Alongside Prejudice

in Reflections3 months ago

My wife is off partying at her "Pikkujoulu" (Work Christmas party), so I am with Smallsteps and over dinner, she asked me a question that I wasn't really expecting -

"Have you been to Russia?"

Which I have.

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This concerned Smallsteps a little and she asked if there was a war there when I was visiting, which of course there wasn't, as it was almost a decade ago. However, it was obvious that she had heard something about how bad the place was, by the way she talked about it. Since we don't watch the news in this house, nor talk about politics all that much, I asked where she has been discussing this and apparently, my father-in-law has been talking a lot about it - not all too kindly.

What is interesting however, is that he has never been to Russia either and I would go out on a limb to say he probably hasn't talked with a Russian, yet holds a lot of opinions about them. Which is common here, because there was a war almost 80 years ago with Russia, and there is a history of Russia controlling Finland up until 1917, when it finally got its independence. after centuries of being owned by either Russia, or Sweden.

So, what I was trying to explain to a seven year old, is that there is a difference between a country, and its people. When we were in St Petersburg, the people were friendly, helpful, open, caring, and willing to talk with us about many things. And, whilst in the western news there was talk about "banning" homosexuality, the streets had plenty of same-sex couples holding hands, and there were rainbow flags on bars and nightclubs. It might have been different in Moscow, I don't know.

But, in my experience, people are people, which means that in general, we all just want to live a half decent life without having to worry about where we will get our next meal, or be scared of walking down the street. I am certain there are bad areas of St Petersburg too, but it was the second safest place I have ever felt being out out at night, and that includes in Finland. The safest I have ever felt was in Tokyo.

But, a week in a country as a tourist in one city, doesn't tell me much about the entire country, nor the history. However, I have always disliked how people can so easily believe hearsay, without actually experiencing it themselves. And, it is very easy for children to be influenced into believing too, and they will act upon it as if they understand what they are doing. It is because of this I spent primary school without friends, as kids were taught that for whatever reason, people who looked like me, were lesser than themselves and targets to be ridiculed.

Smallsteps has been having some problems at school herself, where she is trying to come to terms with her friends saying "I don't like you" if she doesn't play what they want to play. They are seven. However, it is through these interactions where we learn about the world and build the understanding and habits we will employ later in life.

While I have suggested that she say "That is okay" and tell them she is going to go and do her own thing, but they are welcome to join when they are ready to play nicely, it is obviously hard. She doesn't want to play alone. So she asked me if I ever experienced similar when I was around her age, so I told her yes, I spent years alone. I read books, and observed people, I played games by myself and kicked balls against walls. And most importantly, I was okay. And then, once the kids had grown up and learned a little more about the world, things were okay with them too.

Daddy, if you can do it. I can.

However, she also added that "You are a bit smarter than me, Daddy".

I disagreed, and told her why.

She is so much better than me than when I was her age and I told her so. The difference is however, that we have very different experiences, and I have done so many more things in my life, than she has at her age. I explained that there is 37 years (she did the math) between us and in that time, I have travelled across the world, lived in a handful of cities, gone to university, owned about 15 cars, talked to thousands of people, taught hundreds of people, had hundreds of friends, tried dozens of sports, worked 20 different jobs.... lived. In time, she will experience a lot more too.

However, prejudice tends not to travel well.

Meaning that the people who are the most prejudiced, end up also being the most conservative, which means that they aren't as open to new experiences as those who are willing to put themselves and their belief systems at risk. The prejudiced and up siloing themselves, yet Feel they know the truth about the world, when in actual fact, it is just the truths about their fears that are on display.

In the not too distant future, my daughter is going to be introduced to racial prejudice, even though she herself looks like many other traditionally Finnish kids. She is going to hear racist comments from people talking about others, who will not realize she has a parent that is a little darker. And perhaps at some point, she will be judged for being mixed-race herself.

That is okay.

Prejudice isn't going away. It does shift form over time, but it is always going to remain in some form, because as humans, we like exclusivity, we like feeling superior to others, we like feeling special. The more we attach ourselves to identity, the more we label ourselves based on arbitrary traits, the more prejudice will grow, because we ourselves are the prejudiced ones.

Know thy enemy

Sun Tzu

Know yourself.

We can learn from the mistakes of others.
We generally don't.

Taraz
[ Gen1: Hive ]

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For various reasons, my siblings and I learned Russian in high school.
Recently, I heard a father and his daughter who were speaking Russian. So, I asked the father:

Говорите ли вы по-русски?

They were indeed speaking Russian. I told the guy that I did not really speak Russian, and he replied that I could fake it for a minute.

But, I have never traveled to Russia.


Prejudice, with four black children, I know a little. And my children know it more than myself, as they are part of what is called a "visible minority" (in North America).

I have a couple friends who speak Russian, but aren't native.

Prejudice, with four black children, I know a little. And my children know it more than myself, as they are part of what is called a "visible minority" (in North America).

I was talking to the wife of a friend a few years ago, a Canadian black woman. She was talking about how hard racism is in Canada and I asked her how many times she had been called "the N word" to her face. Zero. However, I would be called it daily through my primary school years - and I am not even that dark. The thing is, I was in a minority of one.

Racism is such a ridiculous mentality. The traits are so arbitrary and tell very little about an individual, other than some genetic markers for disease etc.

