Friday, March 23, 2007

Difficult Question Time II

Are racial prejudices bad?

I know that they are part of human nature but it is also indisputable that some parts of human nature are bad. I think the initial response of most would be, "Yes. They are bad." But what if for someone who does not know the difference between discrimination, discernment, and prejudice, it is used for survival?

At the moment, I am thinking of an anecdote from James Brady's book Flyboys. A Japanese officer tells of their ground invasion of China during WWII. He relates the story of a rural Chinese woman who stayed at her family's house when the Japanese forces were approaching.

Since the direction given to him was to use "local provisioning," he went out on his own looking for food for his platoon. When he met the Chinese woman, she relayed the story of how her family had run off because they were afraid the Japanese were hideous monsters that would kill them all. She told him that her family had been prejudiced but she knew the Japanese were not really like that.

He then raped her, killed her, and cut her up for food.

I cannot speak to the veracity of the story, however such stories were not uncommon for then.

The woman lacked her family's discernment or even the general prejudice of Chinese people against the Japanese and she paid with her life.

What if the question were posed with the following circumstances? (mix and match the colors - or religeon or whatever - to suit)

A white couple decide not to go into a roadside diner because it looks all black. There only reason for doing it is because they do not like blacks. The next white couple that go into the diner get raped and murdered because they are white.

Was it bad the first couple was racially prejudiced?

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