I had lunch with some ladies on Saturday afternoon. The weather was balmy and beautiful. We sat outside on the balcony, in the light breeze, and chatted over tiramisu, banana cream bunt cake and ice cream, seltzer water and diet iced tea. Conversation went as conversations normally do with no predictable flow. As I listened and considered their words I found myself thinking further, bigger, outward. One woman recalled that another woman at church approached her and said she had always thought she was "mean." I, along with the other ladies at the table, could relate to being pre-judged. I thought, imagine, that we go to church every week, see the people there every week, see how we and others interact on a regular basis, and yet still we pre-judge and and are pre-judged. We come to conclusions without ever getting to know each other. And we are supposedly like-minded people of similar cultures and backgrounds. We already have much in common. How much more should we expect of those around us in the world with whom we don't interact on a regular basis and with whom with have no idea if we have anything in common?
I shared my thoughts with the group and we went on like that. We would talk, everyone contributing, and I would take it one step further, bringing attention to the connection of what we spoke about to the world at large. By the time we were wrapping up I had an aha moment that my gallup poll "strength" of "connectedness" was a surprising possible truth. I had never noticed that pattern about myself before.
Over the weekend I spoke to a couple of close friends about what we can do to change how minorities, any minority, are viewed. When you consider the negative images of us being portrayed it's no wonder that negative stereotypes persist. We, meaning all people, have to sit and eat with each other, and be willing to give each other a chance. And we, the ones who want to change the stereotypes, have to be proactive in making that change. We must create - create art, inventions, products, services. Create, overrun the negatives, and support each others work.
Ideas? Suggestions? I would love to read your thoughts on his.