I am prejudiced — but, hopefully, each day I get less and less so. I attend regular meetings of Prejudiced People Anonymous (well, at least in my mind).
It started early in life. It was in the air, in my culture, all around me. “That group …, ” “Those people …,” “That church …,” people around me would say.
But, as I grew older, I realized that prejudice was wrong. Sadly, the damage was already done. I fought against the ideas in my head, but they still came. I felt helpless, knowing that my attitude was wrong.
It didn’t help when some people would confirm my prejudices. Yes, some people who were “different” did bad things to me. But others were good and kind.
Over the years, it helped to learn about other cultures and religions, their background, and what they have suffered. The more I had contact with people who were “different,” the less prejudiced I became.
One of my turning points happened like this: I had been attending night classes at a state university. I was walking on campus to my car, when a woman of an ethnic group that I felt most afraid of (or most angry at?) was coming from the other direction. She said hello and was very friendly and had kind words. Suddenly it hit me that I did not deserve her kindness, after the bad thoughts I’d had against her particular group. It was a grace received, again — undeserved. I realized that it wasn’t the person’s group that mattered, it was who they were individually that mattered.
There is hope for sinners, even for people like me! God can change our hearts! If you are prejudiced, pray for God to show you the beauty of each person.