Prejudice

Prejudice blog post by Scott Harvey

Prejudice

So, I want you to take two minutes and watch this video.  Without it, the rest of this post won’t make sense to you.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6902837/panhandler-pranks-entire-subway-car

No, seriously, watch the video…I’ll wait!

So, what do you think?  How did your feelings change from the beginning?  Did you not feel anything?  No?Then you are dead inside, and I can’t help you…you should probably go see someone about that!

But, for the rest of us…I will tell you what I thought.

Having ridden the subway in New York with my family, I have seen several “shows” performed on the subway.  And, quite honestly, I found the performers to be very talented.  But, when they began “ladies and gentlemen”, I am not proud to say, I reached for my youngest daughter’s hand.  Like they were a rare band of child stealing gypsies!

You see, as soon as they began talking, I formed an opinion.  And, I would like to tell you that I only do that on the subway of New York.  I would love to tell you that I don’t immediately dismiss people as soon as they open their mouth.  But, I am afraid, I often do.  I am afraid that in our world of the two-minute YouTube clip, the 30 second commercial, and the 6 second Vine video, I don’t give you much time before I put you in one of my mental boxes with a nice, neat label on it.  And, once you are there, it is really hard to “re-file” you.

Here’s what I love about this video.  This man destroyed the labeled box that I put him in.  And, he showed me how stupid my mental boxes are.  What am I missing out on by filing people away so quickly in my head?  Why do I do this?  Am I that busy?

If you would have asked me before today if I was prejudiced, I would have given you a resounding NO.  In my mind, prejudice is linked with racism, and I definitely do not consider myself racist.  But, do I “prejudge” people (which is the definition of prejudice)?  After watching this video…apparently, I do.

Here is the sad part.  I am a story teller by trade.  As a professional speaker, I tell stories for a living.  I am a huge fan of stories.  And, yet, I thought I knew the man’s story in the video after he said, “ladies and gentlemen”.  I was wrong.  This makes me wonder how many other times I have been wrong.  What other amazing opportunities have I missed because I closed the lid on the mental box I put someone in too soon?

So, if I have done that to you, I apologize.  This is something I need to work on.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone should be able to tell their story.  And, if I will listen, I may just meet someone remarkable.  Someone made in the image of God.  Someone who Jesus died for.  And, I want to be open to the fact that just maybe all that person wants is to be heard.  To be congratulated.  To be human.

Long story short…I want to be done pre-judging people.  Because I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to hug them on the subway after they finish their story!

I think this is a conversation that can bring healing.  So, let’s be respectful and have a conversation.  Have you ever felt prejudged?  When have you been guilty of doing this to others?

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