This morning, race prejudice is being served up as some sort of ‘hate crime’. At least this is the danger according to a government pronouncement and we are enjoined to have a ‘robust debate’ (a current fashionable phrase) about it.
Race prejudice — and prejudice more generally — whether it’s based on skin colour, thickness of lips, stature, cultural habits or ideological beliefs doesn’t lend itself to any sort of rational discussion. Prejudice is emotional, not to say, instinctive. It’s the attitude, not just of you, but of the group in which you were born and raised in during your formative years or the group you graduated into in later years by virtue of special skills. You’re unlikely ever to change your prejudice unless all your group members do so likewise.
Your group’s culture is paramount. Your group is always right, and other groups are always wrong. Anybody who might disturb it, in propinquity or large size — its activities or its beliefs — is regarded as a danger. This applies when considering your group’s basic ability to find food or in preventing others discovering your particular job skills.
If government politicians want to reduce race prejudice then they’d be better to examine in detail each local situation in an alleged instance of prejudice arises, rather than talk in grandiloquent language such as calling it evil or citing legislation. Once the incident is analysed in terms of what groups and protective practises are involved then there a chance of changing the organisational situation. But, individually, people’s minds won’t change. Prejudice is instinctual.