There is a dirty word I learned at a young age. I grew up during the days of the civil rights movement. So at a very young age I was taught the word “prejudice”, what it meant, and that it was an ugliness not to be taken part of. My dear mom was sharp to pick up subtleties of it, and quick to put them in their place. In her own way she was probably the most un-prejudice person I’ve ever known, having grown up in a poor Cajun family in southern Louisiana back in a time when Cajuns were still looked at as the bottom of the barrel. But a history lesson later. Even with my Mother’s good heart, the truth is there is probably no soul unscathed by the sin of prejudice. Is there anyone among us who can really throw the first stone, who at some point or another has not pre-judged someone, because of their fears, or past experience, or just because they didn’t like the way person’s appearance, or attitude, or the group they belong to?
Now while honestly knowing our own glass house might mean we should not throw stones, it doesn’t mean we should do nothing. I propose there are at least three things we should do. First certainly speak up against prejudice in any form. Do not let it go by un-exposed for the evil that it is. Just remember to condemn the SIN not the sinner, because if you start to hate the sinner(s) you are creating a new group to be prejudice against.
And this sadly… is just what I must confess here… I do all too often.
That brings me to the second thing. I have to stop a moment, anytime I find an incident that brings up bigotry, hatred, esoteric exclusion, infringement of rights, etc… Let me stop myself long enough to see past my indignation and emotions, so I might speak clearly and fairly, and make a well stated point. Emotionalism does not teach others to see, it only incites reaction.
And lastly, at times like this, when I can calmly reflect on my own condition, let my prayer be that I can see myself honestly, and in the light of day find and clean up those dark corners of my heart through education and understanding. I do not want to take part in that dirty word “Prejudice”.
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