night
the cyclist must think of what they must do to protect themselves
where on the road is most safe for the cyclist?
just as the women walking home must do what she must do to get home safely

these things said...
people respond to me in various ways
I am a bit of a beast of a man
my size, my facial hair, maybe even my choice of clothing
these things cause people to respond to me in in a certain way
if I am in the woods alone people will respond to me one way
if I am in the woods with my dogs people will respond to me another way
if I am in the woods with my two adorable young boys... well... their perception becomes something completely different
this does not offend me
I expect this sort of response


1 comment:

hiphopcommittee said...

i haven't read the blog yet but i can say this it seems as though some people like to make quick judgement about other people and life is too complicated to make a snap judgement. i beleive if we slow down we would have less confusion.

peace