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Shades of listening

Even though the outside of each egg is different, you can see by the picture the insides are all the same. This is an example people will use to show that human beings, though we may be a variety of colors on the outside, inside, we are all the same. Yes, physically, we are all made of bones, blood, organs, etcetera. Conversely, what makes us individuals is how we act and react. It is clear what the point of the picture is; we are all human beings; thus, we should be treated equally. This is meant to make those who discriminate based on color think twice about their feelings towards any particular race. Sadly, I do not believe it gets the point across enough to make a difference.

The analogy may help to change the mind of some, very few, I believe. That said, if even one person stops discriminating, that is a step in the right direction. We all have conclusions we jump to based on our own experiences. It is the person who forms opinions without just cause and refuses to listen to reason, which causes the hurt that is prejudice in this world. When we cannot see another person's perspective or, at the very least, give time to consider that our thoughts may be skewed due to our upbringing, wrong information, or merely being uninformed, that is the complete package of prejudice and ignorance.

So how do we change the minds of those who cannot see past the color of skin? Unfortunately, there isn't a straight and simple answer. It will be difficult but listening to them is probably a good start. Staying calm, taking a breath, and giving a person a chance to speak while you actively listen will never be wrong. There are shades of listening. When you are not engaging in active listening, you are being disrespectful and doing a disservice to yourself as well as to your hope at fixing prejudices. Do not interrupt and truly listen to where their feelings come from and what they have to say. Refrain from forming an opinion before you have heard them out. Above all, do not spend the time while listening to think of all the things you are going to say as soon as they are done. After you have been respectful listening to their perspective, they are far more likely to do the same and listen to yours. Remember, when you respond, screaming your viewpoint, or beating someone over the head with, "You're wrong. You're bad." certainly is not going to make someone want to hear your side. Speak to them kindly and respectfully.

Building a relationship is the key to creating change. It will not happen overnight. Change takes time, patience, and we will often hear things that we may disagree with. Keep a level head, try to listen to the other's perspective without prejudging. It is far past time for us to take a deep breath and allow ourselves the chance to learn. There is so much we were not taught in school. There are so many viewpoints we have never heard. Try to keep an open mind and truly listen. We may find we all are scared or angry about the same things. Now is the time to come together and be there for each other to make the whole world a happier, healthier, and peaceful place.

Love Lots; Smile Often


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