Prejudice: any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
I like to think of myself as an all loving, all accepting, welcoming to everyone, peace giving kind of guy. Judge a person by their sole actions and not by an assumption or generalization. I do this. I’ve had nice things done for me by “gangsters” and been pissed off by “pleasant old people”. I truly believe a person is to be judged by how they want to present themselves. In truth I tell you that I follow this.
But I’d be lying if I said that growing up in this world hasn’t caused me to form generalizations of my own. Not to the extent, like for some people, that I will avoid or go out of my way to interact with some people, but there may be some “points” against you or given to you in some areas ahead of time.
It is not my intention to offend anyone. If I do, I sincerely apologize. I will do my best to mail you a personal apology letter if I hurt your feelings and it would make you feel better. I’m actually serious.
Don’t think me a bad person. I am human. It’s a fact I’ve observed in human nature that we tend to learn and prepare ourselves based on previous encounters. Like the immune system for instance. You get the flu. Your body learns it. Even after it leaves your body, your immune system keeps the antibodies for it in storage for the future. Based on that one interaction, it has a judgement made to be recalled for a future occurrence.
That’s just us on a smaller scale.
I guess it’s weird to compare socializing to being bedridden with a fever so I’ll give you an imprint I have in my head. Asians are generally bad drivers. I don’t mean on purpose, like a different group of people, just accidentally it seems. For example, everytime I go into Chinatown or Flushing, two predominantly asian areas, I have narrowly avoided direct collisions. Without disappointment of frequency. So now when I’m about to head into an area like those, I get hyper focused behind the wheel so I don’t die.
That was a bit harsh.
Or I’ll give you one about my own people so it seems fair.
I frequently come home late and I live in a super quiet and dark suburban area next to the projects. I have to walk out of a “not-so-safe” area to get into mine. Until I got robbed on my way home, I didn’t second guess every group of thuggishly dressed young guys in the street coming my way. Maybe that’s a bit of PTSD though.
Or how tourists here in NYC are always stopping suddenly and getting lost.
Or how the hotdog cart people don’t usually serve clean hotdogs, but they taste awesome if you don’t mind an upset stomach later.
Or how when you tell the halal food people “spicy”, they all know how to make you shit fire.
Or how older people swear they know better than any younger person about anything.
Or how Jewish people are all rich and drive like they don’t care about anyone else.
Or how geeks are socially awkward and give us nerds a bad name since people think we are interchangeable. (I actually wrote a post about this)
Or how high school jocks are stupid. And I say that with a little brother who plays basketball…and proves my idea.
Or how Mexicans here work really hard.
You thought I was going to say something else didn’t you? I’m not an asshole, contrary to how this post sounds.
I got a bit carried away, but I’m just listing a few generalizations I’ve experience while growing up. Having these thoughts makes me prejudiced. I admit this. This also makes me part hypocrite because I pride myself on accepting everyone as they are. But maybe I’m not a hypocrite because I do just that. I have these preconceived notions in my head, tucked away like little antibodies in the immune system in my mind ready to pop out when a person matches a certain category, but an override kicks in and each person still starts off with a blank slate.
I think I’m really good at being open.
I still base a person on their first impression and only that impression. Although, I claim I’ll know if I like a person within the first 2 minutes of interaction. A thug can approach me and talk to me about the book I’m reading. A tourist can stop me and ask to take a picture rather than “where is Time’s Square?” Even a hotdog vendor may actually follow sanitary rules and not give me diarrhea. The law of averages will always exist. I’d be naive to not recognize them.
I’d also be close-minded to think that the law was definite with no other possibilities. With this many variations of people can we all fall into a stereotype? Of course not. I have my own prejudices, but they don’t determine my social activities. They don’t repell or attract me to a person on their pwoer alone. They don’t even cross my mind until you piss me off and I want ammo with which to offend you.
Which is pretty rare lol.
Bottom line is, think what you want. Observe and form an opinion. But understand that everyone is different and they’re their own person separate from anyone else. It’s unfair to act towards someone in a certain way before they even show you who they are. It also makes you a jackass.
Til next time. Stay frosty.