“If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed, and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon.” ~ George Aiken

Photo by Tu Nguyen

Prejudice (a usually unfavorable evaluation of another person) is alive and well. It is widespread, but contrary to popular belief, it has little to do with race. It is more a matter of perception.

We are all prejudiced. Some people are judgmental about overweight individuals… Others are biased about political affiliation, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, occupation, education, national origin, foreign accent, black cats…
The list is endless…

We are all affected (and often offended) by what is unfamiliar, foreign to us. When I was a child, I remember the solemnity and the somber mood of funeral processions. The hearse was pulled by a plumed horse, and a crowd dressed in black walked silently behind the carriage. The atmosphere was subdued.

In my first California wake, I recall being shocked by the rather jolly mood and the colorful attire of the crowd. I was disturbed by the perceived lack of respect shown to the deceased.

When it comes to prejudice, vulgarity (not race) is what offends me the most. I don’t care about ethnicity, but about the image projected. Haircuts, clothes, mannerisms, language are what is first registered… and often generating prejudice. Rednecks and morons parading with weapons are also high on my list.

We have all been subjected to prejudice and discrimination. Human beings (as well as animals) are naturally attracted by beauty and turned off by imperfection. A hunchback, for instance, does not have a ghost of a chance to attract a beautiful woman or to score a corporate job.

But it does not have to be that way, and it is not always the case. Charm (an indefinable enchanting quality) upstages it all. Charm is the ultimate weapon. No matter how you look, if you have charm you have got it made.

“Charm is the ability to make others forget that you look as you do.” ~ Jean-Paul Belmondo

But charm is a gift from Heaven and it is bestowed to relatively few people. And (this is the best part) no matter how much money you have, you cannot buy it. Sorry DT!

Yes, prejudice is alive and well, but it is up to each individual to do some damage control. Be pleasant, helpful, respectful and the world will magically become your oyster.


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