You know how it is, when you’re at work and things are boring, or you’re just thirsty, so everyone migrates to the office water cooler. Then you stand around like seagulls in a parking lot, gripping those plastic cups of water and shuffling from leg to leg. Then, inevitably someone breaks the silence with the dumbest topic but everyone latches on to it like it’s the lord’s own word. That’s the theme of this weekly blog entry.
So, today at the water cooler we got to talking about looks people give each other and the misinterpretations that accompany those looks. For example, you’re walking down the street and coming toward you from the other direction is a well-dressed large black man. What look do you give him? Do you pass him by without even giving it a second thought? You’re sitting in your car at a red light in a rather seedy neighborhood and realize your car doors are still unlocked. A homeless man standing on the curb is giving you a look. Do you click your doors locked and risk his misinterpretation or do you just wait for the light to turn green?
We really do spend our lives in an insular bubble, don’t we? And we learn from an early age to doubt the intentions of mysterious people our parents called STRANGERS. Yet, they also tell us about the inherent goodness in humankind. Well, we can’t have it both ways. We do what we’ve been trained to do when it comes to issues like the ones I outlined above. I know I’m not the only one who would lock my doors at that red light.
In the end we settled on the middle ground. But to do that, we need to be receptive and open to others who are not like us, something that is really hard for most people. When do we trust our instincts instead of continuing reliance on the stranger danger paradigm? Now, I’m not saying to trust everyone, but don’t judge when you don’t know. By the way, I was that well-dressed large black man walking toward you on the street. What did you do?