I’ve spent most of the week searching and reading internet blogs, journals and electronic articles; thumbed through various dictionaries available at the library; scrutinized various metropolitan newspapers, to try to have a better understanding about ethnocentrism (1), stereotyping (2) and prejudice (3), and their meanings. I admit to this day, I walk away still confused. Why? After reading the definitions of each of these words, I’ve come to realize that their individual meanings are so near to that of racism (4) , profiling (5), or discrimination (6) – it is difficult to tell them apart.
I decided to go back to a book that I read several months ago written by Dr. Mike S. Adams, Criminal Justice Professor at the University of North Carolina [ (Adams) ]. “… I have been perplexed by the difficulty that many academics have with the proper use of such simple terms as racism, prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. They are always getting them confused, while the terms are really quite simple. ” Dr.
Adams says … “one needs to understand, differentiate between the three terms describing it “as easy as learning your ABC’s: ‘A’ stands for attitude, ‘B’ stands for behaviour, and ‘C’ stands for cognition. ” Prejudice deals with negate attitudes; discrimination deals with negate behaviors. Though I must admit that after re-reading Dr. Adams’ book, I walk away with the sense that these three words, ultimately still have same meaning – discrimination. However, Dr. Adams’ logic regarding the ABC method does make some sense.
Using his analogy, I considered recent events which took place in our town involving several police officers and an unconscious criminal suspect [ (Sims) ]. Though a jury determined that the officers were not guilty, it was evident from the various film footages shown, the suspect was thrown, from his vehicle and was unconscious when the five officers arrived on the scene and proceeded to beat him. Despite the suspect’s colour or status, I, along with many other viewers of different races, sects, etc. felt that the officers violated the suspect’s civil rights. In my eyes, this was a blatant case of stereotyping, prejudice, and racism. I even tried to apply the ABC rule: ‘A’ being that the officers in pursuit of the suspect witnessed one of their own being nearly hit during the chase.
They (police) immediately demonstrated their ‘white and authoritative’ powers. The officers had the attitude, that all black suspects are possibly armed and dangerous. We’ve a long way to go to remove labels and retrain people’s way of thinking egarding the accepting of others without consideration to their ethnic, cultural or social status.
Adams, Mike S. Dr. Welcome To The Ivory Tower of Babel: Confessions of a Conservative Professor. 2004. 16 February 2011 <http://www. isbnlib. com/preview/1891799177/Welcome-to-the-Ivory-Tower-of-Babel-confessions-of-a-conservative-college-profes>. Sims, Bob. “Birmingham News Blog. ” 20 May 2009. 17 February 2011 <http://blog. al. com/spotnews/2009/05/birmingham_police_beating_vide. htm>.