Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The World is a Pigeonhole

Last night I went to watch Brian coach his Special Olympics basketball team. One of his athletes, Carolyn, was also one of my track athletes. As soon as she saw me she came running across the gym and gave me a big hug. It was nice to feel so liked. She sat down and we chatted. At one point she leaned over to me and pointed to Mick, one of the other coaches.
“I think he’s Jewish” she said.
“Pardon me?”
“I think he’s a Jew.” (She says “Jew” like it’s a dirty word)
“Really?” I said, thinking to myself, “Oh boy, this should be good”
“Yah. Look, he has sideburns. That means he’s a Jew.”

Once again I am forced to recognize that stereotypes extend into other stereotyped groups...and why shouldn't they? My Korean students thought Japanese people had slanted eyes and that products made in China were cheap. And my mentally handicapped friend is an anti-Semite.


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