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Tis the Season…..

Is it human nature to be racist, bigoted, self centered, and/or narrow minded?

Tis the SeasonI think all the great religions teach us to overcome these tendencies, even though in many instances all have done much to maintain them.

Historically there have always been groups of people that were considered outside of our circle of trust and acceptance.  They could even be considered somewhat less than human---or in some other way "beneath" us.  How else could we rationalize treating them the way we did and do?  In some cases they were called slaves or servants---but the point is not so much what we called them, but that there was someone there to hold down to give us a feeling of superiority.  They were people we could get to do all the stuff we were too proud to do ourselves. 

Of course having lots of money encoraged one and maintained the other.

I think whenever we speak of “groups of people,” that are culturally defined by the color of their skin, country of origin, religion or any other “defining terms,” we have to be very careful not to conclude those definitions “necessarily mean something.”

Almost daily on this forum I hear people speak about the damage being done to the financial well-being of these United States  by “this or that country,” or “this or that group of people."  Having been a builder and employer for over 30 years, I have a lot of experience with hiring workers from a wide range of backgrounds.  While the vast majority would likely be defined as white Anglo-American, there were also many that were recent immigrants as well.  While I have to be careful not to jump to “conclusions” that are not equally racist, bigoted, self-centered and/or narrow minded, I can attest to the VERY hard working nature of the folks that I employed that were not born in this country---even with severe language barriers at times.

I do not have to “think” about whether they were different from my US born-and-raised employees---it was painfully obvious.  Sure I had some of the best and brightest employees one could ever want.  Employees that even went on to their own businesses and successes---but these were the exceptions. In terms of a work ethic, the foreign born could be counted on from day to day to day.  There were proportionally fewer exceptions to the rule among my foreign born employees---they were exceptionally industrious, eager to learn---and perhaps most important---willing to learn.  And I might add, never late to work.  While my experience was a very small sample, I know of several other builders that would echo this sentiment.

It distresses me greatly when I read comments on this forum that attempt to paint these folks with a broad brush that makes them seem something they are not---that they are in some way responsible for all the “shoddy anything” that happens in our country.  This has been far from my experience.  We are all immigrants here.  My family has likely been here longer than most of my reader's families, getting off the boat in 1632, and I still see myself as an immigrant.

The reality is that we are all on this great space ship called Earth together, and like it or not we are all likely to survive as a species relying on each other---as opposed to excluding each other.

Contrary to the widespread belief that excluded and marginalized groups are a big problem, I think they are instead a huge part of the solution to problems that face us all.  I also think that if all of these “undesirables” were to all go “home” tomorrow (as some people would like to see happen) this country truly would be in serious trouble.  The movie A day without Mexicans,” is probably pretty accurate as to the possibilities around that scenario.

People are just people---there are hard workers and good workers of all religions, races and nationalities---just like there are lazy bums of all relligions, races and nationalities.  We should each be judged by who we each are---not all thrown in some meaningless barrel meant to make ourselves feel better about our collective racism and bigotry.

So while it may be human nature to be racist, bigoted, self-centered and/or narrow minded, we can rise above it---if only intellectually at first.

This truly is the spirit of the season.

 

Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

 


 

 

 

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Comment balloon 11 commentsCharles Buell • December 11 2012 06:05AM

Comments

Interesting article.

Having been a victim of discrimination for decades, first as a female in the business world and then due to age, I can say, it is not fun.

What disturbs me as much as past discrimination against certain groups, is the now popular trend to "pay back", which sadly includes a lot fore folks than did the discriminating.

I'm quite uneasy when presented with or presenting any forms or reports, especially government forms, that classify everyone in the country, in almost any transaction by race. 

Seems to me that we are all members of the "human race". 

The divisions are quite artificial. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

Charlie, We are all shaped by our experience and I would say that we all have been victims, to a degree, of stereotype and discrimination of some order. Unfortunately it is human do be leery of those who do not look or act like ourselves.

But people are people and the more we stand back and open our minds we find that they are not much different than ourselves and deserve to treated individually. 

Judge not if you do not want to be judged.

A true gift we can give each other is compassion. Tis the Season is it not.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Charles -- very thought provoking piece.  Thank you for taking the time to put this together in such a meaningful manner.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 6 years ago

I think I was all those things, and maybe more, when I courted and then married my wife!  There was some age and gender discrimination too, as I recall.

;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Amen, that is the spirit of the season truly. Well said Charles.

But I gotta ask... Is that your plumb bob doubling as a Christmas ornament or vice versa.:)

 

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 6 years ago

Lenn, the divisions are truly meaningless and encourage meanings that are not there sometimes

Don, compassion---so true

Steven, thanks---you are welcome

Jay, there is no shortage of ways we attempt to put our neighbors down---even our own families.

Robert, thanks.  It does look like a plumb bob doesn't it?  Just a hand turned wooden ornament though :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

Charlie, Well stated.  One of the perks of my Navy training was the world travel.  It didn't take long to realize we're not the center of the universe and our way of thinking isn't the only way.  For my day job I work with many immigrants, and they're some of the sharpest people I know.  Before we blame others, we need that quick look in the mirror to make sure it's not us that's the problem.  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 6 years ago

This might be worthy of a tongue-in-cheek post - I was VERY discriminating when I selected my first internet date.  You always remember your first time.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Oh, and that would truly be one fine looking plumb bob!  Why aren't the bob manufacturers that creative?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Very well put. I agree on seeing, hearing stereo types being portrayed as the cause for all types of problems on a daily basis. I think it is easier to deflect blame, than to accept it or look for a solution in light of who caused the problem. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Liz and Bill---so true---it is pretty easy to fall into the trap that we are the center of the universe

Jay, yes you do :)  Does anyone use a plumb bob any more?  Actually I know the answer to that---sometimes they are still necessary.

Jim, we all seem to have to have someone to pick on.  It is worthwhile to step back at times.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 6 years ago

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