Kamal Naqvi, (at 11:39AM Sunday 8th of July 2007, GMT)
I tend to agree with both of you to some degree. For me, we all have a range of prejudices. It is just human nature to gravitate towards people who are similar. Raciscm is just one of many such prejudices. The issue is not that prejudices exist but the degree to which one is allowed to overcome them. Moden Western society generally has become better at this than most others, but is clearly still far from perfect. The key, I think, is not to use the existence of such prejudices as an excuse for failure. Over time, the vast majority of people will allow you the chance to prove yourself despite their own prejudices. The real question is whether you have the right attitude to oversome intial resistance.
Just look at British muslims. There is generally more freedom and opportunity in Britain for them in all areas of life than, just about, anywhere else in the world. But yet, a significant minority has elected to see themselves as oppressed and disenfranchised. This is their choice and not the system. They have used racism as an excuse.