Encounters with prejudice.

Prejudice comes in all forms and is everywhere now with that being said I must add that not all prejudice is bad. As defined by dictionary.com prejudice is…”any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.” We use it for protection or to justify thoughts, feelings and actions. And many times our preconceived notions serve a favorable purpose. When it gets dangerous is when you start to over generalize all persons within a class of people to all be the same and it turns into racism, hatred, or discrimination against said persons because of our prejudice.

I am in a race and ethnic relations class this semester and have learned a lot!!! It has been a great class. As a requirement of the class I was leading the discussion for the day and we were discussing the construction of enemies and how 9/11 reinforced our hatred of Muslims. And you can’t talk about a subject like that without religion and politics coming up. So, the conversation that ensued was at first very tense and stayed fairly surface but the more questions that came the more it got personal and I was shocked at how easily people who claim to be open-minded and non-judgmental throw out ugliness and intolerance for someone who’s opinion is different from their own.

I felt like I was under attack for being a “conservative Christian and republican (of sorts).” I was essentially told that I was stupid for believing in a God that can’t be seen or heard and that faith is a social construct to give people warm fuzzies, and that conservatives are the reason for racism and that I am in a self-defeating position. I have to say a fire ignited in me that has yet to be put out. The long and short of the conversation is that what happened in that room was the truest sense of constructing an enemy. They hate me because I am different. I walked away livid but also sad and with a prayer in my heart for people who are so lost in themselves that they can’t even see and respect another persons opinion. God loves us all equally.

Everyone deserves equal consideration and respect no matter what they believe, how they look, or whether we agree with them or not. I know I am not perfect and that I make many mistakes but I praise God that He is constantly opening the eyes of my heart to see people how He sees them. I am sad for the people who are so lost and have been praying that God touches their lives, because I know God loves them just as much as He does me and wants them for Himself. I hope that God can use the meager words I said in self-defense to open someone’s heart.