Honesty Corner: Are You Prejudiced?

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Liquid

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This is an attempt at a thread where GTPlanet members can outline, bring up or even outright confess any prejudices they might have and discuss them in a mature forum and attempt to approach them in an objective manner. There are existing threads for specific issues but I feel that a place for people to discuss their own personal outlook on life warrants its own thread rather than individual opinions on individual topics.

This is a place to discuss things that you know, or at least you might think, are wrong but you cannot help but agree with or fail to understand.
It's an honesty corner; nobody's perfect.

The thread title contains two parts:

  • Do you consider yourself prejudiced generally?
  • Are there any specific prejudices you know you have?

You might additionally ask yourself if there are any issues of which you are ignorant but think might be important?

Important:

What this thread is not, is a place to vent obviously bigoted or racist opinions.

What this thread is, is a place to discuss doubts, known ignorances and obliviousness.
 
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Liquid

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I'll open with some of my own. Perhaps it might inspire you to see what I mean.

Transsexuality

I am transignorant. I absolutely don't mind if gender reassignment surgery is what makes you happy, that's your businesses. I don't have a problem with it at all. But unlike other topics such as homosexuality/lesbianism or asexuality, I don't know enough about trans issues or trans rights to have a definitive and educated opinion on the subject.

So whenever the latest hot transsexual hot potato hits the headlines, I don't jump in with zealous defence and I don't jump in with a persecutive complex. I simply don't know enough about the issue and, although I am content with the concept of transsexuality, take a muted view of the subject.

Travellers & Romani People

Two unrelated but similar groups. In Europe, probably the ethnic groups with the lowest respect. Ask anybody if they like gypos, and the answer will be universally negative. The narrative of a nomadic itenerant lifestyle doesn't mix with the more absolute, locative collective of western countries and I don't think I am being unfair in saying that there is often major conflict between (Irish) travellers, Romani and "everyone else".

You never see good press. You never hear good stories. I don't know if there is good press or if there are good stories to be heard but I can't say I have ever experienced them. I have never had much interaction with Romani people but with Irish travellers in particular, I cannot help but admit that my interactions have been negative on the whole. I try not to let it cloud my judgement, I like to consider myself someone who gives every individual the chance of a good first impression and benefit of the doubt but growing up around travellers and the negative storm that follows them, it has been difficult to do so.
 
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Danoff

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Scary topic! I see people are staying away.

I think, to a certain extent, some level of predisposition is impossible to avoid. You probably feel physically safer around women than men. I definitely suspect men of being pedophiles much faster than women. I'd be surprised to find out that people don't have some level of automatic profiling.

The thing is, I don't know if it counts as prejudice for the purpose of this thread. Given no other information, I profile. Given information, I quickly toss the profile in favor of the new information. Is that prejudice?
 
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Liquid

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I definitely suspect men of being pedophiles much faster than women.

I'd say this is almost universally true and I'd be really curious to know if anybody does suspect the opposite.

Given no other information, I profile.

How do you profile or what do you profile people as with no other information?
 

Danoff

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How do you profile or what do you profile people as with no other information?

By assuming men are more dangerous, or more likely to be pedophiles. ;) I also profile based on clothing, tattoos, piercings, smoking, and foul language. Again, this stuff gets tossed out once I have actual information. My old boss smoked, I liked him quite a bit.
 
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Scary topic! I see people are staying away.

I think, to a certain extent, some level of predisposition is impossible to avoid. You probably feel physically safer around women than men. I definitely suspect men of being pedophiles much faster than women. I'd be surprised to find out that people don't have some level of automatic profiling.

The thing is, I don't know if it counts as prejudice for the purpose of this thread. Given no other information, I profile. Given information, I quickly toss the profile in favor of the new information. Is that prejudice?
Yyyyyyes? I mean...I don't assume any dog won't bite me if I reach out to it.

I do instinctively judge based on appearance, but like you, I adapt my impression of an individual as I find out more about them.

I probably judge people more readily in certain areas than I do because of certain immediately perceptible traits. Of course, people in "bad" areas aren't guaranteed to be dangerous and people in "nice" areas aren't guaranteed to be safe.
 