Unfortunately, many people express their biased opinions without knowing enough about the matter they are talking about. Today, some Catalan political leaders arrived in Geneva after the new Spanish government had to offer them a negotiation to get their votes in the Spanish parliament which led them to become the leading party. You could see the TV images of people insulting one of the leaders just because she thinks differently than whoever was insulting. They probably have never lived in Catalonia and have not experienced what we, the ones looking for a referendum as the Scottish did a few years ago, want. It is this hate from many people that influences others and it is very sad, it kills our society and brings problems where there are not.

Wishing to be independent and leading a political party democratically fighting for that should not be something you would be insulted for. Many teenagers just express hate from what they hear around them, without even understanding anyone can have a different view and work towards it.

It is this hate from many people that influences others and it is very sad, it kills our society and brings problems where there are not.

Public discourse is largely dead, ironically, because everyone can weigh in. People who have no knowledge and no skin in the game, are given the same voice as people who are actually affected.

Interesting topic and one I am sure you weren't expecting. Smallsteps will be well balanced and in time will form her own opinions which is how it should be.

I am looking forward to how she handles these situations.

Great Read. And so great your parenting. Shame on the father in law.

The propaganda here is overwhelming. My personal opinion is that Russia has every right to protect it's borders from NATO and the clowns that run it.

I guess if our countries had lost 25-27 million men women and children fighting Hitler and almost being overran by the Germans. Maybe we would understand their position a little more. JMO. Based on historical facts. Not corporate media lies.

No news in this house either. They are all blocked on the play list. 😉

Governments are wankers in every country. The people of a country tend to be generally okay though :)

Shame on the father in law.

He has been brainwashed from childhood too. At some point, we have to grow up.

In advance, I do not agree with judging your father-in-law out of hand, he has his reasons, he has had experiences beyond yours. I do not agree with the comment that he argues that he has been “brainwashed”; my respects to him. So, just as we cannot judge the Russian population by the decisions of a small group representing the state, we cannot be prejudiced against grandfather and his convictions.

Children, at the age of little Smallsteps, are sponges that absorb everything; it is the age of questions, concerns, and answers. School will soon pass, some will adapt to others; everyone will find a group with which they feel at ease, valued.

I do not agree with the comment that he argues that he has been “brainwashed”; my respects to him.

We have all been brainwashed, and I know precisely where his prejudice comes from.

Children, at the age of little Smallsteps, are sponges that absorb everything; it is the age of questions, concerns, and answers.

This goes against your statement of being brainwashed. Conditioning is just that. They are sponges and easily influenced - regardless of whether the information they absorb is correct or not. So, they take on the prejudices of their parents, without actually experiencing why they are prejudiced directly.

They are sponges and easily influenced - regardless of whether the information they absorb is correct or not.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, if the information they receive as children is correct it is ---> learning and if it is incorrect it is ---> manipulation…, who is the one who contradicts himself…?

Wow, I feel like your daughter is really mature for her age. You are able to talk about these topics and she is able to understand them well. I think as long as she can continue with her critical thinking, she should grow up to be an outstanding person.

She is pretty advanced in these things and I try to remember that she is just a kid, so reduce what I say for the time being. It is a fine line.

I see no reason why in this present century people still look outward to judge than looking inward. Its is a shame on those low shallow minded

Shallow minds generally come from shallow conditioning. But, conditioning runs deep.

Should have opened up the discussion with, "You see, it all starts with the Clintons."

George Clinton?

Well, technically he is a Clinton.

Firstly, you know you are not always with smallsteps since she goes to school and all and I’m sure that is where she must have heard about Russia war and I’m glad she asked you and you explained the way of life of its people instead of the country itself.
Also, about the difficulty she has in school with her friends, just make sure she does not take it to heart. A child feels bad when it looks like they are neglected but it will help her to always do her things alone without relying on anyone

No, she didn't hear about it at school. It came from grandparents.

She has to learn to fend for herself, learn to be okay being alone, and okay letting people who hurt her, go.

It's wild how perceptions can clash with reality. Navigating these talks with a seven-year-old is no small feat, but your insights are on point. Keep rocking that dad wisdom and dismantling biases.🙂

The problem is that if we hold strong beliefs, we see what we want to see. So, it is hard to see reality, when all we are looking for is confirmation of our imagination.

That's one problem with humans...We only see things the way we want to see them.

Prejudice isn't going away. It does shift form over time, but it is always going to remain in some form, because as humans, we like exclusivity, we like feeling superior to others, we like feeling special.

Another thing all people including us don't want to be on the reception side of the things. Everyone wants the edge in life no matter how many people they hurt. And there seems to be no ending for the same.

We can be both victim and aggressor simultaneously.

Such areas and such people in every country. People should live how they want as long as they don't limit each other's freedom. I think older people have/had demoded methods about bringin up than us because I would never talk about negative about a whole country.

Come to think of it, it's all due to the human tendency to oversimplify what should be complex and overcomplicate what should be simple. Lots of harm due to lazy reporting, lazy perceiving, lazy avoidance of correct behavior...

Understanding another point of view requires energy. Anti-enthropic impulse. Gas fees. Challenge of Ego...

Precious heart on her, that one. Give her a hug from me. You're doing great.

Will do. She is pretty awesome.