The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

What memory do you have of an incident when you experienced bias, prejudice, and/or oppression, or witnessed someone else as the target of bias, prejudice, and/or oppression? Keep in mind that one can encounter such incidents in real contexts, including online environments, as well as in fictional ones, such as movies, books, television shows, and the like.

I recently viewed a movie where prejudice and biases were strongly apparent.  An African American male had fallen deeply in love with a Caucasian young lady and she loved him dearly. They wanted to get married. Both fathers expressed many concerns in the beginning and were opposed to the marriage. The concerns went beyond the couple. The fathers were concerned with the biases and prejudices the grandchildren might encounter.  Both mothers supported their son and daughter and was caught-up in the rapture of loving. They totally dismissed any prejudices or biases concerning the marriage.

The maid, who is an African American opposed the marriage, and expressed her concerns vividly. She voiced her angry and biases outwardly to the African American male. She stated, “You are out of your place.” She had no empathy for what the couple felt in their heart and did not see race.

Children of mixed parentage account for a growing population in early childhood programs. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported 620,000 births of children with one Black and one White parent in 1990 and predicted a continuing increase. A similar pattern is seen for marriages between other races and for the birth of children with other dual heritages. Much like divorce, the stress related to interracial marriages comes from society’s disapproval of the unions of two people of different races. The stress for children comes from a kind of ambiguous ethnicity or conflicts about their dual ethnic identity (Nagel, 2010).

In what way(s) did the specific bias, prejudice and/or oppression in that incident diminish equity?

The bias and prejudice diminished equity when the maid expressed her biases by stating that the African American male was out of his place, with no regards to his feeling as a human being. A great example of Microaggression was displayed in her reaction to their marriage plans (Sue, 2010).  Microassault was expressed when the maid purposely displayed remarks to hurt the male. The pain is intense when displayed purposefully to hurt and bring you down as a human being.

What feelings did this incident bring up for you?

I can feel the hurt and pain of loving someone regardless of race and my parents did not approve.  I can feel disappointment, anger, and many more emotions. Sadness comes to the surface more than any emotion. How can one not be happy for “love?”

What and/or who would have to change in order to turn this incident into an opportunity for greater equity?

I think the fathers and the maid needed counseling. Later in the movie, the dads came to conclusion that they were old and set in old fashion ways of thinking and problem solving.

Racism has no place in society past or present. This was an old movie, but had some present day problems with biracial courtship and marriages. This was a great opportunity for the dads to look at the positive side of loving and be an example for the neighbors who were disturbed with the courtship and marriage. Sometimes we must lead by example.


Excerpt from Early Childhood Education: Birth – 8: The World of Children, Families, and Educators, by A. Driscoll, N.G. Nagel, 2008 edition, p. 192-193.

Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. New York, NY: Wiley


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