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So.. this is the draft saved from a day or so ago, I decided not to post it... but since the thread's actually been used...



Ask anybody if they like gypos, and the answer will be universally negative.

Yup them gypo ******** stole my car! I ******** 'ate 'em.

Having said that, my ex was of Albanian Roma descent, so I know they're not actually all thievin' pikey ********, but more than enough of them to earn a reputation, or build a stereotype, are.

I think with a lot of these things, prejudice sets in when you have limited direct experience with something, but it appears to conform to a stereotype. If, as you get more experience, the thing continues to conform to the stereotype, then it's more reasonable to literally pre-judge... but of course, if you continue to judge based on stereotype, even if it's demonstrably not representative, that's when the bigotry sets in. In the case of gypsies the reputation is, I'm sure earned, but that doesn't make it true in every case.

Currently I have to remind myself that not all Trump voting republicans are lunatics, on account of the fact I've stayed with Trump voting republicans whilst in the US and they were fine people, open, welcoming, tolerant and generous.
 
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I'll readily admit that if someone does something that I consider stupid on initial impression than that overwhelmingly dominates any context that might have gone into the situation that led that person down whatever path they chose; and it takes a lot to override that initial impression. I'll also admit that that colors my initial impressions of a lot of social movements as a result; particularly the ones that don't directly affect me as a middle class white guy. As such, I initially respond to a lot of things automatically with a "Play stupid games" mentality when it turns out it absolutely wasn't warranted at all.










As a more lighthearted example, I do find certain types of accents almost impossible to take seriously, due to pop culture making it seem like people who naturally speak that way are actually just doing a bit.
 
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Yes, although it has fluctuated throughout the years. I guess it's from a mixture of everyday interactions and experiences and the increased connectivity of the world allowing easy access to information that "confirms" viewpoints.
 

Keef

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When I was a teenager and I saw black people in Miamisburg OH I always thought, "What are they doing here?" Pretty sure the reason is because my parents always told me that Miamisburg doesn't like black people. Eventually a few Middle Eastern families moved into the neighborhood (Kurds and Jordanians if I recall) and my parents told me all about them as well.

Growing up with racist parents and other adults basically guarantees that you're going to be an asshole and struggle to unlearn these instincts you were taught all the way through your 20s. Parents have so much power to create terrible children and that's basically why the problem persists from generation to generation.
 

UKMikey

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When I was a teenager and I saw black people in Miamisburg OH I always thought, "What are they doing here?" Pretty sure the reason is because my parents always told me that Miamisburg doesn't like black people. Eventually a few Middle Eastern families moved into the neighborhood (Kurds and Jordanians if I recall) and my parents told me all about them as well.

Growing up with racist parents and other adults basically guarantees that you're going to be an asshole and struggle to unlearn these instincts you were taught all the way through your 20s. Parents have so much power to create terrible children and that's basically why the problem persists from generation to generation.
Congratulations on growing up into a decent human being. Have your parents changed at all in the subsequent years? Have you any brothers or sisters who were affected?
 

Keef

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Congratulations on growing up into a decent human being. Have your parents changed at all in the subsequent years? Have you any brothers or sisters who were affected?
They died several years ago so I never got to find out but I'm kind of glad I never had to. It's a bit sad watching a person in their old age realize they could've made changes decades ago, never did, and now there's nothing they can do. But I didn't sense that my parents would've ever changed...they believed what they believed, they moved to the suburbs from the city for a reason, all their friends did the same, virtually every adult I knew as a child in the suburbs of Dayton was exactly the same and numerous family members still are. It's a way of life. I don't talk to most of them very often at all and don't really care to. In fact one of the reasons I'm sort of happy about all the civil strife lately and all the people voicing their opinions is that all the people who we thought were decent human beings, because they were our parents or family or friends or people who helped us grow, have outed themselves as closet racists and otherwise hateful and judgmental people. None of us are perfect, sure, but when a person can't even admit their own faults because they don't believe they exist then it's not just an imperfection, it's a conscious choice. That's kind of the vibe I get. I guess I'll call somebody else if I need help building a fence or house shopping or working on a car. Most people call these people whom they "trust" but I'm not so sure I do anymore.
 
