Although MLK Day is now a part of the past, many people continue to make it their mission year-round to carry on his legacy of advocating for racial equality. It seems to be a life-long quest and one to which the majority of us aspire.
But there are other kinds of prejudices, some veiled and some not, and we must be very careful to recognize them. It is easy to see when judgments are made based on skin color, culture, or disability. Appearance is just the easiest and fastest way to form a judgment – something we humans seem to be awfully good at doing.
Now add to those mentioned other prejudices such as religion, job or career, socio-economic status, obesity or anorexia, ability to speak proper English, dress, hygiene, etc. There are so many ways for us to profile and assess worthiness to our fellowman.
We cannot make a difference in this world if we are quick in judgment. And even slow judgment can be a detriment because we see things through our own eyes. Our perspective is even more important than reality so here is what we can do to honor individuals who have heightened our awareness about issues we needed or will need to confront.
- Be kind to everyone
- If you go into a room of strangers, look for someone who is alone and appears to be an outcast. Make them feel important by talking with them
- Realize that everyone knows something you don’t
- Try to assist someone whose size may be an impediment to reach something on the grocery shelf or floor
- Make a point of talking with or acknowledging someone different from yourself
- Demonstrate genuine interest in what someone is saying
- Overcome a prejudice. When your first instinct is negative, make it a point to connect with someone
- Learn about another religion by asking questions, not arguing
- Be generous to everyone in need whether it is seen or unseen
Above all, remember that we are a shared humanity. The world is ours to make better for all of us.