Judging a Book by Its Cover: An Epidemic

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Unfortunately, the thoughts expressed by the image above are very common. You see someone walking down the street and they have a sleeveless shirt, the waist of their pants/shorts are practically down to their knees and their arms are covered in tattoos. You see someone similar at the beach, tanning themselves. What do you usually think to yourself? “They’re a no good delinquent. They won’t amount to anything. They’re probably a drug addict and in some deadly street gang.” Don’t be shy. I know that’s what you think.

Think of it another way. You see an Arab man walking toward you in the airport. What’s your first thought? “I really hope he doesn’t pick my flight to hijack. He has a gun in that bag, doesn’t he? Religious freak.”

Or, you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood, and you see an African-American man coming toward you and you are all alone. What do you think? “I’m going to get mugged. I really wish I had taken that self defense class. What can I use around here as a weapon just in case?”

All of these thoughts are common among anyone in this world, especially here in America, where racism and stereotyping is common. I’m sure it exists in other parts of the world, but I have never left this hemisphere, so I can’t vouch for it, but I do know that it is common. In fact, it’s too common.

The title says that judging a book by its cover is an epidemic, and it is. It is a very serious epidemic. Sometimes, you don’t even need to have had a negative experience with a certain people group. They just have to look and act different from you or had someone you know relate their experiences or see it on the news or in a book. It is such a shame how much of a sickness this is.

I want to leave you with one simple thought regarding judging others: don’t do it. Do everything you can to keep an open mind regarding people. Your mind is like a parachute: it only works when it is open. Take the time to get to know someone who looks different from you. For all you know, they could be a doctor, like the guy in the photo above. They could be a marine or someone in the military. They might be a cop or someone else in law enforcement. They could even be a preacher who has a very open church congregation. Get to know them. They just might surprise you.

Have a great day!

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