Entry for November 11, 2008 – Discrimination Three

11 11 2008

A good day to you.

Come in, relax & let us talk some more about this continuing topic of discrimination.

As you know the US presidential elections are done & over with & we cannot discount reports of discrimination whether by race or by equal rights as in that hard fought vote over Proposition 8 over in California.

But that is not the thing that I wanted to think aloud about. But rather I am thinking to myself & now typing it that we discriminate almost everyday, & almost at every opportunity without really noticing it or being aware of it. I am not saying that it is a bad thing, but knowing about it, at least when we tell others to get off their high horse & stop their discriminating ways, we should take off the plank off our own eyes so that we can see clearly that we discriminate ourselves & stop feeling so clean & righteous.

And I just wondered about this myself, after I received a call from my wife on my cellphone. You see for some reason she makes her Caller ID unseen to the party she is calling so when I receive a call from her it comes up as Private Caller or something else other than her name or number.

So yesterday she called me & I picked up the phone thinking it was going to be her as no one really calls me other than her with a restricted caller ID. So we talk & we hang up.

Then about two seconds later I got another call & I see the same Private Caller calling message on my cellphone screen so I picked up & said “Hello” in my Filipino accent. I don’t know how I know that but I know it’s in a Pinoy accent.

But at the other end of the line a female voice slowly & tentatively asked for a person’s name–a name that don’t sound common. And so I said, “Who?” Again comes a tentative lady voice that again spoke a name that I cannot understand or try to spell.

And then there was a short pause, then she said “I am afraid I got the wrong number” or something similar to that. And I said “Okay” & hang up. But what I really wanted to say was “You know you sure did”. For the moment she spoke I knew that she was “African American” and the moment she spoke she knew that I wasn’t the same race as her or that if she is discriminating she would know that I would belong to some Asian race if not a Filipino & wouldn’t really have a name such as the one she was looking for.

And with that, just with speaking with someone over the phone, we can instantly “assume” what race the person at the other line belongs to. In the same manner, we can tell when we hear somebody over the intercom, over a radio station, or someone calling in to radio program. And we can tell to some degree of confidence.

I know it is not something bad, but in reality, we do that unconsciously we instantly have a mental picture of what that voice at the other end looks like & usually we categorize it by race or age or religion or sexual preference, as we say yes, that person is Hispanic, that person is Asian, that person is Pacific Islander, that person is Native American, that person is under 18, that person is old, that person is gay or whatever.

And I really do not know if that is discrimination by itself, but sometimes we adjust our attitudes after we figure out what “race” or “category” the person at the other end belongs to.

Am I making any sense?

Am I discriminating?

Are you?

Tell me what you think.