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The thing is, I don't know if it counts as prejudice for the purpose of this thread. Given no other information, I profile. Given information, I quickly toss the profile in favor of the new information. Is that prejudice?

I don't think so. Making assumptions based on past experience where there's no other information available is just rational. I'd think of prejudice as more like when you stick to your assumptions when faced with alternative information, or when you refuse to attempt to gain information when it would be easily and safely available (usually just talking to the person).
 
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I've honestly been thinking up an answer here for about a week, constantly changing it around and such.

Do you consider yourself prejudiced generally?

I at least I try my best not to be. As mentioned previously by a couple other people, I'll profile upon first contact, but will be open to changing my perception once the person has a chance to speak/act for themselves. I do also take into account location, particularly since where I work is within spitting distance of a well-known area for drugs in my county, and my place of employment is, for the sake of simplicity, a very specialized pawn shop, meaning it's a prime spot for people to try and sell us crap to get some quick cash, and have people we don't want hanging around, potentially harassing customers. That being said, I try not to let that cloud my judgement (and admittedly with some individuals I occasionally have to remind myself of this), and give every person who walks in equal treatment until they give me reason not to. I've had plenty of times where a person who appears to be a "vagabond" is actually pretty straight-edge or even a pretty chill person with fun things to talk about, and plenty of times where the most "normal-looking" customer ends up being a complete PITA. I also try to keep that in mind in my day-to-day, since I know that for a lot of people, I'm on the other side of that "relationship."

I also know I've spent a decent amount of time on this subforum arguing against using prejudice or stereotypes to judge a person before they speak to themselves, a thought which has come up quite a bit when typing this person, as I don't want to be the guy who doesn't practice what he preaches.

I do kinda echo @Tornado 's post where if someone say/does something incredibly, objectively stupid, it's pretty hard for me to move them out of that category, though.

Are there any specific prejudices you know you have?

I don't think I have any specific prejudices now, but I did briefly have a prejudice instilled in me despite trying to give said group the benefit of the doubt, if that counts for anything.

When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to travel across Europe for 2 weeks on a WWII/Cold War themed trip. One of the things we were told about were to watch out for thieves/tricksters (for lack of a better term), Romani people in particular. Initially I figured that they couldn't be that bad, and that the stories about them were just drummed-up. During the trip, pretty much every exchange we had with such people were pretty negative. While my own personal interactions were limited, the few that I had were more-or-less just begging for money, and the rest of my group had a variety of exchanges, some of which I witnessed, others I heard about later on, with pretty much none of them being good. At the time, it felt like people immediately knew we were Americans (insert no-duh) and "targeted" us immediately for it, and it painted a really bad picture of Romani people in my head.

What changed for me was going to my local community college, which was very much an absolutely massive melting pot. A girl in one of my first classes came from a Romani background, and I had a few, albeit brief conversations with her. While I don't remember much of the conversations we had, those conversations, as well as learning about the world at large, made me realize how easy it is for a few individuals to paint a really bad picture for an entire group of people, a fact I have become intimately familiar with over the past year. Of course, overall background and how a person is raised does play a factor too imo. Like I said, I do occasionally have to remind myself not to paint a broad brush, even when it seems like the easiest thing to do, because I now known how unfair that is.

Basically, I learned how much people can suck in general, regardless of what their background is.

....

@Liquid , good thread, even though it made me terrified that I might be even more of an :censored:hole than I know currently I am. :lol:
 
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Simcoeace
What is with all the discussion about the Romani? I do see them when traveling in parts of Europe - often in touristed areas, but are there any in NA?

I would venture the opinion that almost everyone harbours prejudices of some sort. Racism, xenophobia & ethnic suspicions are present all over the world - they're most definitely not an invention of white Europeans. I think the best you can hope for is to be conscious of your own prejudices & work at trying to challenge them.
 
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What is with all the discussion about the Romani? I do see them when traveling in parts of Europe - often in touristed areas, but are there any in NA?

