I’m not even Unprejudiced

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The best-written thing that I have come across is a letter written by James Tiptree to Joanna Russ just when they were beginning to correspond with each other.  I do not think that it stands as a piece of literary genius, but think that it is amazingly well-written because it is both real and complex- I think about its content more than that of any of the other letters.

Throughout his personal writings, Tiptree constantly displays intense prejudices against many ethnic groups like Arabs, Catholics, and Germans.  He rants about them constantly and generally demeans them.

Yet, strikingly, in a letter to Russ from 1973, Tiptree recognizes these faults and admits that he has many prejudices deeply ingrained into his character!

In this letter, he laments about the oppression of friendly groups while simultaneously expressing his own guilt at oppressing certain groups in particular.  This letter is like witnessing the evolution of racism to civil rights in miniature.

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How remarkable that Tiptree achieved a level of self-consciousness that allowed him to reflect on his own weaknesses.  Usually people are never able to admit that they are wrong, let alone critically examine themselves in a negative light.

Because of this demonstrated capability of self-reflection, Tiptree no longer seems to be mindlessly contributing to oppression.  He has gone a step above beyond this in that he has shown that he is capable of looking at himself objectively, comprehending the wrongness of his actions, and demonstrating the ability to overcome social brainwashing.
Russ Papers, in the Joanna Russ and James Tiptree correspondence found in the Special Collections & University Archives, the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.  See Box 10, File 26.  Dated 1 September 1973.

Keep Calm Picture found at <http://blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/keep-calm-and-stop-racism-19.png>.

Meme found on ForkParty.com, posted by Drew, <http://www.forkparty.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Say-NO-to-racism.jpg>.  

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