Photo courtesy of realprogressivesusa.com
MUSINGS ABOUT AN UNFORTUNATE PART OF HUMAN NATURE
Back in the mid-1990s, a friend and I took a trip to the well-known Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA, the museum that famously focuses on issues dealing with racism and antisemitism, particularly focusing on the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement.
One part of that museum that I remember was that when you entered the place, there were two doors for you to go through; one said prejudiced, while the other door said non-prejudiced, and you were instructed to enter the door of what thought you were.
Most everyone tried to enter the door that said non-prejudiced, and guess what?
That door was always locked, which forced everyone to use the prejudiced door and gave a crystal clear message:
EVERYONE has prejudices – there’s no such thing as a person who has no prejudices whatsoever, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or unaware.
I reckon some people are saying this with incredulity right about now…
“What?! How can this be?! I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body, and I’m certainly not a racist! I don’t have anything against anyone, so how dare you accuse me of being prejudiced?!”
I think that those who are reacting like this are assuming that I’m accusing them of being Ku Klux Klan or Alt-Right-style bigots, which is definitely not the case as there is a significant difference between being prejudiced and being a bigot.
Let me explain this difference as straight forward as I possibly can…
Unlike flat-out bigotry, being prejudiced does not mean that you are going around calling African-Americans the “N” word, or calling Muslims, LGBTQs, and other people of color vicious epithets, as that is merely an extreme version; it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with race, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion.
Here’s an example:
Imagine someone who’s going out on the town for the night. He’s walking down a busy street when he sees some young ladies who are dressed in rather skimpy outfits; micro-miniskirts that barely cover their butts, tight tops that push up their breasts, and wearing more makeup than they should.
That someone may think, “Those girls sure look like prostitutes (or, as I prefer to call them, ‘working girls’)“, when in actuality they are just out and about for the same reason as he – to have a good time – and are not “Ladies of the evening” in the slightest.
A very good message. Photo courtesy of steemit.com
In other words, he is prejudging those ladies.
While he wasn’t outwardly calling them sluts, his brain was telling him that they looked like such, and he was making a prejudgment without getting to know them; for all he knew, they could have been going to a costume party.
A more obvious example of prejudice – which led to an outright racist incident – happened recently at that Starbucks in Philadelphia with those two African-American men who were arrested after the manager (who was white) called the police on them partly because he felt they were loitering and may cause trouble.
Along with the other countless incidents of blacks, gays, Latinos and Muslims in this era of our President-Who-I-Refuse-To-Name on this blog being attacked, bullied, harassed, and blatantly discriminated against due to them not being white, Christian, conservative, and straight during this past year and a half in particular, ever since You-Know-Who (to coin a Harry Potter term) was elected.
I want to give one more example of this notion of all of us having prejudices, which is a personal one and though I’m not proud of it, I freely admit I have…
As I don’t have a car and use buses and rail lines to get around, I spend quite a bit of time at bus stops and train platforms.
Every so often, when I sit on a bus bench or wait on a platform, a young person looking like they are in their late teens or early twenties, would stand or sit near me and light a cigarette, not purposely trying to make me ill with that foulest of odors, but which causes me to cover my nose and mouth and move away from such smoker.
I also find myself covering my nose and mouth whenever I walk past someone smoking.
Being that that young smoker has undoubtedly been indoctrinated in the evils of those nastiest of legal habits and should more than know better than to start partaking of that most obnoxious of weeds, I often can’t help but have these thoughts go through my mind:
“There’s a most ignorant type of kid – not to mention stupid.”
Now as I don’t know the circumstances of said smoker – perhaps he/she has mental issues and/or is regretful of starting that habit, but is finding it too difficult to quit – I know that I shouldn’t judge him/her, but my brain finds it hard to do so as it’s following a part of human nature which although it is taught rather than innate at birth serves as evidence that it is flawed; the challenge of being aware of prejudging people and to look beyond the surfaces.
Which is not easy to do, and because of human nature never will be.
Anyhow, as far as my feelings regarding young smokers, I’ll end this post by stating this:
That’s my prejudice – what’s yours?
An excellent quote from the man who wrote “Charlotte’s Web”. Photo courtesy of brainyquote.com