We return for another exciting adventure! Today I wanted to talk about appearances. It’s funny that in our society we make people out to be shallow when they judge something or someone based on it’s appearance. I mean certainly, it makes sense to try to delve deeper into someone before making off-hand comments about him or her. For example, it’s not fair to call a woman a slut because she wears short shorts. But that doesn’t mean that in all situations it is unfair to make some judgments about people based on how they look.
Another claim I hear a lot about specific people is that “people of color” are criminals (I personally detest this term, but it’s what is commonly accepted as the best way to categorize people for this effect). Which is also unfair, because, just like anyone else, all groups have their bad eggs. White males are most known for school shootings, that doesn’t mean we apply this logic to all white men. But think of any African-American male you saw in baggy pants recently. Consciously or not, you probably had a minor internal dialogue trying to figure out if he was a criminal. And you shouldn’t feel entirely bad about this—it means that your brain is cognitively trying to size up a situation. These quick, unprocessed thoughts are often times the things that would keep our ancestors alive in highly dangerous scenarios. That being said, these thoughts have been honed by society to fabricate this idea that many of the black males you meet are criminals.
Now, aside from the argument that there are higher rates of black males committing crimes, which is certainly hard to quantify, the wealth inequality for many minority groups pushes them into a cycle of violence, often causing gang violence. This has occurred most often in history to African-Americans because of the vast amounts of wealth inequality and discrimination. That argument aside, judging a black male immediately as a criminal and then sticking to that opinion is where the danger lies. Because the reality is that most people are indeed good people. They want to have hobbies, they want to eat dinner, they want to have a happy family, and so on. Most people are not “evil.” So if you have unintentionally made one of these judgments, be active in confronting yourself. Whether it’s a woman dressed somewhat provocatively in your eyes, a Hispanic man taking a break from work, an African-American man taking a walk at night, or a white man in a nice suit. Any one of these people could be more dangerous than we would initially expect them to be. Think in a way that gives people a chance to prove themselves as worthwhile. I think you’ll find that the vast majority of us are.