Monday, July 13, 2015

Hate Is Hurtful: Seven Practical Ways to Fight Prejudice

This is another original piece of artwork I made
in recent months and hung in the classroom
where I taught camps for two weeks.
Spend Quality Time Together

We can embrace the opportunity to live with and/or near people who are of a different race, ethnicity, religion, and/or socioeconomic background.  The experience of loving and caring for others while residing in close quarters often creates a bond that other interactions tend to lack.

Learn about Other Religions and Faiths

We can attend religious services with a friend who is of different faith or denomination.  We believe in a Higher Power and Being that is far greater than ourselves.  This commonality as well as the values of love, honesty, compassion, kindness, and peace espoused by each of the faith traditions we encounter show that our humanity is the same, and, therefore, our respect for one another’s sanctity and dignity needs to be equal for everyone.    

Travel in the United States

We all have the same basic needs for food, air, shelter, water, and love.  Moving out-of-state several times while growing up showed me that while people’s lifestyles and certainly their accents can (and do) vary greatly; each individual wants to be loved, valued, acknowledged, and appreciated.    

Live, Study, and Travel Abroad/ Learn a Foreign Language

We can learn about other cultures, traditions, and practices.  I’ve found that learning French and studying abroad in France for a year in college dramatically improved my understanding of and appreciation for European culture and francophone countries.  Living with a host family, being immersed in the language, current events, the daily grind, and the historical richness changed me and my perspective of the United States as well as other countries. 


When we work towards a common goal to meet the basic needs of others, we put aside our differences and use our time, energy, and talents to alleviate human suffering.  We all have gifts we can share with others.  When we are willing to meet people where they are and are attentive to what they most need and want, instead of concentrating on what we think they need or want, then we are being truly present, listening, and accepting others where they are. 

Interact with Children of Various Races, Religions, Ethnic, and Socio-Economic Backgrounds

Kids aren’t naturally prejudiced.  They are taught who or what to hate, fear, and fight against as well as how, why, and when to express those judgments.  They learn this from the adults in their lives, from our culture, and the people they interact with on a regular basis. 

Acknowledge Our Own Biases, Fears, Lie-Based Beliefs, and Misconceptions

This can often be the most painful and uncomfortable to do, at least it is for me.  It’s easier to say, listen to how prejudiced that person’s comments are rather than admit that we typically make unfair and inaccurate assumptions about others based on their words, appearances, and/or the groups with which they identify themselves.

As human beings, we tend to respond to people, situations, and circumstances based on our previous experiences and what we came to think, believe, and/or how we were taught or conditioned to react.  Those are not necessarily the best or most appropriate responses to current situations, though.

Do you have additional suggestions to add to this list?  I’d love to read them!
Please leave them in the comment section below or e-mail them to me directly. 
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