With all the hate-filled rhetoric filling the airwaves this week, I found myself thinking about prejudice and hate and bias and discrimination. I grew up with extremely prejudiced parents; and I have my own biases because of them. But I have spent a large part of my adult life fighting against my own prejudices. I don’t subscribe to the mindset that people should be treated differently because their skin is a different color; their religion isn’t the same as mine; their culture does things I don’t agree with. But it’s a daily struggle. I know people who will take the actions of a few to represent the whole religion/culture and tar everyone with that same brush. And I think that’s wrong. Imagine if all Christians were thought to be like Fred Phelps or Terry Jones. (And there are some who think that!) Is this how we want Christians to be seen?
When I was growing up, I heard my parents belittling recent immigrants who lived across the street from us. According to my mother, they lived 20 people to an apartment and ate cat food. To my young, impressionable mind, that was disgusting. Later in life I discovered they had that many people living together because that’s what they were used to, and they didn’t know there was any other way to live. And because people didn’t want to rent to them because they were different. And because they were saving money to start businesses where they all worked together as a family. I might not agree with some of the tenets of their religion, but I admire the fact that they were willing to make sacrifices to get what they wanted.
I believe there is good in everyone. Sometimes we don’t see it, or don’t want to see it, because we are blinded by prejudice.
We hate some persons because we do not know them; and will not know them because we hate them. ~Charles Caleb Colton