Walking down the street, you encounter 3 young men waiting for the bus. They are dressed similarly – long NFL jerseys, pants half-way down their backsides, shorts so long they almost touch the ground, team logo hats, cocked off to the side… You get the picture. What are your thoughts?
Frequently, we will look at people with disgust, disdain, or some other negative judgement, when really it is just fear we are experiencing. It isn’t very ‘cool’ to think that you’re actually afraid of a couple of teeny-boppers, so instead, we cop a negative, angry, or beligerant attitude towards the youth. We do this because we’re afraid, not because the teens deserve it.
Truth be told, the teens are probably just as afraid of you as you are of them. They wear the clothes and sport the potentially offensive look to keep you away from them. That’s a version of fear as well.
The next time you find yourself judging someone negatively, please ask yourself if they really deserve that negative assessment, or if it’s just that you’re scared. If it’s just plain fear, it’s certainly okay to do reasonable things to make yourself feel safe, but don’t automatically assume that just because you are scared that you have any reason to be so.