According to Wiki, upto 1,000,000 people of Romani origin/descent in USA, and up to 80,000 in Canada. Wiki makes an interesting comment that because they don't have the amount history in the USA that they have here in Europe they're far less well known, and generally identify with themselves with their nationality instead of heritage.

As for why they're being discussed, because there is widespread animosity towards them, that may - or may not be - justified. If you tell someone here in the UK that a bunch of Gypsies/Gypos/Pikeys/Travellers etc. have setup a site just round the corner, you're very, very, very unlikely to hear them say "Oh good".
 

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As for why they're being discussed, because there is widespread animosity towards them, that may - or may not be - justified. If you tell someone here in the UK that a bunch of Gypsies/Gypos/Pikeys/Travellers etc. have setup a site just round the corner, you're very, very, very unlikely to hear them say "Oh good".

The same people often don't realise that Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised ethnic groups and are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act and the Human Rights Act. I think part of the problem is that people only ever see the "bad" travellers/gypsies and assume they're all the same. Most likely they've met several perfectly normal law abiding people from the same groups and have never realised because why would they unless they specifically asked about it?

Random fact: My wife's side of the family partially descends from Romany Gypsies as recently as her great gran.

Transsexuality

I am transignorant. I absolutely don't mind if gender reassignment surgery is what makes you happy, that's your businesses. I don't have a problem with it at all. But unlike other topics such as homosexuality/lesbianism or asexuality, I don't know enough about trans issues or trans rights to have a definitive and educated opinion on the subject.

So whenever the latest hot transsexual hot potato hits the headlines, I don't jump in with zealous defence and I don't jump in with a persecutive complex. I simply don't know enough about the issue and, although I am content with the concept of transsexuality, take a muted view of the subject.

While we're on the subject of not knowing much about trans issues it's worth noting that the term "transexual" is often considered offensive and outdated. Transgender is the usual term used. 👍
 
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The same people often don't realise that Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised ethnic groups and are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act and the Human Rights Act....
This is what I was hinting at in a previous post.

We seem to be hypocrites when it comes to holding or expressing unsavoury opinions on certain ethnic groups yet (rightly) condemn instances when those opinions are held against the majority of the other ethnic groups. It's kind of how it was acceptable in the near or distant past for people to hold those views out of ignorance about those same groups before they became more "protected" and yet we judge those people by the standards of our time.
 
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Liquid

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While we're on the subject of not knowing much about trans issues it's worth noting that the term "transexual" is often considered offensive and outdated. Transgender is the usual term used. 👍

Now see, I wrote the term transsexuality under the assumption that it was a fair word to use. There was no intent to be wilfully ignorant, no intent to be an edgelord by writing the wrong thing.

So it'd be better to use transgenderism as a word for the concept in general?
 

Barra333

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I am transignorant. I absolutely don't mind if gender reassignment surgery is what makes you happy, that's your businesses. I don't have a problem with it at all. But unlike other topics such as homosexuality/lesbianism or asexuality, I don't know enough about trans issues or trans rights to have a definitive and educated opinion on the subject.

So whenever the latest hot transsexual hot potato hits the headlines, I don't jump in with zealous defence and I don't jump in with a persecutive complex. I simply don't know enough about the issue and, although I am content with the concept of transsexuality, take a muted view of the subject.
That is pretty close to my opinion/understanding of it too. The aspect of transgender-ness that causes conflict in my head is the eligibility of male->female people participating in competitive sports. Men are measurably stronger and faster than women when all other things are equal, so the base that the M>F folks are coming from is an unfair advantage, even if the hormone treatments alter things?
 
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Simcoeace
According to Wiki, upto 1,000,000 people of Romani origin/descent in USA, and up to 80,000 in Canada. Wiki makes an interesting comment that because they don't have the amount history in the USA that they have here in Europe they're far less well known, and generally identify with themselves with their nationality instead of heritage.

As for why they're being discussed, because there is widespread animosity towards them, that may - or may not be - justified. If you tell someone here in the UK that a bunch of Gypsies/Gypos/Pikeys/Travellers etc. have setup a site just round the corner, you're very, very, very unlikely to hear them say "Oh good".

