Thought for today:
"All men and all times show through their prejudices, and the period in which I grew up and remember so fondly (the 1950's and 1960's), were not all that different to today. The precise scapegoats may have changed but nevertheless, scapegoats remain. It's as though all societies that ever existed have needed other groups upon whom to pin their misplaced anger, spite and intolerance, along with all the blame for society's ills.
Black people, Jews, Gypsies, Physically and Mentally deformed, Tinkers, Irish, Women's Libbers, Homosexuals, Divorcees, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Benefit claimants, Economic migrants, Little Englanders, Europe, Estate Agents, Bankers, Tories, Socialists, Communist, Liberals etc. etc. have all had their time being made scapegoats by the great British public. At some point in history, one group or another has been blamed and sometimes persecuted for having been no more than themselves!
During my years of early development, the main prejudices and communal distaste were reserved for the blacks, the homosexuals, the Irish and the mentally ill.
All of my life, wherever I have encountered discrimination, I have fought against the most blatant prejudices of my time, and by doing so, had I been asked at the time, I would have undoubtedly argued that I held no prejudices of my own. Had I answered in this manner, I would merely have been deceiving myself.
Indeed, I could have so easily argued that as an Irish Roman Catholic whose parents and their three oldest children were 1950 economic migrants to West Yorkshire, during our early years in England we incurred daily discrimination, prejudice and verbal abuse from our neighbours, until a new scapegoat group emerged on the scene in the form of Pakistanis and West Indians. I would also acknowledge that prior to her death, my mother had a couple of nervous breakdowns and was admitted to a Psychiatric establishment (more commonly referred to as Mental Hospitals or Loony Bins then) where she received Electric Shock Therapy on three occasions. I also witnessed other family members who were at one time patients because of some mental illness or an eating disorder. Of course, all such treatment by any family member or relative was 'hush hush' at the time because of the huge 'shame' factor it carried, once publicly known. Being a representative family, I know of at least one male homosexual relative and I wouldn't be in the least surprised to discover lesbian proclivities on the female side over the past century.
Over my years, I have had to come to terms with a number of hidden prejudices I have held against a certain group or type of person. I admit that at the time of initially exercising such prejudices by thought, word or deed, I wasn't conscious that I was doing so or appraised of the true harm and hurt of feeling it probably caused. I deeply suspect that within the darker recesses of us all, were we to see a person whom we would describe as being 'grossly overweight', slip on a banana skin and fall to the ground without hurting anything but their pride, how many of us would automatically laugh outwardly or carry an involuntary smile momentarily? If accosted by a street beggar for money who was obviously foreign in nationality, would our future view upon economic migrants in our country be adversely affected? Were we to be seriously hurt by a non-white person in a vicious assault or have our wife or daughter raped and sexually molested by a black-skinned person, how many of us in our moment of deepest expressed anger would refrain from using the term, 'Black b......?' What might we think or say if we strongly suspected that our teenage son's closest friend was a homosexual? Would we trust and approve of our son's choice of 'best' friend? For many people today, even seeing/hearing somebody use the term 'homosexual' instead of the much preferred 'gay' terminology of present time is of itself considered to be prejudicial.
Whoever we are, it is natural to discriminate and to prefer one thing, one kind of person over another. Sometimes, however, our discrimination is unjust and our preferment unhealthily biased. Often, our mental and physical preferment's and discrimination are prejudiced; sometimes knowingly so, and frequently unknowingly! All that we can do when we become aware of this is to change our behaviour. Such change invariably involves us working vigorously against some of our thoughts and actions until our new thoughts and actions are automatically expressed more naturally.
I strongly fear, however, that mankind will find it easier to ban the bomb than to banish unjust discrimination, prejudice and all the 'isms.'" William Forde: July 27th, 2017.