“I’m not prejudiced, but …”
How often have we heard someone begin with those words and finish with a derogatory generalization? Or, worse, when was the last time we led off with: “I’m not prejudiced, but…”
None of us wants to be prejudiced, because it says something bad about our integrity, that we could hold mean-spirited beliefs about whole groups of people. We don’t want to be prejudiced because history overflows with suffering caused by fears and misperceptions of others. But we’re all human, which puts us at risk of becoming developing prejudices without knowing this is occurring.
Opponents of Referendum 74 assure us, “You can oppose same-sex marriage and not be anti-gay.” Please take that message with a grain of salt. Realize that it was crafted by a skilled advertising agency to manipulate you and ease your conscience. Imagine if someone wrote, “You can oppose equal pay for equal work without being against women.” Would you believe they thought women were equal to men?
Talk to someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender about what same-sex marriage means to them. If you do that, you will have taken a step outside of generalizations and prejudice by talking to a real person. That’s healthy for us. Also, when we make decisions about others’ lives, aren’t we obligated to ask them how their lives will be affected?
How often have you heard someone say, “Yeah, I’ve got my prejudices – like everybody else – but I’m working on them…”