I know we got into this topic a little bit the other day, and then birthdays and comic conventions got all exciting and distracting, but it is something I would like to revisit. When I think of prejudice, I automatically cut to white, pointy hats and burning crosses, completely taking me and my own personal prejudice out of the equation. But, if I am to live a truly responsible life, I would look at all the areas in my life where I limit my own experience of myself and the people around me because of my own prejudices that I never question.
I will share a little story with you! I was walking through a neighborhood in downtown Vancouver and this particular part of town does not have the best reputation. In fact, I think at one point in time it had the highest rate of HIV infection and heroin addiction per capita in North America. Give you a little bit of a picture?
Now because of this there are many people without homes on the streets and my general assumption when I am walking through these streets is that I need to put my head down and walk quickly. It’s “dangerous”. Now is there some truth to this? Absolutely! I don’t want to act like a moron and walk down the street the way I would my parents neighborhood, but I also want to be sure that I don’t begin to look at the people around me as less than human.
So, I am barreling through this block just trying to get from one stoplight to the next so I can relax, and I see a man crossing the street to come towards me, and I freeze. I put up my guard and immediately thinking he is going to ask me for money. Not one minute after my steel-wall of “safety” was firmly in place, did this man say to me, “I just wanted to tell you I like your dress.”
Done. No, “Spare change miss?” No, “Fucking rich bitch.” Nothing but a sweet comment from another human being.
I saw a wonderful Tibetan Monk speak a few months ago and he stated (now I am paraphrasing so bear with me) that, “The problem with the world comes from the fact that we don’t trust ourselves, therefore we don’t trust each other. We spend all our resources building stronger locks and bigger walls to lock ourselves in.”
So, when does it end? When does the fear caused by prejudice become so debilitating that we forget to live our lives? When does our fear of death become so powerful that we kill our selves prematurely out of an attempt to elongate something we aren’t even utilizing? Our time here on this earth is precious. We get one go at this.
Now I am not saying to be ridiculous, as I said in previous blog posts, it’s all about balance, but I challenge and urge you to look at where you prejudices lie and attempt to challenge or reverse them. See where you ride an invisible horse shrouding yourself in the white sheet of assumption.
It is a really interesting experiment.