Posts Tagged ‘Prejudice’

Them Versus Us

May 16, 2009

The first part of this thought experiment was intended to test if my perception of the ‘Other’ was a reflection of nothing more than my own prejudices. It had me revisit repeatedly the same set of objects arranged in different ways to see how my reactions varied in response to the arrangements.

In the second part of the experiment I want to see the picture from the other end. This time I imagine myself to be a member of the set of objects and try to sense how I would feel in the various scenarios.

The setting is still the same – a classroom of children being visited by an outsider. (more…)

Us Versus Them

May 13, 2009

I am perplexed by the Us versus Them phenomenon. Try as I might, I have not been able to explain why it has such a powerful hold on so many of us.

Let me try and work through it once again using a thought experiment. I would like you to stay with me as I do and to give me your feedback at the end.

I imagine that I am invited to speak to a class of high school students in a city that I have never visited before.

I arrive at the school and walk through a corridor into the class. In front to me I find 60 students of both genders wearing the school uniform and no other marks of identification seated in random order. (more…)

The Peculiarities of Imran Khan

May 10, 2009

Two things struck me as being odd in Imran Khan’s article that I had discussed earlier: how he found wisdom and the use he put the wisdom to.

Imran describes his narrow escape: “it was a miracle I did not become an atheist. The only reason why I did not was the powerful religious influence my mother wielded on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but love for her that I stayed a Muslim.”

I have just recently read Latika Gupta’s account of what some mothers are doing to their children and so reading Imran’s sentence made me shiver. Imran just turned out be very lucky in having a pious and sensible mother but is it a good idea in general to be shaped by the powerful religious influences of mothers and to believe in something out of love rather than conviction? (more…)

Similar and Different: Black and White

April 12, 2009

In an earlier post we had referred to two very recent books that highlighted the crucial role of education in inflaming relations between communities in multi-ethnic and multi-national countries.

Some very candid comments by Vinod alerted us to the fact that socialization at home plays an equally important role in forming our opinions of others in the community – whether we see them as different from us and, if so, what values we attach to the differences.

This raises the obvious question of the relationship between socialization at home and education in schools. In searching for an answer, Dr. Meenakshi Thapan (Department of Scociology, University of Delhi) pointed us to the recent work of Latika Gupta on this subject. (more…)