A Prejudice Test

People That Are X Should Not Y

This particular pattern isn’t inherently offensive.

There are several combinations of X and Y that are good and necessarily fit into this pattern. Medical advice being chief among them.

X = pregnant women
Y = eat large amounts of fish

X = alive
Y = smoke cigarettes

X = males
Y = avoid testicular exams

X = females
Y = avoid breast exams

X = alive
Y = go without water for days

X = overweight
Y = ignore diabetes warning signs

Now, there is discrimination going on in all of the examples above. The first example must discriminate between pregnant females and the rest of the population because the research shows that this specifically is dangerous. This discrimination is justified given that the intent is to protect X from harm; or in this case X + 1.

It is very very important to remember here that the word discrimination still applies to these sentences. The discrimination is done in an objective sense that doesn’t imply anything else negative about X. These are all combinations that are relatively indifferent to the desires of X but definitely show concern about the well-being of X.

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There are also combinations that end up being constructive safety advice. These are always meant to protect X but can also be intended to protect everybody that is not X. They are indifferent to the desires of X but not to the safety and well-being of X.

X = under Z years of age
Y = drive a car

X = under Z years of age
Y = drink alcohol

X = using guns
Y = skip gun safety

X = using a chainsaw
Y = act a fucking fool

X = holding scissors
Y = run

X = drinking alcohol
Y = drive a car

X = on LSD
Y = climb a tree with a bowling ball and the neighbor’s baby

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Then there are combinations that describe how a system is supposed to function. Combinations that describe the current legal system are a perfect example.

X = under Z years of age
Y = be able to drive a car

X = under Z years of age
Y = be able to buy cigarettes

X = not citizens
Y = be able to vote

These don’t take the well-being or desires or X into account at all but simply attempt to make objective and factual statements about the operation of the current system in question.

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Then there are the combinations that don’t fall into any of the acceptable categories above.

X = black
Y = drink out of a specific water fountain

X = black
Y = ride in the front of the bus

X = Arab
Y = be in this country

X = females
Y = drive a car

X = transgender
Y = use the bathroom they’re dressed for

X = black
Y = straighten their hair

X = muslim
Y = go to the State Fair

X = black
Y = turn down watermelon

X = straight
Y = go to a pride celebration

X = white
Y = have corn rows

X = white
Y = be part of the Black Lives Matter movement

X = Christian
Y = wear a burqa

X = white girls
Y = wear big “door-knocker” hoop earrings

X = white boys
Y = wear caps sideways or sag their pants

These combinations are indifferent to the well being and desires of X. They are subjective assessments as opposed to objective ones and they don’t describe any law in existence (though may very well describe a law or rule the speaker wants enacted). Furthermore they make very broad generalizations about every member of X. Very few, if any, of these generalizations are warranted or moral.

These particular combinations seek to set limits upon all members of X for personal reasons of the speaker that more often than not have strong emotions carried with them. These combinations all exhibit an air of intolerance of others and are almost always based on gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, social status or religion. These combinations all fall neatly into the, “prejudice,” bucket.

The people that hold tight to beliefs similar to this last set of combinations will usually defend their conclusions vigorously by tossing around more broad generalizations about all members of X. Some will even go so far as to make broad generalizations about everybody that is not X to claim that they all feel the same way as the speaker.

 

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