By Killian Lynch, Features Editor
We’ve all been forced to sit through numerous, unending talks about how it’s bad to judge people you don’t know. Despite this, we’re all guilty of that exact thing. We make snap judgments about a people because of how they dress, the color of their skin, or how they act. It’s not criminal, it’s human. We do it everyday, to everyone we’ve ever met. It’s been the driving force of wars, violence, and petty high school drama. All of which we know too well.
What then are the real consequences of prejudice, especially somewhere as inconsequential as high school? There are many, and I don’t have the time to explain them all. But if you’re not privy to genuine human kindness, I encourage you to consider this; no good comes from not being able to understand people. They can’t benefit you, and you certainly can’t benefit them. When you learn to be compassionate, and consider factors that aren’t sitting right in front of you, the world becomes a lot more beautiful. When there are less reasons to judge, there are less people to pass judgment upon.
If you still don’t understand what I’m talking about, and I don’t blame you if that’s the case, let me present you with a situation. There’s a girl in your class, and you’ve heard some rumors. Some guys call her “easy”, and that might be the most forgiving comment. What do you think of her? The natural reaction may be to recoil at the idea of a teenage girl expressing her sexuality, and to condemn her to an obviously lesser tier of personhood. I choose to consider however, why this might be a reaction. Is it because we don’t quite accept girl’s having sexuality as a society, or because we immediately assume she acts this way for attention? I don’t have the answer to this question- it may be a combination of both. Let’s look at this again, keeping an open mind and trying compassion. Maybe this girl enjoys those sorts of activities, just as many healthy people do. And as long as people are safe, legal, and happy, who am I to label that? We don’t have all the answers, we never will. And yet I still prefer to live in a world where people consider the best scenario, just as much as the worst if not more.
Maybe that cleared up the topic of this article, the gist being that we don’t have to value every person as we see them. As a species, we may need to start considering other people as just that, whole people. Not one person is defined by a single factor; not race, income, interests or even culture. Every person you’ve ever met, no matter how unpleasant, is a beautiful web of all their experiences, morals and predispositions woven into one. To downplay that into a single insult or rude thought is blasphemy. It’s inconceivable and I won’t stand for it. I know as well as anyone that compassion becomes inconvenient when people are inconsiderate, prejudice themselves, or just jerks. I’m not asking you to let everyone push you around because you’re nice and they have problems just like you do, I’m just asking you to consider.
As you approach people on the street, or in the classroom, or online you’re going to make judgements about them. Humanity has trained us all to do so, but right after that thought consider what may be the truth. All of you, the kindest person on the planet, and myself are all responsible for frequent prejudice and bias. It’s a lifelong struggle and I doubt there will be a day where either one of us has perfected compassion, but it’s a struggle worth the cause.