Help Me Overcome My Prejudice
December 12, 2013 12:25 PM Subscribe
Posting this anonymously, as this is a pretty shameful thing to fess up to. But please bear in mind that I realize this is irrational, that prejudice is born of ignorance, and that I do want to work through it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
OK. So, this all began at the start of the Balkan's War. (Data point: my ethnicity was not involved in the Balkan conflict.) Following events from the US, I was - like I imagine a lot of people were - pretty appalled by things which came to light. This prompted me to read up on the subject a bit more later on, through books and news articles, trying to make sense of the conflict.
It became clear soon enough that some of the bigger questions about the conflict were difficult at best to answer, but that's beside the point. Something happened during this time that didn't become apparent until I moved to Europe, and encountered actual Balkan people.
I have found that when I meet Serbs, I instantly and intensely disliked them. I assure you there is nothing actually wrong with any of them, personally. I would not bring up the war in conversation, but sometimes it gets brought up by someone else. Whenever a Serb starts to talk on the subject, I find my immediate emotional reaction is defensiveness and hostility, though I usually hold my tongue. If I speak up at all, it would be to agree that US response was misguided at best.
So I try not to let on but honestly my internal emotional reaction really bothers me. It is completely irrational and demonstrably false. I remind myself of this, but the reaction remains. I am interacting with them on a daily basis, so this makes things especially tense. I'm at a loss here as to how to get past this, and would deeply appreciate some guidance on how to break this.
Lastly, I want to apologize to any of you reading this who might be Serbian. I neither speak nor act on this bigotry, for what it's worth, and I sincerely hope to put an end to it. Life is too short.