Hello my name’s Henrietta, and I’m prejudiced

21 Apr

“an adverse judgement or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge.”

I challenge anyone to say they’re not prejudiced about something. That they never judge a book by its cover.

We all do it. Form opinions about people within 5 minutes of meeting them. What they look like, what they’re wearing, how they speak.

I remember doing an assignment on dialect prejudice at university. Everyone said to me “well of course, there isn’t really the same prejudice about accents any more”. They were wrong of course. It turns out we are just as prejudiced as we’ve always been, it’s just that we’re prejudiced against different things.

Where once RP was considered the only accent to admire, now we mock it. We assume anyone with an irish accent will be funny, those from Manchester are dishonest, and that all welsh people are, well, stupid. (The assignment said this not me).

Anyway, i digress. The point i want to make is that my ability to judge is inexcusable when it comes to a few specific things. If i find these out about somebody early doors i can’t help but mentally assign the relationship to the first base bin. Make a snap judgement that we could never be that great a friends after all.

These are:

a) They never drink
b) They are heavily committed to their church
c) They own a Nickleback or Evanescence record

I know it’s really awful of me. I am a bigot.

I have great tee-total friends. Friends who attend church every sunday. Friends that have really dodgy music taste (after all, mine can be more than a bit questionable). The difference is that they sneaked from good friend to great friend without me noticing.

I think it’s that, certainly with the first two, they just feel quite fundamental in shaping a persons life, beliefs, what they like doing, how they like to relax. I’m not saying that i worship at the altar of Rioja, but the fact that i enjoy a glass or two does say something about the kind of person i am, how i choose to spend my spare time.

I’m sorry to admit that i WILL jump to the conclusion that someone who never enjoys a drink will probably never be a truly great friend. Will i like them? Sure. Will i want to spend a lot of time socialising with them? Probably not.

Similarly, I have great respect for people who have religion and often find myself wishing i could be one of them. But i’m an atheist, at least i don’t believe in organised religion. For me, this is very defining. And of course, in my own stupid head i’m probably worried that i’ll be pressured to convert.

But maybe i’m just trying to find rationale, excuses where there are none. None good enough anyway.

As for Nickelback. i don’t really want to apologise for this one. Put simply, they suck.

21 Responses to “Hello my name’s Henrietta, and I’m prejudiced”

  1. MrsW April 21, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    I’m a raving atheist and measure my appreciation of wine by the bottle-load but I own BOTH Nickelback and Evanescence songs.

    Best to be up front about these things I thiink… ;P


    “Never made it as a wise man…. couldn’t cut it as a poor man stealing…”

    I also own a whole CREED album (I’m doomed now huh?)

    • marketingtomilk April 21, 2010 at 7:40 am #

      Thankfully i have no idea who CREED are. And, well, i could always convert you ;<)

      • MrsW April 21, 2010 at 9:48 am #

        Ah but to what I ask? Spill your musical taste my dear so I can summarily pigoen hole you lol!

        Did you and Barbara meet at an Anthrax gig?

  2. sandrine April 21, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Great post! I think you put being predudiced into a nice perspective. So sure, we’re all prejudiced, but some of us are better at recognising their prejudices and treating them as such. And then we’re able to see that we made friends in spite of our prejudices, and that makes it easier for those friendships to flourish. There must be something very uncomfortable, I think about being an unquestioning homophobic and having a gay friend. Yet it happens, because as you say, our prejudices are never quite strong enough to stop us finding some people attractive and becoming their friend.

  3. Adam April 21, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    I usually have to convince most people here I’m not a weirdo, religious, or the son of alcoholics when they hear I don’t drink; they then can’t seem to work out how I can cope with going out when all my friends drink (not a problem)

    • sandrine April 21, 2010 at 9:08 am #

      Yep, guilty. I used to think that way about people who didn’t drink. Finally, at 39, I’ve come to accept that not drinking was not quite as weird as having two heads… (I did a post on why but don’t want to put my link. Even as a new blogger, I suspect it’s rude to do that).

      • marketingtomilk April 21, 2010 at 9:09 am #

        No i would love u to. I do it all the time. Increases the debate?

