Prejudice a Learned Behavior

Bill Neinast

Look at that odd looking group of people in the park.  There is such a mix of skin colors.  Some are brown, some white, and others black or yellow. There are even a few who are derisively called red skins.

And, Good Grief!, look at that hair.  The blondes, brunettes, and auburn hair are OK, but that flaming pink dye has to go.

One has to wonder why each person chose that color for his or her skin and hair.  The pink haired lady obviously did not like her first choice, as she obviously went for the dye bottle.  There are probably some among them who wish there was a skin dye product so they could change their original selection.

They must be here for the Special Olympics.   There is such a mix of autistic boys and girls, some with Down Syndromes and others with severely deformed arms or legs.

The point to this facetious rant should be obvious.  Each person is born with different characteristics, none of which can be changed without medical or surgical intervention.  

No one has to, or even can, decide what color his skin, eye, or hair color will be.  Similarly, there is no human control over which babies are born with deformed limbs, Down Syndromes, autism, etc. 

Unfortunately, however, some believe there is only one mold for sexual orientation.  In their closed minds, individuals can be born only as male or female with a heterosexual orientation.  In their prejudicial way of thinking, homosexuality is sinful conduct that individuals choose to follow.

For them, homosexual conduct is not “normal” because it is not normal for them, and if it is not normal for them and their companions, how could it be normal for anyone else?

Until recently, homosexuals had to “stay in the closet.”  When open minded people began to realize that homosexuality was as fixed at birth as the color of one’s skin or hair color, the closet doors opened.

Some mossbacks were stunned at who came out of those closets.  They had to do some real soul searching when they realized that some of their colleagues that they held in high esteem were homosexual.

Notwithstanding the reluctant acceptance by some that homosexuality is as fixed at birth as skin and hair color, there is still widespread disbelief of transsexuals.  A common belief is that this is nothing but males pretending to be female just so they get into the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.

The facts, however, are that transsexuals have been among us as long as homosexuals; that is since the beginning of humankind.

Public accommodations for transsexuals were no problem until recently.  I do not know how transsexuals were treated in the public schools during the last centuries.  Obviously they were accommodated without problems, because we know they were there and that there were no uproars over what facilities they used.

After North Carolina Republicans created a problem where there was not previously a problem, Texas Republicans jumped on the wagon and grabbed the reigns.  

Now it looks like students in Texas public schools will have to carry their birth certificates as tickets to use the restroom facilities.  How ridiculous can we get?

Unfortunately, homosexuals and transgenders are still the subjects of raw discrimination.  Many are still opposed to same sex marriage, adoption by same sex couples, and to transgender individuals living in the sexual orientation  with which they were born.

So here’s the perspective.

We are not born with specific perceptions about things.  All perceptions are learned behavior.  We learn to be racists, homophobes, greedy, envious, etc. from our parents and colleagues.

Education is the only way to overcome those learned prejudices.  Hopefully, this short discussion will encourage some to study a bit about the roots of homosexuality and transgender individuals and to think about the prejudice produced by ignorance. 


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