This I Believe

Joseph - Forest Grove, Oregon
Entered on September 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe

Everyone forms perceptions of other people. What is important is that people allow those perceptions to change as they get to know that person. It’s part of human behavior to form temporary judgments of one another. This is an instinctive process that humans use for self-preservation.

I believe that perception should only be based on something that can be qualified or proven. As in the person I am meeting or talking to in general should only be judged by the characteristics that they express to me. Which, in turn gives me a valid perception of who they are and what they stand for as an individual. It should never be based on such things as race, or ethnicity. Martin Luther King said one of my favorite quotes that best fits this subject. “I have a dream that one day my children will not be judged by the color of their skin. But by the content of their character.”

I believe we need to remember that visual judgments are only skin deep. However, that doesn’t mean that we should be walking blind. For example; if I were to use an ATM machine late at night and a well-dressed middle aged woman was waiting behind me I wouldn’t feel threatened at all. But, if it was a twenty five-year-old man with filthy clothes and jailhouse tattoos might cause me to be a bit threatened. The statistics would show that my perceptions of the previous example would be justified. At the same time the reality is that the young man could have had higher moral values than the woman could. This belief can be related to many situations with an endless number of variables to consider.

Judging one another through social stereotypes is a character flaw the we see much to often. I believe people miss understand judging someone, and judging someone through stereotypes. Judging is simply a part of life. You judge everything you come into contact with, which includes people. When people judge one another through labels and stereotypes there is nothing true nor positive about it. When I judge someone by their personality rather than their appearance I believe I get a much more accurate opinion of that certain individual.

I have accepted this to be one of the numerous negative ingredients that create a society of people. And that it is how the world works. Stereotyping and labeling people has been going on sense the beginning of civilization. And it will inevitably be part of society and a way of life until the end of days. What can change is the amount of quick judgments we make every day. This is a conscious inner battle of the mind that will not be an easy task, but it is our only hope to conquer this monster we seem to face every day.