“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream that African Americans would be treated the same as Caucasian Americans. Thanks to the Civil Rights Movements, the law treats all person the same; however, we have a long way to go to make this occur on a societal level. Stereotypes vastly pervade our culture. When we see a person, we automatically make judgments about them based on their appearance, whether it’s based on their skin color, height, weight, gender, clothing, posture, or who they associate with.
When it comes to overcoming stereotypes, one thing that is hard to turn off is the automatic filter. This can be applied to a group of people or to a single person. These are the automatic thoughts that all overweight people are lazy or that all Asians are bad drivers. It takes an effort to see people for who they are, and not what they are. When I don’t like a person, it takes a conscious effort not to view everything that they do or say as wrong or bad. Also, when someone is being hyper-judgmental of me, I try to remember that their ability to be rational could be being blocked by their automatic filter.
When judgment is suspended long enough to see a person for who they are, their talents and personalities shine through. The person who appears dim-witted has a chance to show that he is brilliant. The large intimidating black man can be seen as a sensitive poet. The awkward-looking paralyzed man in the wheelchair can be seen as an exceptional physicist.
Like Martin Luther King, we all have dreams. It might be to have particular career, achieve certain athletic goals, or to raise a family. With few exceptions, who are any of us to tell someone that their dream is wrong or to criticize them for their aspirations? My dream is for the world to see that being different is not the same as being wrong. Just because you don’t share my views or my passions, it does not make either of us wrong.
We each bring something different to the table, and whenever possible our unique perspectives should be honored if not celebrated. We should all strive to see each other for who we are, and not who we assume each other to be.
Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Darvin and Jane DeShazer. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.