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Lessons Learned Thank You Congressman John Lewis

Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us. Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed. Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends. Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others. I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. Racist thought and action says far more about the person they come from than the person they are directed at.

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders. When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity. Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life. I know why most would despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me. People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive. That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it. I would rather be a man of paradoxes than a man of prejudices. I’m interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice. Prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support. A comment that starts with the words “I think” usually means the opposite.

The way that other people judge me is none of my business. Prejudice is a product of ignorance that hides behind barriers of tradition. Calling it lunacy makes it easier to explain away the things we don’t understand. My dad always said, some people will treat you badly and you can’t help that. But how you handle it and how it makes you feel, that’s up to you. People who insist on dividing the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ never contemplate that they may be someone else’s ‘Them’. Choose your friends and mates, not by the money in their bank account, creed, ethnicity, or color; instead, choose character, actions, heart, and soul. When we bleed, we bleed the same color. In these days when hyenas of hate suckle the babes of men, and jackals of hypocrisy pimp their mothers’ broken hearts, may children not look to demons of ignorance for hope. The man or the woman in whom resides greater virtue is the higher; neither the loftiness nor the lowliness of a person lies in the body according to the sex, but in the perfection of conduct and virtues. Inexperience can be overcome, ignorance can be enlightened, but prejudice will destroy you. There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

There are abusive individuals whose worst little demons are greed, sloth,envy, gluttony, pride and wrath enslaved by their god which is money. They usually set their false assumptions, wrong judgments, gossips and lies forceful than the ones who hold the truth but what they missed out is that the victims of their aggressions, the targets of their wrong accusations and the recipients of their repetitive harassments carry what is truly essential and what lives longer, that is: truth and goodness, both of which shall always prevail against their vicious, evil manners. They call good evil and evil good. There are those who are so easily offended that they lose their ability to ever discern any truth, and this is often derived from a sort of frenzy by way of their own masked prejudice. Let a prejudice be bequeathed, carried in the air, adopted by hearsay, caught in through the eye,–however it may come, these minds will give it a habitation; it is something to assert strongly and bravely, something to fill up the void of spontaneous ideas, something to impose on others with the authority of conscious right; it is at once a staff and a baton. Reason is the hero who breaks the chains of our prejudice, saving us from the prison of our comfortable acquiescence in the way of the world

Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence. Those guilty of prejudice can justify practically any atrocity to themselves. The more untenable their position becomes, the harder they hold to it, and the worse the things they are willing to do to support it. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the slightest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. I won’t be a slave to the past. I’ll love where I choose. Very few outside of a baby carriage or a judge’s chamber believes in an unprejudiced point of view. We refuse to let our knowledge, however limited, be informed by your ignorance, however vast. Prejudice wears a variety of hats, none of them becoming. Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices just recognize them.

I looked into the eyes of racism, all I found was insecurity.


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