4.12.2006

I'm having a debate with a friend. The actual debate has only a little to do with the following post (we're actually arguing whether or not the ATF had sufficient cause to chase down and detain this ninja. And for the record, I think ANYONE who attends a "ninjas vs. pirates" event should not only be detained but shot). But it does pertain, and so, I feel the need to clear the air. I don't want this debate to ever "spill over the sides" and make it's way to another venue, where comments can be taken out of context and possibly make me look like a total racist nazi fuck.

So here's the thing: I think "profiling" is a great thing.

Yes, I said it. Profiling is a great thing.

And so is prejudice.

Hear me out.

Because of the temperment and attitude of the current social climate, a lot of words have made their way into the general lexicon - words such as "profiling" and "prejudice". The problem is, because of the way these words have been MISUSED by those proliferating the words into the vocabulary of daily media, they have horribly negative connotations. They've been redefined, and that's a tragedy.

According to Mirriam-Webster, Prejudice is defined as:

1 : injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights; especially : detriment to one's legal rights or claims

This one does not apply in the context of this conversation.


2 a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion

This is the definition I'm referring to, and concequently, in my 1988 edition of Webster's dictionary, this is the only definition to be found.


(2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b : an instance of such judgment or opinion c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

This is what the word has come to mean overall. And that's a shame.


As far as profiling:

1 : to represent in profile or by a profile : produce (as by drawing, writing, or graphing) a profile of

In this instance, I'd take "graphing" to be the real epicenter around which the entire "profiling" concept takes place, as it pertains to building a profile of a person or thing based on behaviour, visual representation, language, what-have-you.

2 : to shape the outline of by passing a cutter around

Yeah, not relevant.

So, basically, I'm arguing that it's not only natural to profile and to prejudge, it's also A GOOD THING. And what is my basis for this opinion? Is Joe really a redneck nazi racist fuck who hates "darkies" and "arabs" and "ninjas"?

Or do I simply draw conclusions based on the information presented me?

I see a guy in a cowboy hat with a huge silver belt buckle, Tony Llama boots, Wrangler jeans and some god-awful western-patterned shirt. The very first thing I think: "This guy is probably into rodeos, trucks, country music, and having his wife leave him and taking the dog with her."

Is this wrong? FUCK NO. This is NATURAL. If it weren't for prejudging and profiling, we'd all walk up to the incredibly huge kitty-cat with the gigantic orange mane and teeth longer than corncobs and try to get it to purr. And then we'd be lion-food.

It's because of prejudging and profiling that we are able to function as human beings. We prejudge the height of a cliff before getting near its edge. We prejudge the heat of the food before we place it in our mouths. We prejudge the anger of our managers before we ask them for raises. Does this behaviour make us bad people?

No.

Does drawing absurd conclusions based on false data due to prejudging lead to racism, sexism, homophobia and poor dental hygene?

A lot of the time, yes. But that's where the issue becomes one of hating RACISM, not the act of prejudging environmental, physical and behavioural patterns and making decisions based on them. I have never once - NOT ONCE - assumed someone was stupid because they were a certain race or sex. I have taken showers with known gay men (and even let one scrub my back when my shoulder was dislocated). I never even bothered to worry if the guy would check me out - so what if he did? Isn't it an honor to be thought attractive by anyone, regardless of sex? I have absolutely no biases toward race, sex, or sexual preference when it comes to getting to know, talking to, working for, hiring, or otherwise involving myself with anyone on this planet (I do have issues with certain religions, though - don't even get me started on how religion is a BEHAVIOUR CHOICE and not a birth trait. If you think you can group religion in with race in terms of bias, you're as brainwashed as some of the fanatics. I agree that the First Amendment reigns supreme and everyone should be allowed to believe and worship as they see fit - I just wish certain religions believed that as well...).

So. Does it make me a racist when I see three hispanic guys with arms full of tattoos, a chain around one's waist, steel-toed shitkicker boots, a knife on each hip and a bad attitude standing near an ATM, and I choose to just drive on and use another ATM?

No. It does not. And why?

Because I'm smart enough to avoid being eaten by lions.