    • marketingtomilk April 21, 2010 at 9:08 am #

      Yeah and i had just you in mind Adam when i talked about people sneaking past me and making me like u despite my prejudice ;<) You are obviously my therapy!

      • Adam April 21, 2010 at 11:50 am #


  4. Livi April 21, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    *cries quietly in the corner* 😛
    Well I’m out on 2 counts: not drinking and loving Nickleback and Evanescense. Please don’t block me from reading your blog!
    I do agree with you though, we can’t help but judge, it’s human nature. I judge people all the time but as Sandrine says, it’s better to know you do and admit it.

  5. Vegemitevix April 21, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Hahaha I’m with you on the church thing and the not drinking… but I quite like Evanescence. You know time and place, fond memories.. guess you had to be there. I’m doubtful about a person’s suitability if they drink instant coffee too…

    I guess I’m a snob. Prejudiced. But a snob with great taste! lol!

  6. JulieB April 21, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Fantastic post, you could have taken the words out of my mouth on the first 2. I can’t say I have any major prejudices with regards to musical taste, but I’m sure there are other things I am prejudiced against. I think we are all prejudiced in some way or another – it’s not right, but sadly it’s human nature.

  7. positivelydivorced April 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    I was a wine merchant for a while and was completely perplexed by the tee-totallers – how could they? Although they weren’t as bad as the ones who drank boxed wine – god forbid 😉

    Another refreshing and honest post!

  8. Simone April 22, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    Eeeh! What an interesting post! Have I sneaked past you?? I DO drink, I have NO Nickelback or Evanescence BUT I’m a regular churchy girl. Can we still be friends? I won’t try to convert you. Promise.
    Do we assume that all commited churchy-type people are NOT drinkers? I’ll have a wine, a beer, a Baileys and ice, even a G&T – but not all at once (or I’ll just go to sleep in the corner and snore my head off; not much fun).
    God and church are very important to me; defining I guess, as you said. I hate fakes tho. Can’t stand pretenders. I’ve been around enough two-faced types to understand why lots of non-churchy people would run a mile from christianity.
    I have stacks of friends who are not churchy at all. And other amazing people who do share my faith. I don’t see it as a problem.
    Here’s hoping you won’t write me off or just nod and smile and run a mile – cos I feel like we DO have a lot in common, aside from that!

    • marketingtomilk April 22, 2010 at 5:56 am #

      Hee Hee. Well you’ll just have to try twice as hard!
      No, but seriously, i think the point of my post was to be honest about what goes on in my head. The conclusions i jump to. In practise, and certainly as i get older, i don’t live by these, people sneak past me all the time!
      After all yesterday i found out all of my readers tick at least one of these boxes, so it seems i’ll be a very lonely old girl if i didn’t try to work harder on controlling my prejudices!

  9. Jay April 22, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Now I like this post. That’s a brilliant take on prejudice, and lets face we it, “society says” we’re not as bad as we used to be, but we’re damn well as bad as ever, we’re just more snobby about the subject. The bloody irony.

    As for me? I drink like it’s going out of fashion, church bores the crap outta me (I still wonder if religion is just mass hypnotism) and I’ve never listened to Nickelback or Evanescence (I just had to check how to spell both of those… ’nuff said.)

  10. Deer Baby April 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    I think I can be your friend. I drink copiously, never go to church and have not really heard of either of the bands you mention… although that’s probably because I’m old and sad.

  11. burblingbee April 24, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Woo, I drink, I’ve never been to church and I don’t own any Nickleback or Evanescence, I win!

    I think you’re right, however much we don’t want to admit to prejudices, we all have them. But accepting that you (we) do, and that’s just what they are, means that they lose some of their immediate significance and you can rise above them. Technically. I still claim non-readers are all nuts though 🙂

  12. bsouth April 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Lol at Mrs W. No we didn’t meet at an anthrax gig, she has much worse taste than that! Notice she’s not fessing up about it?

    Well, sorry H – While I am possibly verging on being an alcoholic, I’m afraid that I do own a Nickleback album (although I will admit it was a bit of a mistake, I was probably pissed when I bought it and you have to be pissed to listen to it) and I take the kids to church every sunday. Mind you, I’ve been known to do a bit of baking with the kids very occasionally so I figure I’m probably on your hit list anyway.

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