Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bigotry and Discrimination

Gentlemen's Agreement

This weekend I saw a great movie. It was released in 1947 and is called Gentleman's Agreement. It stars Gregory Peck as a journalist who decides to write his story about anti-Semitism by pretending to be Jewish for 8 weeks.

He encounters discrimination in obvious, not-so-obvious and downright subtle ways. It's a very entertaining movie that avoids preaching but gets its point across.

The main message I got from the movie is that you can't just silently sit by watching discrimination and saying to yourself "that's not okay." You have to actually do something about it or you become part of the problem.

When you hear "horror stories" about how "bad" a group is (whether religious or ethnic) you have to stand up and tell the person spreading the lies to stop. You have to make it clear that you don't agree and that you will not support their hatred in any way.

Another more subtle form of bigotry is disparaging comments or "jokes" directed against people's race or beliefs. Once again, you must not stand for this sort of covert discrimination.

If we were all a bit less reasonable about the ethnic jokes and the religious stereotypes that are promoted by bigots and the media, then this world would be a better place.

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