Alice’s Reflection 5 – Respect for persons – ESEM150

Do I examine myself for evidence of prejudice, and then work to overcome it?

Growing up, I used to always listen to what adults tell me, I used to let them decide for me what is right and what is wrong. I never questioned why they believed such things because a “good” girl always listens and never talks back. However, as I got access to the internet, I started questioning my belief, I started to wonder if what I had been told were right. Then, I began seeing prejudices in my community in forms ranging from small everyday activities to huge decisions in life. That is also when I started to examine myself for prejudice, bias opinion, and belief.

The first prejudice which I had overcome is the sexuality of man. When I was small, I never saw two men married or in love. Thus, when I first knew about men being in love, I felt uncomfortable with this idea. I thought that it is not natural for two men to be together. Then, I read a love story between two men without knowing at first that the two characters are both men. When I realized this, I was shocked because I ultimately found no difference in the love between a man and a woman and two men. I watched videos of people sharing what is like to be gay men in this world. Their words hit me hard as they told about how they are being rejected just because of who they are. I did not understand till then that I had been indirectly hurting other people basing on no rationale, no fact, no truth. I knew then that my past belief was wrong. However, my prejudice did not disappear. Deep inside, I still had a bias as I still saw differences between straight and gay men. Surprisingly, the thing that eliminated my prejudice was a Facebook post. One day, I came across a post with a photo of a college classroom. In this photo, the professor assigned a set of questions as homework for students. The question that broke my prejudice was: Why do you think that it is normal for you to like the opposite sex? After some thinking, it struck me that the “normal” standard that I had held onto was only based on what I saw in the majority. I was so fixated on being like everyone else, scared of the things I didn’t understand that I forgot to look at the true nature of this issue.

From these experiences, I keep on looking back to my belief and ask myself these questions: based on what rationale, do I believe this; what is normal and who set this standard; what do the other side think and why do they think so. This process combines with the power of information pushes me to eliminate other prejudices.

However, I believe that it is complicated to realize our prejudice as we always think that we are right and we tend to get defensive if our beliefs are challenged. Therefore, I need a subjective way to examine my prejudice. An incident has identified for me a way to test and overcome prejudice. Just before coming to the US, my grandmother told me to learn and explore the world, but she ended that conversation by telling me that ultimately, I should find a good man to marry because that is where my happiness will come from. Through this incident, I realize that respect and prejudice are relative and they are based on the wisdom, and experience each person has. Therefore, to be able to erase prejudice I must expand my knowledge and perspective. I need to actively learn more about things that I feel uncomfortable or disagree with to go to the core of the problems and test if it is a prejudice or not.

In conclusion, I see that it is my duty to keep on examine myself for prejudice, for bias and learn more about these subject to broaden my view and eliminate divisions. Furthermore, I also see that it is necessary for me to speak out about the prejudice that I understand and have overcome. As I see a part of what helps me remove my prejudice is little push from the world, so I want to do the same for other people.