Personal Essay: Prejudice Essay, Research Paper
Personal Essay: Prejudice
The location was a moderate to large size city near the east coast of
Massachusetts. The city has a mix of all races and is diverse in its racial
distribution. It is a city where most of the people are middle class working
folks. While it is a moderate size city, it has few city problems such as
homelessness, poverty and violence.
The year was 1992 and it was the summertime. It was very hot and humid
at about 11:30 at night and I was in a car driving around looking for something
to do. It was a boring Tuesday night so I decided to go to a big video arcade
hangout called Funworld. There is a number of video games as well as young
people. The establishment is a large building with a large parking lot.
I was with three other people in the parking lot when we were approached
by a group of three other gentlemen. I myself am a caucasian male under 21
years of age. Two of the people I was with were upperclass caucasian males also
under the age of 21. The last person was also under 21 and male, but he was
African-American. One of the caucasians was a close friend and another was an
acquaintance. The African-American was also a friend of mine. Of the three
gentlemen that approached us, two were hispanic males that appeared to be over
21 and the other was a caucasian male that appeared over 21, although I couldn’t
be sure. Although I didn’t want to make any judgements about them, they looked
as if they were poorly dressed and over 21. So I deduced that they were in a
gang or they were drug dealers, high school dropouts, etc.;.
At first it appeared as if both groups would just pass by each other
unnoticed but the caucasian male in the other group made a racist remark about
my African-American friend. He said “Look at those dumb dudes walking with that
fucking spade”. My African-American Dave turned around suddenly and said “What
the fuck did you say?” The caucasian male retorted “None of your fucking
business dick!” At this point both groups approached each other and then my
friend Dave said “You wanna go”, in response the other kid said “Let’s go!” and
shoved him in the chest. The other two of the caucasian male’s friends jumped
on top of Dave and then we all kind of got into a fight. We were mostly just
pushing and shoving each other at first.
After about a minute of pushing, two of the guys jumped on Dave and one
jumped on my friend Chris. When I was looking at this I noticed that Chris, who
is well-built, and the hispanic were mostly wrestling, but Dave was really
getting hit. My first instinct was to help Dave, of course, because he was
getting killed and Chris was okay. To my surprise however, my friend Dan helped
I immediately jumped in to help Dave even though I was equally good
friends with Chris and Dave. Dave was getting hit the hardest and needed help
bad. I pulled one of the guys off Dave and then pulled the other off. By this
time Chris and Dan had easily overpowered the hispanic kid, and when the three
kids saw it was four against three, they just ran off when they saw that there
was more of us than of them. I helped Dave off the ground, and saw that he had
a bloody nose, but he seemed okay when I asked. Chris and Dan were fine and
didn’t show any ill effects at all.
When I saw the hispanic people and the way that they were dressed I
started wondering if they were going to start any trouble. My attitude toward
was possibly prejudiced, but under the circumstances, at night with the clothing
that was being worn, I think (obviously correctly), that I was right in the
conclusion that they were out to cause trouble. I was taught no to the
prejudiced, but in this situation I’m wondering if what I did was considered
prejudiced because I was correct in my first assumption of them. The problem is
that though the actual instigator seemed to be that caucasian male from the
other group, and not the hispanics. I feel a bit puzzled as to how my thinking
and value or belief system could be construed in that situation. I believed
that they would cause problems and they did cause problems; but was it the wrong
thing to believe? I don’t know
Looking back at the event I keep thinking about why Dan went over to
help Chris who was doing fine, instead of helping Dave who was getting killed.
Dan is not friends with either of the two but merely acquaintances with both of
them. It may not be right but I keep thinking. that there was a little racial
motivation in the fact that Dan went to help Chris and not Dave. Why else would
he have helped Chris instead of Dave. I also noticed that he wasn’t too
sympathetic to Dave’s feelings and didn’t rush over to see how he was doing, or
if he was hurt
At first these thoughts didn’t really enter my mind, but the next day
when I looked back on it and examined what had transpired, I started thinking
that perhaps there were some hidden racial overtones in how Dan acted. Although
he didn’t say anything or act offensively to Dave, perhaps not being either of
the two, I was able to notice their actions and how Dan was acting towards Dave.
I was feeling confused and hurt at the game time. I was feeling
confused because I didn’t know why one of my friends would act this way. If one
of my friends did act this way then I was hurt both because of the gap between
my values and his as well as feeling confused as to when he started acting this
way, or if he had always been racist and I just didn’t notice. I was starting
to wonder if I knew my friends as well as I though or if perhaps we have drifted
in different directions in values and beliefs.
I don’t know what role my thoughts and feelings played in the
altercation between the two groups other than the fact that I thought of helping
my friends. I also felt a great amount of hatred towards the hispanic race.
Looking back I know that was wrong but at the time when my friends and I were in
a fight with them I hated them so much I wanted to kill them. I know I wouldn’t
have if it came down to it, but because of two people I hated their entire race.
I think the fact that I was white and one of my friends was black and
another of my friends was white affected the situation largely. Also to a
degree the fact that two of the other men were hispanic and the amount of hatred
I felt toward them. As for my friend, for a couple of seconds I almost felt
ashamed to be white, because someone of my own race was being prejudiced towards
my Afro-American friend. Although I don’t want to make it seem as if I am
ashamed to be white, at the time I felt as if I had to represent my whole race
in feeling bad towards what happened to my friend Dave and also how my friend
I think a factor that has not been discussed that was prevalent in this
case was the fact that the three other gentlemen started the altercation and not
us. This made me feel more hostile towards them and the fact that we really had
nothing to do with the fight starting, but yet because of the fact that we were
three caucasians and an Afro-American was different to them. They didn’t like
what they saw so they tried to change it by any means possible.
I think that Dan was perhaps confused and perhaps upset at the same time.
He was struggling internally because two people he knew were involved in a
fight and he had to make a choice between the two as to which one to help. On
the one hand one person he knew was white and in a fight but he didn’t seem like
he needed help. On the other hand, Dave who is African American seemed like he
needed help in a fight but didn’t get any except from me.
Chris was thinking that the other three men had no right to do what they
did and they would have to pay for their actions as well as their words. I
really can’t say what the white man was thinking when he said that because I
don’t know why anyone would do something like that. As for the other two, I
know that they felt the same and got more than they bargained for when we got in
I think that the different social groups here create an obvious issue.
The fact that a white and two hispanics were fighting against an African
American and two whites shows that the race was the key factor. This fight
alone was a melting pot of individuals. I think in my mind that the fat that
Dan was white affected his decisions, not in a big way, but in some sort of way.
I don’t really know about the other three, but as for Chris and I, race affected
us in terms of white and hispanic because that’s who we were mad at the most. I
don’t know why this would be the case, but it just was.
I believe that African-American viewing this would have felt the most
strongly. The event they would have sen unfolding in front of them would have
hurt a lot. They would have jumped in to help not only my friend Dave but also
all of us because we were all trying to fight for the same thing out there.
African-American’s also would have been puzzled as to why one white man would
help out a black man but not two. The way events unfolded would have made them
In an odd way I feel another thing that would have made people jump in
to help was the fact that a caucasian and an African-American were fighting for
each other . As much as we hate to admit it that is not a scene we see nearly
enough of in this day and age. Something has got to be done about it