The point is, I'm not sure that anyone has any feelings one way or another about the Roma people in North America because they do not have a commonly recognized ethnic/cultural presence. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has a different understanding. Growing up in the UK I was aware of the presence of the occasional "gypsy encampment". They had no appreciable effect on the communities I lived in which, (full disclosure) were in Surrey. Are the Roma more visible in the UK than they were 50 years ago? Possibly they are, because of the trans-national mobility introduced in the EU ... & so was this one factor in the vote for Brexit?

My own experience with prejudice is heavily coloured by my parents (as I suppose it is for almost everyone). They were not racist at all ... or at least they were not consciously racist & were rather consciously anti-racist. In that, I gather my upbringing was somewhat different from other people posting on this forum. However, I am sure they had unconscious prejudices & were certainly not "politically correct" by the standards of the present day. I have described how we went in the '60's, as a family, to see the Black & White Minstrels show in London.

Spoiler alert: for racist & sexist & just plain weird content:

 
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I don't know about that Mikey - it sounds more like the prejudice originates in Romania & would mean very little to someone who had not traveled outside the US.
 
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Barra333

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There are a lot of places where Gypsy is a catch-all term for shady folks, without any understanding of the actual Romani people and culture.
 

Moglet

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Now see, I wrote the term transsexuality under the assumption that it was a fair word to use. There was no intent to be wilfully ignorant, no intent to be an edgelord by writing the wrong thing.

So it'd be better to use transgenderism as a word for the concept in general?

It's usually quite easy to tell when someone's words come from a place of hate rather than simply not having knowledge, yours was definitely the latter so no worries there. I feel like people should be willing to help a little more than they are sometimes when it comes to letting others know about the sort of terms that are used and what they mean.

As for the term "transgenderism" I've never used it myself and can't imagine a situation where I would. I would usually say something like "I don't always understand the issues faced by the trans community". "Transgenderism" makes it sound a little bit like it's a lifestyle choice.

That is pretty close to my opinion/understanding of it too. The aspect of transgender-ness that causes conflict in my head is the eligibility of male->female people participating in competitive sports. Men are measurably stronger and faster than women when all other things are equal, so the base that the M>F folks are coming from is an unfair advantage, even if the hormone treatments alter things?

I think it depends on the sport and the effects of their transition. Take one of the highest profile cases of Rachel McKinnon, the track cyclist who won at the UCI Masters in 2018. She got a lot of hate because people saw her as having an unfair advantage however they likely ignored or missed the fact that:
  • There are set limits on how much testosterone MtF trans athletes are allowed to have in their bodies when they compete
  • Her actual power output was dead center average for a cis female track cyclist
  • She was beaten by the very same opponents in 10 out of 12 of the previous events she attended
The effects that transitioning have on athletes' bodies is still being looked at but often the differences aren't as striking as people would believe. When you transition a hell of a lot changes!
 
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The same people often don't realise that Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised ethnic groups and are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act and the Human Rights Act. I think part of the problem is that people only ever see the "bad" travellers/gypsies and assume they're all the same. Most likely they've met several perfectly normal law abiding people from the same groups and have never realised because why would they unless they specifically asked about it?

Random fact: My wife's side of the family partially descends from Romany Gypsies as recently as her great gran.

I'd agree, you wouldn't know my ex, or her sisters, were of Roma heritage either. The lack of attachment to a fixed base to call home and some other attitudes are still evident for them, but in any other respect they're not really comparable to Gypsies that people have a problem with... who are the type that turn up in a convoy of caravans, disrupt communities and engage in criminal behavior, before buggering off and letting everyone else sort out the mess - which I think, certainly in the UK, is where people get their impression from - and honestly, although I know it's wrong to generalise about what a "gypsy" may be, I can't really disagree with peoples reaction to a traveller community setting up camp on a local sports field.

Growing up in the UK I was aware of the presence of the occasional "gypsy encampment". They had no appreciable effect on the communities I lived in which, (full disclosure) were in Surrey. Are the Roma more visible in the UK than they were 50 years ago? Possibly they are, because of the trans-national mobility introduced in the EU ... & so was this one factor in the vote for Brexit?

