Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Prejudiced? Who Isn't?

It's that time of year:  love is in the air, peace on earth, goodwill towards men (and women).  You are either frantically shopping the aisles for the right gift, or fighting a depressive funk from the stress of frantically shopping for the right gift.  All is well with the world and hate or prejudice is forgotten.   Perhaps, for the moment.

The truth is that our bias is never forgotten.  It comes with the package that we are.  It springs up spontaneously and, in our minds, is factually justified.  For instance, the person serving us is too slow, or looks different, or doesn't speak properly, or has a "cultural" attitude (fill in whatever reason that works for you).   It is the machine that runs and ruins our coexistence.  So, what do we do about it?  Nothing.

Prejudice is not a "bad" thing unless you act upon it.  And, you are not a "bad" person if you have it, unless you act upon it.  A thought is just a thought.  It has no power as long as it stays a thought.  And, you need not feel guilty about having that thought.  You will never like everybody, and not everybody will like you (oh no, that can't be).  So long as you keep your thoughts to yourself and keep your hands in your pockets (so no one gets hurt), who cares what you think?  Of course, if you have some good ideas to share, we will want to know what you think, but that's a topic for another article. 

Think about some "evil" thoughts that you may have harbored during your lifetime.  You want to kill him for doing that, get rid of him/her so you could be free, take that ----(whatever) from them.  You know what I mean.  They start in childhood and grow stronger in adulthood.  Chances are that you never fulfilled on any of those thoughts, although some nations and criminal minds have. 

So, you can stop beating yourself up about your prejudices.  You don't like blacks, whites, Indians?  Jews?  Christians?  Muslims?  Fat people?  Thin people?  Rich?  Poor?  Midwesterners?  (Who doesn't like Midwesterners?)  Urbanites?  Immigrants?  Pick the national origin that irks you.  Forgive me if I miss the particular prejudice that you have.  My response is:  so what! 

Your thoughts are your thoughts, and you are entitled to have them.  But, here's the hitch.  Keep your thoughts where they originated, in your mind, and no one gets hurt.  You don't have to invite the people you dislike to dinner, but you do have to live in the world with them.  Sorry about that.  Believe me, they don't like it as much as you don't.  Prejudices are part of the human condition.  Embrace them, acknowledge them, and live with them.  Just don't act on them.  Maybe, just maybe, if we all did that, there really would be peace on earth.