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weekly forum post responses week 6

In need of a 250 word response/discussion to each of the following forum posts. Agreement/disagreement/and/or continuing the discussion.

Original forum discussion/topic post is as follows:

To what extent is prejudice a problem in your current environment? If you think it is a problem, what are some of the subtle—or even blatant—ways that prejudice is expressed? What are the most common forms of prejudice in your social or work environment (e.g., racism, sexism, ageism, basic intolerance for different points of view, etc.)?If you feel you are living or working in an environment without blatant or subtle prejudice to what do you attribute this bias-free environment? Have you ever suddenly realized that you were acting or feeling prejudiced toward another person or group? Were you surprised to discover this about yourself? Form some comments or opinions and share them with your classmates. As always, you are encouraged to be honest but respectful in sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Forum post #1

When I first moved from northern IL to SC I encountered what I would call prejudice. Even today, I experience, see, and feel this same kind of prejudice toward people, who like me, have moved from the North to SC to live.

Specifically, when I came to SC an older uncle of my husband’s came to our house quite frequently to visit. He never ever called me by my name, but instead always called me, or referred to me as the “Damn Yankee”. I was truly greatly offended by the use of this name for me. If it had been a one time occurrence, then I probably would have laughed it off, but it was a constant name or reference he used for me for years. It made me feel as though I did not belong, that I was not wanted, and that I was out of place. He did not use this phrase just at my house, but at any family gathering or church event, as we attended the same church.

I am now curious as to the origins of the phrase Damn Yankee, so I did a quick web search.

I was surprised to learn that the term Yankee, which is a much nicer word or phrase than Damn Yankee, has a long derisive history in the United States. Since even before the Revolutionary War the term was used by the British to refer to the American colonists. So, in fact, if we had been living in the days preceding the Revolutionary War, then all of us as colonists would have been referred to as Yankees, even those of us who might have lived in the Carolinas. It is used today to refer to anyone from the US. (Hirsch, Kett, Trefill, 2002). Internationally, we all are considered Yankees. Today, that term has lost much (but not all) of its bad conotations it seems. However, the term Damn Yankee or Damnyankee, has a bit of a different history. During the Civil War times, the term Damn Yankee referred to Northerners. The confederates meant it to be derogatory. In fact, there was an old joke where a Southern says “I was 21 years old before I learned that ‘damn’ and ‘Yankee’ were separate words”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee.

Understanding the history of the term “Damn Yankee” makes me realize that, indeed, there was a bit of prejudice intended in the name calling toward me by my husband’s uncle. In fact, even now, I hear comments from natives of SC declaring that if any of the Yankees down here don’t like what is happening, they can just go back from where they came. In the political situation here in SC, the state has been traditionally RED for a number of years, but with the influx of Northern retirees, the political climate is beginning to change, and I see and hear comments by natives about the Northerners invading and taking over their state.

In all fairness to my husband’s old uncle, he often talked about how he felt about the attitudes that he perceived that Northern’s had toward Southerners. He mentioned a number of times that he felt as though those Damnyankees thought Southerners were just stupid hillbillies. I guess he felt so put down by Northerners, that he needed a little revenge, so he found me as an easy scapegoat for his rage.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee

Hirsch, E., Kett, J., Trefil, J. (2002), The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. As retrieved from: https://books. Google.com/books?isbn=0618226478.

Forum Post #2

Prejudice is a problem in every environment. At some point people get frustrated, angry, tired or irritated and express this frustration towards a group that is often different from them (Aronson, 2012). Some of the biggest problems with this in my work environment is age, position and race. The area I currently live in is very diverse. There are many different races, ages and religions in my workplace. This type of diversity does very well with helping different types of customers and gaining new points of view. However, not everyone is ok with diversity and others tend to waiver in the event of stress.

In the retail environment there is a lot of stress and high energy all the time. Customers are yelling, managers are yelling, and people get worn out. A high amount of the theft that is noticed in our store tends to be from African Americans. This is most likely due to most of the population in the area being African American. Some employees form viewpoints that every black person that is not dressed well is likely to steal. When there are a lot of white people that steal as well. These tend to go unnoticed to some of the individuals that form these viewpoints.

Age is another issue in our workplace. Younger adults tend to move a little faster and have a higher energy than some of the more seasoned employees. This is likely due to the natural state of the human body. I have been guilty of getting frustrated because everyone in my department was older. I had a day where I had to do a lot of heavy lifting, down stocking and paperwork. I remember getting so frustrated and wishing I did not have all these old people on my team and I would not be the only one working. After thinking this I was a little upset at myself. One of the guys in my department has an incredibly amount of knowledge and brings a log of business in. The other works just as hard as I do but is only part time. I realized that I made a general assumption about worth based on frustration and a very narrow mindset.

Finally, position is another area where prejudice comes out in my workplace. This mainly happens with cashiers and the freight team. These starting positions tend to be deemed as the dumb people that are worthless. Many people state that they will refuse to learn their name until they have been with the company for a year. Snide remarks, insults or disrespect is sometimes shown to people in these positions without any real reason.

Forum Post #3

Truth be told, being a white female, I can’t say I’ve experienced a ton of prejudice in my life, at least in regard to race. Perhaps in different areas, but race has never been a prejudice that I have been made to feel as though it was an issue. One area of prejudice that I have experienced, although again, perhaps not as often as others, is sexism. I have experienced sexism on a couple different levels. One being the simple fact that I am a woman and automatically assumed to not be as intelligent, as strong, as decisive, or as independent as a man. The other prejudice being the fact that I am a single, childless female. These two factors come with a stigma. The given fact that I am 36 years old and not married is highly disparaged – add to that the fact that I don’t have children and many people will automatically assume the worst about me. 1) I don’t know how to “keep” a man. 2) I am selfish. 3) I am a “party girl” who won’t settle down. These are just some of their assumptions about me. I find that the older generations are more prone to these assumptions about me. I don’t really blame them. In their day it was unheard of for a 36 year old woman to be without husband or children. I get it, I just wish there was a little more openness to the subject, especially in this day and age.

As far as experiencing sexism in general, I would say I actually experience this quite often. Sadly, I tend to experience it when dealing with my male friends. While they make most of the comments and jabs in jest, the truth is there’s an underlining feeling that they honestly believe they are superior to me because I am a female and they are male. I get “patted on the head” and even dismissed at times, because of these beliefs. Sadly, it doesn’t really faze me. I let them think what their going to think, and I know what I know. It is what it is.

Other than the “glass ceiling”, I don’t experience much sexism in my workplace. I am never made to feel less intelligent or important than my male counterparts. As for my part though, I have caught myself being prejudice against female attorneys. Some might say that female attorneys tend to be more difficult to work with. I, myself, have experienced some difficult female attorneys in my day and have done nothing to dispel this prejudice. Although there are many female attorneys I have the utmost respect for, I was surprised to learn this prejudice about myself. I am working on being better about it.

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