I’m Prejudice And So Are You
“So humanity has embarked on a journey of wholesale division, discrimination, and dissection. We have split everything.”
Each of us navigates life based on a belief system cultivated by our experiences. If this observation elicits any variation of doubt in your mind, I would challenge you to this: The next time you are told new information, take a moment to draw attention to your thoughts immediately following. You will soon realize that each one has its roots in data you have already accumulated. This is data that you have accumulated either consciously or unconsciously. Regardless, this means that your intellect is perpetually immersed in the past. This is true to a shattering extent, causing intellect to lose its edge and become a trap.
Everything we perceive in life is met with a comparison of other moments. The same can be said about each thing we come in contact with whether it be family, coworkers, the media, friends, or enemies. The people we come in contact with throughout our lives leave a dose of influence and carry on their way. It is inevitable that we absorb a portion of this and our subconscious mind later finds a place to stow it away whether it be to reshape a belief, strengthen another, or implement an entirely new one.
Regardless of the way you think you are living your life and how original you believe your thoughts to be, the likelihood they are new to existence is relatively nonexistent.
Consider this for an example: Your sense organs always perceive everything only in comparison. Now, suppose I were to show you my hand. While you are able to see one side, you cannot see the other. Now, if I were to show you the other side, you would not be able to perceive the first side. This example demonstrates the reality that human perception can give you an illusion of completeness, while never ever being able to truly comprehend the whole.
I like to think of human perception as a magic trick — specifically a sleight of hands. You haven’t the slightest clue what is going on in the hand of the magician opposite from the one in the forefront (that is, unless you are a magician yourself). This can be said about nearly everything we read, hear or talk about with others.
The response we are receiving is rooted in preconceived notion and while many of us lead lives of harmless intent, it is inevitable that each interaction grazes our belief system before entering the cerebral cortex of the brain for processing and eventually, the limbic system, which later brings to life an emotional response.
I once read a story of a woman who never dated a single athlete after the star of the high school football team broke her heart. It wasn’t the one incident that became the catalyst for a flawed belief, but the reinforcement her mother introduced when bashing her ex-husband (aka the woman’s father) with suggestions that, because he was the third athlete to make her life hell, it must be a character trait inevitable to all who participate in sports.
To speak to the current climate of today’s society, many of us are responding to the protests, civil rights movements, LGBTQ community discussions, and DACA ban in ways that make sense to our lives. This is why there is such a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding each issue previously mentioned. Most are not setting aside a moment in the discussion to articulate what it is that’s actually being said, why it’s important to some, yet unimportant to others, and what makes the most sense from a progressive standpoint.
Much of the societal issues we are currently facing require an objective voice of reason; however, that is nearly impossible to find when our human nature pushes back on this viewpoint. We have become enslaved to our faculty of discernment to the limitations of our sense perception. In other words, you must negate the ‘black vs white,’ ‘good vs bad,’ ‘high vs low,’ ‘heaven vs hell,’ Christian vs Atheist, sacred vs profane,’ etc. mentality and begin retraining the mind to learn to discern the real from the illusory — what is existentially true from what is psychologically true. It is not about what you believe is right based on holy scripture or environmental upbringing, but what is true based on the details themselves. The ideal way to do this is by bringing focus to your awareness, rather than the experience itself. This is the only way to negate a mindset steadfast on prejudice.
The opinions regarding recent events have many people’s sense of empathy in a devastating chokehold.
It doesn’t matter the choices a person made prior to their demise; if their life was taken wrongfully, then this should be the focus. It doesn’t matter what led up to a woman’s abortion, but the right she has to make decisions related to her body without any pushback. It isn’t about white lives being devalued amidst a civil movement, but the fact that black people have seen African American individuals losing their lives in an unjust and inhumane fashion. Improving your sense of awareness both begins and ends with you. It isn’t about drawing subjective conclusions from everything and giving in to confirmation bias but seeing the world through eyes of what is factual.
This isn’t about social justice, but about letting go of the thoughts that presume we know what it is like to live the life of another. This is the time to acknowledge the hindrance to total inclusivity your prejudice has had on those in your community and to bring consciousness to what’s needed in order to make improvements going forward.