I believe that you, as well as I, are more prejudice than we let ourselves on to be. We learn as children to not judge a book by its cover, yet we all still believe we can gauge a person’s personality merely by the way they look. Prejudice is not limited to school segregation and police dog attacks on civil rights marchers. Rather, prejudice is an idea that one can judge another and in doing so belittle the judged solely based on their appearance. Unfortunately, this judgment is considered by some to be human nature, which is either very true, or the more likely reason, we are taught to belittle others by our culture.
I personally believe the idea of prejudice is a result of modern society. For example, in any given day, one hears Mexican, racist, religious, gender, and sexual preference jokes without batting an eye. In most cases, these jokes are told in good fun, but what does this say about our society, that it is socially acceptable for the majority to mock the minority? It seems to me as if the American people believe all men are not created equal. Not until you and I experience true equality, when Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley quality schools are offered to students from schools such as Harmon and Truman, not until the religious majority doesn’t view all other religions as doomed, not until Mexicans aren’t mocked for their sacrifice for a better life, not until women are respected as much as men in the corporate world, and not until gay bashings are taught in history books instead of on the news, not until all this will equality truly exist. In the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights activists succeeded in their work for equality legislation and integration into mainstream society. Today, the legislation is in place and the schools have been integrated in theory, now we need to learn to accept these new ideas as “inalienable rights”, not as good opinions or bad ones, depending on who you are, that don’t particularly affect each and every American. Then, and only then, most certainly not in any of our lifetimes, will the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and the ideas of our forefathers come true, of a nation where every human “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.