October 22, 2012 by asangiovanni1
I will be the first to admit, I get uncomfortable when I am around individuals who are not like me. Jay has reason when he says we take racist and prejudice confrontations. If I were to be told that I made a racist comment, yes I would resort to thinking the other person believes I am racist. The point Jay emphasizes is we are not necessarily bad people if we make a comment that a racist connotation. As leaders, our responsibility is to be able to accept that we have imperfections. All humans make mistakes, are some type of ignorant, and have flaws. Accepting and taking action to becoming more open minded with regards to m imperfections would allow me to be tolerant and kind to who are not like me. Who am I to judge an African American with tons of tattoos and an attitude when that person could be a fellow soldier, just like me? Facing these imperfections can broaden my horizon, taking in the world as it is not how I would like for it to be.
According to dictionary.com, a stereotype is “a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group”. Who makes these “special meanings”? Who classifies these images? We as individuals and as a society mold images for groups or identities among us. One that I could relate is the social class of the “wealthy”, “rich”, and “well-off”. My junior year in high school, I attended a private school in London. I was only able to attend the school because my father’s job paid for it. Needless to say, it was very expensive and only the top elite of foreigners attended. When I first got to the school, I judged everyone and assumed they were all snobby and spoiled students who got whatever they want at the snap of their fingers. Lesson learned: not everyone was the way I thought they were. A lot of students were like me, middle class, there on government orders, and trying to obtain a decent education. Some of the riches students ended up being the most down to earth people I had ever met. Most of my friends today are from that school in London.
From then on, I learned that physical and materials aspects do not represent a human being as a person. Everyone has an their own identity and do not necessarily fit with stereotypes like “rich white kids”. No matter what social class or economic class a person may belong to, I take the time to know them instead of classifying them. This has helped me take a step towards accepting individuals who may follow me in the future.