Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

I chose this image because Steve Biko was an extraordinary activist.  He fought and died for the elimination of Apartheid and I will remember him in this way. 

I was told of a story of a Muslim woman who was driving home from work, days after 9-11, and she was almost run off the road by a person who, with malice in his face told her to, “go back home!”  She was stunned, but cleverly said to him, “I’m on my way home.”  

This was one of the most outward manifestations of blind hatred I have heard in my life.  To hate because of someone else’s action is the epitome of ignorance.  I was not saddened by this act, I was enraged.  If she were not a strong, confident woman, this could have taken away her feelings of security in her own neighborhood. But she knew these things would occur and remained strong throughout the weeks, months, and years after the horrible tragedy that left loved one’s without family members, the global community in unrest, and a whole religion under the microscope of society.

It would have to be a total change of society beliefs in order to rectify the dilemma of prejudice.  The reality is, this has been an issue since the beginning of diversity in the world. In order to conquer this parasite each one must teach one the beauty that resides in all of humanity.  Steve Biko had it right when he said the oppressor' s weapon is the mind of the oppressed.  

It was not a world banker that ran this women off the road, it was a common man who felt it was "his duty" to "serve his country" by retaliating against anyone that looked like the people who paralyzed the world.  We have to take a stand and begin to look at the whole picture and make conscious efforts to join together to achieve success.


  1. Kali, just by looking at the sign "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed" was the right thing to say. Those words testify to the passion, courage, and keen insight that made him one of the most powerful figures in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. Great Post!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thank you Deborah.

    This blog made me reflect and consider diversity as an early childhood professional and see what I can do to give my children and their families at least a head start.

  3. Kali,
    It is so effortless to find the easy mark to blame our problems on. I agree with you when you said "We have to take a stand and begin to look at the whole picture and make conscious efforts to join together to achieve success".

  4. Kali,
    Your post this week was very powerful and moving, thank you for sharing! I love the quote and image that you chose to include, great words of wisdom. This message helps serve as a reminder that we need to teach our children to embrace diversity and help them develop positive self-images even if society is sending the opposite message. I agree with you that society would have to completely change its beliefs in order to end prejudice; we have so many institutional inequities built into our system that we cannot go forward until we fix them.
    The story you shared was so saddening but it is a great example of what stereotypes do- hurt innocent people. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful insights with us!

  5. Thank you Jen!

    I appreciate your compliments and insights.

  6. Kali,
    I think that it is the nature of man to protect or seek revenge. Some people out of ignorance react to situations based on the outward appearance of others. I agree that this world we live in of diversity has so many different people with different cultural and religious beliefs we must be able to adapt to these different situations and get understanding before taking action.