Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Stereotypes and Prejudices

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jan 12, 2013 2:40 PM

I know a perfectly reasonable man who says he's logical but won't go to a movie if he knows the star goes on a soapbox to profess politics with which he doesn't agree. Lots of stylish, pretty women don't befriend obese woman readily. Business leaders don't think they'll learn much from their janitors. Some professors believe they're part of an international community of scientists, artists or literary experts and don't associate with "regular" folks in town.

What if we only watched sports which included cleancut athletes who never got in trouble in their relationships or with the law, who never drank too much or did drugs, ever? What if we only patronized artists who were mentally sound, never hurt anyone, and served as great role models with regard to substance abuse? We would lose access to a heck of a lot of great talent!! Think jazz, rock, abstract painting, dance, film.

How much of a role does prejudicial judgment play in our choices? Watch out. We learn a lot from anyone if we listen with respect, whether we agree or not. We can enjoy their talent in one arena, even if we don't want to pay attention to their other offerings. Give them a chance. A beautiful model learned a lot about life from her heavyset sister, who was wiser. A CEO learned a lot about the relativity of stress from the janitor as he left the building one evening and heard the guy's complaint about his hard day. Some professors finally met some townies and expanded their lives for the better.

There are exceptions to people who are worthy of our attention. I don't care how well Charles Manson or Kim Jung Il can sing, and I don't want to see Hitler's paintings. But, mostly let's just be open to the variety of personalities and problems which occur in life and accept the multidimensional nature of humanity.

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