Prejudice looks something like this, seeing someone and without even knowing their name much less their character you judge them based off of what they look like. Humanity then is when they speak and you realize that you may have been wrong and you check yourself…lesson learned.
A few days ago, I sat in a room of about a hundred people and a young white lady sat directly across from me at the table. I looked at her, and from her appearance I passed judgment that she was uptight and snobbish. I did not know her story and unlike me to not care, I did not care. We sat in silence for perhaps an hour and as I was turning around I accidently touched her and I apologized. I did not hear her response or that she responded, which further added to my negative thoughts of her. About 30 minutes later, she asked me how long had I been sitting here and I responded. I could hear in her accent that she was not from the US and that she probably had not been here for very long. She said that she was going to get to lunch and would be back in a few hours before she left. I felt terrible. I realized that I had judged this lady and I did not even know her name or how many people she loved and who loved her back. It was a very real realization of just how jaded I allowed myself to become. I gave in to the overt culture prejudices that have reared its ugly head throughout the past few weeks.
I notice that as I scroll down my newsfeed on any social media site or peruse through online news websites; there is a barrage of negativity all throughout. It is quite heartbreaking, but it is reflective of the times and society that we live in. There is a mass awakening to the negative effects of racism, poverty, discrimination and dehumanization of people all around the world, from black people in America to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. I needed to mentally and psychically check out from the protest in Ferguson and the news coverage of it, ISIS and Palestine. It is still there and still needs to be addressed; however, I want to share a message of peace and positivity.
This has been my motto for this year, to find peace and positivity even when it hurts. At the end of the day, it does not matter whether you are black, white, yellow, blue, red or green. It does not matter what culture you are from or how much wealth your family has attained throughout the years, somebody loves you. We all feel, we bleed, we sleep, we hurt and have joy and that is not determined by your skin tone. We are all human. If we can begin to see one another as humans, then we can begin to heal as people because we can empathize with one another.
I have harbored a lot of mistrust and hatred for others and it only hurts me. I think about all of the beautiful people that I may have dismissed because they did not share my skin tone or cultural background, and it only hurts me. How many of you have done the same? It only hurts you. So today I want us to stop hurting ourselves and love each other as we love our own. I understand that there is a lot of ugliness in this world, but if we were all a source of beauty, our light would shine through the pain. So I have given myself the charge to look past those obvious things such as skin tone, hair, facial features and even ones demeanor to see a person’s true character. Let me say to give them the chance to show me their true character and I vow to be open to it. I give you all the same charge. Let’s give some of our hurt to God and begin healing within ourselves so that we can love fully and wholeheartedly, even when we are surrounded by ugliness.