Saturday, March 19, 2016
I like to think of myself as egalitarian, as a person who sees things as they are. Out at the front desk of my library I endeavor to take all comers without presupposition. And because I'm not racist or sexist or ageist or homophobic I have long been content with my open minded attitude as each patron approaches me out on that main desk of the library.
So it was a rude wake up call today to realize that that was all a sham. It suddenly, horribly occurred to me: I am prejudiced!
I am not prejudiced in regards to color or as regards to any of those illusions of race. I will not mistreat you if you are Korean nor will I do so should you have some disability. I have nothing against small children or old men or devout Muslims. And yet, here I am, prejudiced nonetheless! For today it dawned on me that when most people approach me at the front desk this is the thought goes through my mind:
"Oh no. They look crazy. This is going to be challenging!"
Though some of my co-workers would beg to disagree with me, I am wrong about this nearly all the time. In fact almost all of those people whose craziness I quail before turn out to be perfectly nice people who I enjoy talking to and helping. You'd think all these vast corrections, all this disabusing me of my notions, this twenty years of being wrong dozens of times a day, would make some inroads.
But no, there it still is, despite everything:
"Oh no. This person is surely mad. This could be a tough one."
On the other hand, maybe I'm right, and I just happen to like crazy people.