Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prejudice is nothing to be proud of

Listening to: 'The Combine Harvester' by The Wurzels [Adge Cutler & The Wurzels]

You may remember I mentioned a while back that I was digging deep into my personality and doing a bit of springcleaning. I imagine if you've read more than a handful of my posts, this fact will probably be obvious to you, but I've found that one of my major peeves is being judged. So in the spirit of chucking out bits that I don't like about myself, and not doing unto others what I would not have done unto myself, I'm trying to rid my personality of prejudice.

I suppose I should clarify what I mean by getting rid of prejudice. I don't mean not having personal preference. I don't mean not having an opinion. The prejudice I'm talking about has its roots in intolerance and insecurity. There's nothing wholesome about it, and that's why it's gotta go.

Walk down the main street in your town at around noon on a Saturday. Look at everyone around you. Try to avoid forming an opinion about any of them. Maybe it's just me (although I highly doubt it), but it's a lot more difficult for me than it sounds. A myriad of thoughts can enter our minds, including the following - "OMG WHAT is she wearing?!", "Oh wow, he's massive!", "Hey she's skinnier than I am, awesome!" (or 'fatter', depending on whether you're trying to gain/lose weight), "Ooh he's fit, but look at the minger he's with!", "Oh god she looks like a right cow", "Ugh...people, get a room!" - and so on, so forth.

Would we say any of these things out loud to the people concerned? I know I wouldn't. So what's the point in thinking them? Are we subconsciously trying to make ourselves feel better by looking down on others? Do we actually think that we're so absolutely perfect in every way that we can afford to criticise other people for such superficial things as looks and fashion sense?

I've come to think that a lot of people make choices in their lives, and then look down on everyone that doesn't follow suit. If someone likes a genre of music that we dislike, we say they have bad/weird/some-other-suitably-negative-adjective taste. If someone's wearing something that we wouldn't like to wear ourselves, we say they have bad fashion sense. We label high street shops by the clientèle they cater to, using the words 'preppy', 'chavvy', 'mumsy'...none of which are meant in an affectionate manner. Why is it that if it's different, it's worse? If it's different, why can't it be just that...different?

I stress that I'm not criticising anyone who finds themselves unintentionally described in this post. I'm not trying to climb to some moral highground where I can preach about the virtues of not having prejudice. I have indulged in all of the above and more, so if at all, I'm criticising myself. It's just that since actually looking at the situation, I can't see any purpose. And if there's no purpose, then I might as well throw it out.

So that's what I'm doing. Every time something judgemental comes to my mind, I say "oooh being judgemental, are we?" to myself (not out loud, of course), and move on. It'll take some time, but hopefully I'll be able to condition myself so that I don't judge people on their appearance, the same way I wouldn't want them to judge me.

1 comment:

  1. I judge people constantly, I find it mildly entertaining when there is nothing else to keep me occupied (and if it's scandalous enough I might even blog about it and entertain others too! :D). So I beg to differ, judging others does serve a purpose, for me at least!

    Apologies for the frivolous/flippant nature of this comment on a serious post of yours!


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