‘They are not part of us’’ attitude is ingrained in most of us. We prejudge others before we meet them and interact with them. In most cases, negative stereotypes stop us from getting to know people whose comtent could contribute positively to our lives. Then we lose.
How do you stop prejudices from closing doors of opportunity against you?
Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. – Charlotte Bronte.
Prejudices could be eradicated by education. That education starts by answering the following questions objectively:
- What am I being asked to believe or accept?
It’s never late to challenge most of the things you’ve believed and accepted without proofs. Have you ever stopped and considered the possibility that you may have unjustly hurt some people in the past by judging them on false standards?
Wouldn’t you want to make amends by ensuring that in future everyone you meet is given a fair chance before they’re judged?
2. What evidence is available to support the assertion?
What you’ve accepted without evidence can also be rejected without evidence.
Christopher Hitchens gave this advice in more beautiful words,
“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
So where you don’t have a piece of evidence to support an assertion, dismiss it. There’re no truer piece of evidence than experiencing people’s actions first hand .
When an opinion about others sounds too extraordinarily different from how you know regular human beings behave, ask for extraordinary evidence. After all,
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan.
3. Are there alternative ways of interpreting the evidence?
When you reject a stereotype and give yourself the permission to assess people independently and objectively, ask yourself if there’re alternative ways to interpret the evidence you have.
Try to understand how places of birth, cultures, thoughts and moments cause people to react differently to the same situation.
It’s therefore important to assess alternative ways of interpreting a piece of evidence before reaching a conclusion.
4. What additional evidence would help to evaluate the alternatives
Before you reach a conclusion, seek additional evidence. This may mean creating another environment to have a second chance to look at things from different perspectives. This second chance may present different evidence.
5. What conclusions are most reasonable?
The conclusion reached must be the most reasonable. It must a conclusion that would give you the opportunity to assess people most objectively and most independently.
Finally, there is always an exception and so, treat and assess everyone on the basis of personal interaction. And,
Never judge others…unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life – Colleen Hoover.