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If I Were That Person: Recognising Prejudice In Ourselves

Posted: February 6, 2015

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Prejudice in ourselves exists too, apart from the world around us. Can we be bold enough to recognize and shed our prejudices, to welcome the world and its people?

“Looks like she’s a show-off.”

“The way she laughs with guys…”

“Why is her clothing so revealing?”

“He must be a nerd.”

“He must be eating everything that he sees.”

If we’ve heard any of these quoted texts or spoken them in our lifetime, we surely understand that prejudice is prevalent in us, and around us.

There are many feminist movements wanting to stop portraying women as sexual objects, but does the size of someone we dare to speak about make us a part of that movement?

Do we realise that when we comment about someone’s body, we expect them to be aligned with the beauty standard set by us?

Hanging out with male friends makes a female a slut.

Revealing clothes = slut.

A woman who’s new, famous, and not liked by us at first sight = slut.

The irony is women judging women without knowing them personally. It’s similar to when someone says that a cake tastes like lemon, without tasting it.

I believed that prejudice was normal, just like domestic abuse, racism, and sexism.

I could say, if it’s socially acceptable, that I’m a proud victim of prejudice. And I couldn’t deny the fact that I judged people like I was being judged. I believed that prejudice was normal, just like domestic abuse, racism, and sexism. The widely-used proverb “The face is the index of the mind” confirmed my belief. I judged people by their face, size, clothes, and the marks they scored.

The major breakthrough happened to me when I started watching crime-based movies. In some of them, a culprit would easily escape from being convicted because he/she’d be trained to act innocent during the interrogation. A man with a scar could be a war hero rather than a thief. A young lady could have the thyroid and have an eating disorder which made her fat. A real identity could be camouflaged by various criteria, and a real person could be judged wrongly based on the way we see them.

My classmate revealed that she thought that I was a rude person just because I sported a pixie cut. One of my professors admitted that she was scared to approach me at the beginning because I wore no accessories. Though I like them now, it hurt me to know that I was not approachable because of the way I dressed.

If were the girl who loves to eat a lot in a restaurant, I don’t want to be judged.

Perspective helped me to overcome judging people at first sight. If I were the guy who wears a flowery shirt, I don’t want to be judged. If were the girl who loves to eat a lot in a restaurant, I don’t want to be judged. ‘Don’t judge’ became one of my favourite mantras.

Cutting down our bad habits, as our mothers would say, can be difficult, but it should be cut down. Life can be really tough for many of us. We should not make creative judgements to add more pain to them. Our efforts, on hating or judging people, may be of no use to them. In the process, we also make our false fact making part of the brain work unnecessarily. Instead, all we need to do is approach the person, befriend them and get our facts right.

I don’t need to say, women are oppressed in our society. Prejudice adds fuel to the oppression of women. Women or not, one shouldn’t be a victim of prejudice. Equality is achieved only if we treat others like we want them to treat us. It doesn’t take a big revolutionary movement, but a quick question to ourselves before judging a person. “If I were that person, would I want to be judged?”

“Prejudice is a great timesaver. You conform opinions without having to get to the facts.” –E.B. White

Mindset concept image via Shutterstock

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