You know when you are at the supermarket and the queues are really long and you have to choose what lane to stand in? I have a trick to pick a fast one. Never stand in a queue with a male cashier. Here is why: Statistically women prefer to operate the registers while men prefers to work as stackers. When there is a rush and they need all stations manned some of them are going to be manned by less experienced and therefor slower stacker, who statistically are more likely to be men.
Was that a bit prejudice?
When I was on the 1Up-yours Podcast at GDC we where talking about why we game and Garnet Lee said: "When you go to the cinema it is not an interactive experience.", I had to bite my tong not to interject "...Unless you are black.". I never said it, and it was probably wise because it would have been seen as racist. I don't think it is racist, and I'm sure that if the joke was reversed and told by some of my favorite comedians like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy (When he was young), or Dave Chappelle it would have killed, because it does what comedy should do, reflect our society.
I have spent some time in the US, and from my very limited view, I get the feeling that the fight against racial prejudice has come to an impasse. Historically the united states has been a racist society where minorities, especially blacks, have had to endure massive and systemic racism. The fight against systemic racism is an important one but its successes has created a new problem: the self view of blacks as a oppressed minority has made some of them over sensitive to racism. Not only is that self view not a very inspiring one, it has made many whites think all blacks always plays the race card, and therefor that there is no real racism to speak of against black people.
As long as many in the black community sees racism everywhere and many whites equate racism with crying wolf, nobody is getting anywhere because they are both right enough to not change their views. Whites no longer want to discus the topic of racism at all as its seen as a issue owned by blacks and as an argument that they can only loose. The black community has taken ownership of defining what is and what isn't racist.
Now this is not a phenomenon just in the US, other historically oppressed groups like Jews and women sometimes defend themselves against bigotry in a way that makes them the greatest bigots I know. Zionists are about the only people who can with a straight face claim that they have the right to move other ethnic groups to give them more lebensraum, without people daring to protest.
One such thing that keeps annoying me, is hearing from women how "easy" I have it in the world of programming because of how everyone supports boys learning computers. While my parents have been great, don't think they where supportive when i skipped school and spent all my time with computer graphics rather then doing my homework, to the degree that almost flunked. Especially since I know how incredibly supported women are in the field of computers science. (We like to take care of the few we have, like giving them beta keys if they date us)
(Note to women who believes that the difference in male and female behavior is entirely caused by environment and not biology: Out of interest please explain to me your views on transsexuals, I would really like to know.)
Not only is this over zealousness counter productive, it takes focus away from other forms of bigotry. (Last time I was in LA I was told by a minority cabby to keep track of my belongings at USC because "there is a lot of blacks and Jews around here". I think you would have to search long and hard for some one white who would say the same to a stranger.)
Lately I have been writing on my "Manifesto" and one interesting thing I found while working on it is that i may not really believe in justice and equality. I believe in doing good things. If you do good things to one person should you stop because you have not had the opportunity to do good to an other? If you fail to make things better for one, do you need to fail all others too? To be good means the be good to everyone disregarding of how good you have been to them in the past or what you think of them, There is no need to evaluate when and to who you need to be good, because there are no moments when you shouldn't be good. Justice in the form of punishment is to me an even more foreign concept, as it rests on the idea that, inflicting pain on someone else will undo pain that has been caused. Justice implies the preposterous thought that bad things can be undone without actually undoing them.
I have always found the word "prejudice" a bit suspect too. Pre - Judge, judging before. Every decision we take is with the information we have and never with all the information there is. You could argue that the very definition of thinking is prejudice; the ability to anticipate and plan for what we don't know, like which checkout lane to stand in. I'm a big fan of intelligence, so I kind of don't want to disparage it.
If i go to an Arab country and I don't offer people booze and pork, am I a racists because I make assumptions about Arab people I don't know?
The problem isn't "pre" its the "judging" part. Its not about knowing people, its how we treat them. If people are equal or not shouldn't matter either as it shouldn't be cause to treat anyone bad. I don't know if its true that black audiences talk to the screen, because i have never seen a film with a black audience, but it doesn't matter. I'm not going to treat black people bad, one way or the other. Its sad that women don't like programming as much as I do, because i enjoy the company of women, but that's OK, because women's rights is not about how there has to be an equal number of women and men working as programmers, its about how women have the right to choose to do what they want to do.