An article in the New York Times on Thursday gives a clue about how little progress America has made on overcoming prejudice and racism and discrimination. In this case, the issue is anti-Semitism but the same kind of prejudice haunts practically any sub-group in America.
A Jewish pre-law student, Rachel Beyda, was nominated for the Judicial Board of the Student Council at UCLA. During the Council’s discussion prior to voting on her nomination, this question was raised:
“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community,” Fabienne Roth, a member of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, began, looking at Ms. Beyda at the other end of the room, “how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?” [quoted from the NY Times article]
Such an ironic question! Worried about someone else’s bias, Ms. Roth shows astounding bias of her own. So she has a questionable right to raise the question and is in no position to evaluate Ms. Beyda’s answer, whatever it may have been.
We are all biased to one degree or another and I’m surprised that a student at a major university doesn’t know that. It certainly isn’t uncommon knowledge. The ideal of a perfectly unbiased person is no more than a wishful illusion. Some people are more strongly bent in a certain direction than are others and Ms. Roth must be one of the most biased on the Council. . .or at least one hopes there are none worse.
America is still a haven for racism and prejudice, for hatred of a thousand sorts. It is being stirred up by such folk and Limbaugh and Beck and O’Reilly, but they are only exposing the prejudices that are lurking in many facets of the American psyche. Watching the Tea Party working so very hard to pull us back to the pre-Civil War era, it is clear that the Civil War has not been allowed to slip into ancient history. We have many leaders who are still trying to reverse the outcome. “States’ Rights,” a slogan which has long been a cover for slavery, remains a thin cover for racism.
The Republican party’s hatred of Obama cannot begin to be explained as policy disagreements. The party’s willingness to do serious damage to America just for the sake of opposing Obama reveals the ugliness — and the popularity — of racial prejudice. It would be hilarious, were it in a cheap novel, that they even oppose Obama when he advocates ideas which he learned from them.
When his ideas — such as his recent Executive Order about resident immigrants — are just common sense, they scream in rage, as if they are really going to spend the millions and millions of dollars needed to consider the case of each immigrant and then deport hundreds of thousands of them. If they actually intended to address immigration issues realistically, they would have done so years ago.
If they really opposed Obama on grounds of principle, as they pretend, they would offer substantial and carefully conceived alternatives. They have none, though they have had years to develop ideas about such matters as immigration and health reform.
If the UCLA Jew can’t be on the Judicial Board, then neither should a Democrat or a capitalist or a Republican or a Christian or anyone else who fits into a category of any sort. How sad to see such immature thinking in a university.