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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Judge - Let Me Introduce William And George

" A great number of people think they are thinking, when they are merely re-arranging their prejudices." - William James

Of the many anecdotes I collected during my years as an adult educator, the one I've recounted more than any other involved an administrative law judge who told me - with a straight face - "... all my prejudices have been taught out of me." I was speechless. How could any thinking person make such a claim? 

When someone tells you they don't "see" skin color, what is your first thought? Although I'm tempted to ask a person who makes that statement when they last had their eyes checked, I usually suppress the sarcasm and change the subject. Often that judge jumps unbidden to mind as I search for a neutral topic. Then later, I frequently wish I'd been less timid. "Picking your battles" begins sounding like an anemic cliche and a lame excuse for avoiding a teaching moment. 

If not now, when?

"Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw 

6 comments:

  1. I think the key is using respect and love to allow the person the dignity of learning without being embarrassed...as you have done many times for me.

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    1. As always, you give me much more credit than I deserve. But I thank you for that and also thank you for faithfully reading my blog, even though many of the notions therein are things you've heard me rant about over the last forty-two and one half years.

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  2. Another thought provoking post.
    I find it difficult, almost impossible, to imagine ‘not seeing’ skin color. Or any other difference for that matter. While I’ve always been liberal minded, and it’s something that I like best about me, I’m someone who notices differences in people. Differences in skin color and tones. Differences in hair color, eye color. Differences in clothing - both in style and origins. These differences are what makes a person who they are and I’ve always believed that we can learn, should learn and, thankfully in some cases, are learning from them. Learning about the person, their background and their culture. It makes us all better people. It makes us stronger and, with a wishful and hopeful tone in my voice, more accepting. Obviously we still have a long way to go. And recent events are providing the sad proof of that. But it has to start within each of us. Differences should never separate ‘us from them’. The opportunities that these differences provide us to learn about each other are too great to ignore. I’ve read this many times ... too many times ... that people aren’t born with prejudices. They’re not born knowing how to hate. These things are, very sadly, taught. Either through direct teachings or through a persons actions. This is where the change has to begin.

    Thanks again for the post and for allowing me to vent ... or is that preach (lol). I hope I didn’t stray too far off subject.

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    1. Anonymous; Thanks for the comment. And, quite to the contrary, you did not "..stray too far off subject.". If anything, your thoughtful statement about seeing differences - as we all do, no matter how "color blind" someone claims to be - and, appreciating and valuing those differences is exactly the subject.

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  3. I don't perceive the world as a blank canvass. I see "otherness" everywhere because that's the way a human brain is wired. "Who" other, "what" other? And how does the other see me? We must always, as a first step, see each other. Invisible Man is not an option.
    P.S. Kenosha, Wisconsin is my home town.

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    1. Steve; Thanks again for reading and more thanks for your insightful comment.

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