I couldn't really say if they're more frequent now than then, they're not that frequent - I'd say maybe every 3-4 years or so they turn up where I live. Councils probably invest more now in building specific locations for them, and they're generally tucked away from what I've seen. As for the Brexit factor, people don't need for foreigners to be gypsies to not want them here, just being foreign is enough for many. I have no facts for this, but it wouldn't surprise me if most Gypsies here were of Irish origin.
 

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I'd agree, you wouldn't know my ex, or her sisters, were of Roma heritage either. The lack of attachment to a fixed base to call home and some other attitudes are still evident for them, but in any other respect they're not really comparable to Gypsies that people have a problem with... who are the type that turn up in a convoy of caravans, disrupt communities and engage in criminal behavior, before buggering off and letting everyone else sort out the mess - which I think, certainly in the UK, is where people get their impression from - and honestly, although I know it's wrong to generalise about what a "gypsy" may be, I can't really disagree with peoples reaction to a traveller community setting up camp on a local sports field.

There are a lot of Irish traveller groups where I live, including a permanent site a few miles down the road, and it certainly does feel like they are frequently being reported on in the local papers and on local news sites for setting up camp, destroying the land, and then moving on. But I'd be curious to see how much of that is just the media only reporting on those who cause trouble. They have no reason to report on people just living their daily lives.
 
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There are a lot of Irish traveller groups where I live, including a permanent site a few miles down the road, and it certainly does feel like they are frequently being reported on in the local papers and on local news sites for setting up camp, destroying the land, and then moving on. But I'd be curious to see how much of that is just the media only reporting on those who cause trouble. They have no reason to report on people just living their daily lives.
I grew up in a village with a reasonable number of Irish Traveller families that had 'gone brick' as it was termed. Never really had any issue with them that I can recall.

Myself, I grew up in what would (for the time - the 70's onwards) be considered a staggeringly tolerant family, with both my parents supporting and active in the Anti-Apartheid movements and Anti-Fascist movements. The former of which during the Thatcher years was certainly considered fringe lunacy by many. We never watched the likes of the B&W Minstral show or anything with Alf Garnet, Jim Davidson, etc. in it, and I consider myself quite fortunate that I've not had any deeply negative influences of that nature to bias my early years. Not that it was always easy, as up until my teenage years we lived in a council house in what was the roughest estate in the village, and let's just say that progressive views were not the norm at the time.

That all said, we all hold unconscious biases, and for me, the key is in making them conscious and actively owning them and being self-critical enough to challenge and change them.
 

Moglet

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I grew up in a village with a reasonable number of Irish Traveller families that had 'gone brick' as it was termed. Never really had any issue with them that I can recall.

Myself, I grew up in what would (for the time - the 70's onwards) be considered a staggeringly tolerant family, with both my parents supporting and active in the Anti-Apartheid movements and Anti-Fascist movements. The former of which during the Thatcher years was certainly considered fringe lunacy by many. We never watched the likes of the B&W Minstral show or anything with Alf Garnet, Jim Davidson, etc. in it, and I consider myself quite fortunate that I've not had any deeply negative influences of that nature to bias my early years. Not that it was always easy, as up until my teenage years we lived in a council house in what was the roughest estate in the village, and let's just say that progressive views were not the norm at the time.

That all said, we all hold unconscious biases, and for me, the key is in making them conscious and actively owning them and being self-critical enough to challenge and change them.

The only issue I've had with the local permanent site is that one of them once pulled out in front of me as I was driving up the road next to the site :lol:

I grew up in what seems like the exact opposite of your family, funnily enough. I grew up in a household where racist and xenophobic views were drilled into me constantly and luckily I quickly (in my early teens) realised these were not how I felt at all. I still held on to some biases towards people (based around class, social welfare, even gender), that I now find appalling, until my mid 20s due to working in toxic environments with terrible people and getting a lot of my information from newspapers and nothing else. Luckily I was able to take a step back and challenge these biases and eventually change them.

My parents, however, still hold some racist views and believe a lot of what is printed in The Sun or The Daily Mail when it comes to race and immigration. Pretty much every time I visit them I end up expressing my disgust at something they have said. Brexit only served to make things worse in this regard.