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Saturday 16 January 2016

Wide And Prejudiced

It is my belief and experience that every single person on this earth holds at least one prejudice.

More than one, usually - and that does not mean to say that everyone is a little bit racist (regardless of what the song tells you) or anything to that extent. More I am stating, with a degree of certainty, that everyone has at least one belief that is prejudicial, that is not borne out by evidence, but that is part of them and hard to even recognisea s a prejudice - let alone combat.

I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I have several prejudices. The one I am going to be looking at, though, is my prejudice against the wealthy.

I think this is part of my raising as much as anything else. I was brought up during the time when Margaret Thatcher had her way with the economy, and when the divide between the rich and the poor just kept growing. My parents were both hard-working people, and both needed jobs. I saw very little of them; my dad in my early childhood, my mother in my tween-teen years.

I was always told by the wider world that being rich was the cure to all ills, and that everyone should shoot for that goal. Sure, there was the odd object lesson about money not buying you happiness; but each example of that was outshone by other examples, of how one needed to shoot for that new promotion, get that job, earn the respect of your peers. That was the prevailing culture.

At school, being poor was a thing to be looked down upon. It earned the derision of your peers. Despite the fact that we were children and couldn't earn our own money, we couldn't admit that we couldn't afford something. To do so was unthinkable. Rather than just say that our parents couldn't (or wouldn't) buy us the new trainers or the new game or whatever, we used to make up excuses as to why we didn't want them.

I once stood up for a friend of mine who was called some pretty fucked up names because they got school dinners paid for by the school.

It's very easy to have an unhealthy relationship with money. You may be looked down upon for it on a personal level, but hey - in business, you work for an organisation that has signed a contract stating it must try to make as much money as possible. That's corporate charter. Money, and the lust and reliance for it, is an immense evil that causes untold problems worldwide every day - and yet holds the world's economy together, in the optimistic hope that everyone's greed will somehow create a balance in which the market fixes everything.

We're told that what is good for the very rich is good for everyone. Usually we're told this by people who are fairly wealthy themselves, and this isn't an accident. We were told that trickle-down economics would benefit everyone, which it simply doesn't - the only thing that tends to trickle down is the burden of debt.

All this probably contributes to the way I feel about the wealthy. It's not a healthy thing to feel, but I feel it. I try not to let it effect how I live my life, but boy that is hard sometimes.

I feel that if one does have prejudice, it doesn't make you a bad person unless you act on it. If you try and fix it, or put it behind you and try and treat people decently regardless of your gut instinct, then it makes you a better person. If I help up someone who is my friend, isn't it more worthy of respect if I help up someone who is my enemy? We're all in possession of instinct - we defeat it every day with logic. That's what makes us better.

I have to acknowledge that how I feel is irrational. There are wealthy people who are good, both objectively and subjectively - and likewise, those who are poor can be bad. Income and resource does not dictate morality.

Still. I know it is there - but I'd rather know it is there so I can do something about it, rather than be unaware that I'm viewing the world through a flawed lens.

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