Even though we live in a very diverse culture, many of us are prejudiced toward others who are different from us. Prejudice is based on ignorance, it is judgment based on incomplete information.
Wikipedia defines the word prejudice as follows: “refers to prejudgment: i.e. making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. In recent times, the word has come to be most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality or other personal characteristics. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence.”
As children most of us we were taught to get along, to play nice and love others. Certainly someone somewhere along the line tried to teach us that we should love others as we love ourselves. Most of us have learned some form of the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
If we learned this, what happened to us? Where has that learning gone? One of our worst fears is that we might be judged by others, yet we turn right around and do the same by judging others.
What happened to our humanity and our empathy?
Could it be that the real issue behind prejudice is our lack of acceptance, our lack of empathy, our lack of compassion and our lack love for ourselves? Is prejudice really self-loathing?
We often immediately come to a conclusion in our mind about another person and judge them for their clothes, their skin color, their life-style or something else. Why? The likely reason is that there is a part within us that dislikes or even hates ourselves for not being whatever we think we should be.
What if we were to heal our deep seated personal wounds so that we can love ourselves more fully? Would we then be better able to love and accept ourselves and would that love for ourselves allow us to love and accept others as well?
When I read articles like the one posted here, I feel sad not only for the person who experiences prejudice and judgment as well as those who are doing the judging.
The bible it says “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. Is there any of us who is absolutely 100% perfect in EVERY way? NO!! Hell NO!!! None of us are. Then, what gives us the right to be prejudice and harshly judge others? Did Jesus or any of the great mystics teach judgment? No. They taught us to love everyone unconditionally.
I honestly think that prejudice boils down to how we feel about ourselves and how much we love and accept ourselves and our humanness. It is in healing those wounded parts of ourselves that we can begin to cultivate the ability to love others for who they are.
Received this e-mail the other day….
When I came to Nashville to be a professional country singer/songwriter, I figured my success would depend on how good I was. But I worry that there’s only so high I can rise in country, just because I’m openly gay. I worry because I saw what happened to Chely Wright.
Back in the 90s, Chely was a groundbreaking star. She was named the top new female by the Academy of Country Music, had 15 singles on the country charts, and her albums sold more than 1,000,000 copies. She even performed at the 75th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry — the most revered venue in country music.
But then Chely Wright made a different kind of history: she came out as a lesbian.
After Chely came out, Nashville turned its back on her. She was never invited to perform at the Opry again — in fact, the Opry has never invited an openly gay musician to perform.
I started a petition on Change.org calling on the Grand Ole Opry to make a statement of inclusion and acceptance by inviting Chely Wright to perform. Will you click here to sign my petition?
When I think about how far gay rights have come in America, it makes me angry that country music is still seen as such a homophobic environment. I want young country fans and kids in the South to know that it’s okay to be whoever you are — that you can have any dream and people will accept you.
There are many people in Nashville who support Chely and the rest of country’s gay community. I know because they email me to say they support my petition, and they think it’s important for the Opry to take a stand. But they’re afraid to support me publicly, because they saw what happened to Chely.
Well if Nashville won’t change itself, it’s time for us to change it.
This is really important to me, because country music is my life. But I can’t change who I am — and I shouldn’t have to. I need your help to show Nashville that America is more than ready to support country music’s gay community.
Please sign my petition calling on the Grand Ole Opry to invite openly gay singer Chely Wright to perform. It’s time for gay country musicians and fans to know that we belong.