I have to admit it. I am prejudiced. People whom I don’t even know the first thing about, I pre-judge them. This prejudice has been brewing for going on five decades. It’s deep in my blood, and in my bones. I’m not even sorry about it.
For instance, a trial lawyer is forbidden from striking a juror from a jury in voir dire based solely on their their sex or race. Supposedly doing so violates the right of those discriminated against not to be unfairly stereotyped. But all the lawyers do it. They make judgments about persons whom they have never met based solely upon sex or skin color. Blacks and Jewish persons are traditionally liberal and more likely to be pro-plaintiff. Whites, especially older whites, are generally considered pro-defense (or pro-prosecution) in criminal cases. And all races are presumed to be biased in favor of litigants of their own race (all other things equal). Yes, racism in the jury deliberation room is alive and well.
Lawyers are forbidden from asking jurors certain questions, so often lawyers are stuck with a void of knowledge. Thus, all things being similar, when considering a black male truck driver and a white male truck driver of the same age, lawyers will resort to stereotypes and strike based solely on race. Likewise, if faced with a male and a female of similar situation.
Then, if challenged by the other side, they have to lie make up some other sex or race neutral reason why they struck that particular person. “She looked at me funny.” “I didn’t like the way he was dressed.” Blah blah blah! I’ve heard some doozies, and I’ve made up a few myself. This doesn’t make me a racist, it just means that I have accepted reality. Stereotypes contain various elements of truth in them.
Can choosing based on stereotypes burn you? Certainly. I left an elderly black man on the jury, figuring that he would be pro-plaintiff. His son was a state trooper. And he ended up arguing the loudest that my client was “contributorily negligent” and therefore entitled to zero recovery here in Virginia. I know, I heard him through the door to the deliberation room–they were split 4-3 and arguing at the top of their lungs sometimes. That doesn’t stop me from still making decisions about people based on their race or sex. I know from experience that stereotypes have saved other verdicts for my clients. The fact that stereotypes aren’t always true does not invalidate them. When you don’t know everything about a person, sometimes you have to make educated guesses.
And that’s why I say that I am prejudiced. When I know nothing about persons, or next to nothing, I make judgments about them based on what little information that I have. I make judgments based on their language and grammar, based upon their age, their dress, their professed religion (or irreligion). In short, I use what I have.
If five young black males dressed as hoodlums are walking towards me on a lonely stretch of sidewalk, you can be damn sure that I would racially stereotype them in a nana-second. If it later turns out that they were on their way to a late Bible study, well, shoot me, I was wrong.
But this post isn’t about racial prejudice. I assume everybody has a tint of that in them. What I am talking about is the fact that I am prejudiced in favor of conservatives, and against liberals. THERE. I said it. So help me, it’s true. And I just don’t care.
Are there wonderful liberals out there? Yes, I have many liberals in my own extended family (not my immediate family, thank God!) whom I dearly love. Besides their ultra-liberal political philosophies, they are mostly normal. And yes, I know, there are an inordinate amount of conservative kooks out there. Some of them make me cringe, others make me want to puke. And I would discriminate against conservatives on my jury when I’m representing a plaintiff in a personal injury action.
But my first reaction when learning a person is a conservative is a feeling of warmth and good will. Especially Christian conservatives. And especially when they are black, since there are so few black conservatives. So sue me. That’s how I feel.
And I feel great sorrow when conservatives thereafter let me down, such as when they support old Huckleberry, Hucklebee whatever his name is, just because he is a former Baptist preacher. Or when they want to outlaw Texas Hold ’em or other games of skill on the erroneous notion that such are games of chance. Or when they want to repeat the mistakes of Prohibition with marijuana. Or when they don’t drink beer. (Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. Ben Franklin or somebody like that.) I let my guard down, assuming they were decent and right thinking individuals, and they let me down.
But with liberals, I automatically assume that they have something on the order of a mutated gene that makes them argue like junior high school girls and reason with their emotions. They can’t let me down, there is no where to go beneath my contempt for them. I just assume that they hate to hunt and fish, and that they are probably vegans and/or one world order kooks, and that making shit up and lying about it are second nature to them. And I assume that they are lazy as sin and see government as a way to get somebody else’s money for nothing, or just officious morons who think that they are more qualified to spend other peoples’ money than the owner of that money.
Happily, many liberals have proven me wrong about my initial stereotype about them. Course, sites such as dailykos, democratunderground and HuffingtonPost just confirm that my stereo-type is correct way too often. But I just wanted all ya’ll to know that is what I am thinking when I find out yer a liberal or a conservative. I’m prejudiced. That is all.