Reflection on White Supremacy Teach-In Part 2
After attending the second part of the white supremacy teach-in at the Lake Norman Gathering, I was reminded of a post I wrote a few years ago. I decided to forward it to Jolena because I thought it might be another way to look at how we pre-judge others. When I originally wrote this post in 2003, I was 54 years old and thinking about how women seem to reach an age where we become basically invisible.
I wanted to examine how we develop ruts in our minds, well-worn roads and paths often traveled to our safe little mental compartments. That way when we meet someone new, we don’t have to give much effort into finding out more about them to determine if they are someone we would like to know better. We can instantly file them away in their compartment and save ourselves all that work. And enlightenment.
We are often lazy in exercising our minds and easily fall back on stereotypes that have grown comfortable – our prejudice against other races, other religions, or other forms of thinking or dress. Without the burden of thought, we can automatically take the smoothest path to an easy conclusion. We aren’t forced to bump along unknown mental pathways – we can feel comfortable in the ruts and grooves of our thinking, just like sitting at home in our favorite living room chair.
We don’t care or may even be afraid to make an effort to know someone, to learn about them, to make up our minds about them based on what we actually know. We want to immediately channel them into a preconceived segment within our minds. We meet someone and instantly begin to move them through our mental maze of various secure rooms. One room might simply have space for jerks. Another we reserve for black male teenagers. And yet another room for our category of invisible, boring wasp women in their fifties. So much less trouble, to save ourselves the exertion of listening and evaluating a human being based on facts and time.
We shortchange ourselves by allowing laziness to prevent us from finding out more about the people we meet in our everyday lives. What interesting lives or unique thoughts others might have to share with us, if only we allow ourselves the chance to be open.
Regina Calton Burchett
April 21, 2003