...Certain types just can't change
At our regular Wednesday afternoon SilverStringer meeting, the subject of the day was prejudice - who has experienced it and under what circumstances. I probably wasn't paying too much attention since I didn't expect too much of substance from the group, many of whom might be characterized as blue collar types and retirees from the steno pool.
One of the Stringers, Bill, turned to me and quietly asked "Are you a prejudiced person?". I replied with a definite no; and he replied with an equally emphatic "Neither am I".
Since then I have thought long and hard about the question of prejudice - short of reading any books or studies that have been written on the subject, which would only cloud the issue unnecessarily. Some of these academic sociologists or scientists simply get caught up in their own words and personal biases.
Family life - parental influence - geography (inner city vs. suburbs)- education - personal experiences - the work place - human nature (natural rivalries, home turf), population shifts, social levels, etc.
We all know that the above, and more, shape our thought processes and influence the extent of prejudice in our day-to-day encounters. We certainly don't need so-called experts to explain this to us.
The answer is really very simple: Bill and I were endowed with a personality and outlook that is trusting and clear-thinking and readily understand where another person comes from. The key word is empathy, which is defined as "an intellectual or emotional identification with others." Bill and I just happen to have it!
(I should probably discuss these comments with Bill since he may not fully agree with my conclusion; he can sometimes be aloof - probably as a result of his English ancestry. We all know how superior acting and haughty the British can be for no real reason.)
February 2, 2001