So, yesterday I wrote about Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling’s disgustingly racist comments and the NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s response (if you missed it, catch up here).
I embraced the view that the first step in combatting racism (or any type of prejudice, really) is to connect on a real level with somebody different than you, to really listen to their story. My theory is that if you understand them, you won’t judge them so harshly. You might–gasp!–develop empathy for their struggles and cheer on their victories. Crazy, right?
Ok, technically I still embrace that view. But as they say, “Charity begins at home…”
(Bear with me here… I’m gonna go off on a tangent and then bring it all home again.)
There are a lot of crazy drivers here in South Florida. It helps that Easter and Passover are over, so all the snowbirds have flocked back north to less sweaty climates. And shipped their cars back with them.
But there are still a lot of doofuses left who drive 10 mph under the speed limit in the left lane, or who signal .02 seconds before swerving in front of you and cutting you off (Harumph!). And then there are the nitwits who recklessly weave in and out of traffic going 20 mph over the speed limit.
I realized that whenever reckless nitwits race around me, I got a lot angrier at them if they were driving a fancy, expensive car, like a flashy $55,000 BMW. What a jerkface! I’d think really loudly in my head. He’s so pushy and rude and entitled and thinks that everyone around him should get out of his way! (Ok, I didn’t really think “jerkface.” The word in my head wasn’t a very nice one, though.)
But if the reckless nitwit was driving a battered early 90s sedan, I’d think something along the lines of, Ugh! how rude! Ok, maybe his wife’s about to give birth. Or maybe he just has to pee really, really bad or he’ll explode. Oh no, now I have to pee!
Why did I assume the expensive car guy was a jerk, but give the crappy car guy a break?
I think I have to reexamine some prejudiced beliefs a little closer to home…
Obviously, rich people aren’t necessarily jerks. Poor guys aren’t necessarily saints. But I think I should give everybody the benefit of the doubt instead of getting angry. (Maybe ALL their wives are giving birth? Maybe ALL their bladders are super full?) That way I’ll be unbiased. And at the very least, it’ll keep my blood pressure at a reasonable level.
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