When you look at someone, what is the first thing you see or look at? Is it their eyes, clothes, chest, shoes, hands, mouth or something else?
When meeting people, we tend to look at them as a physical object because our first opinion is based on what we see. I wish I could say that my first opinion is on personality, but rarely do we talk to people before physically meeting them face-to-face.
Now, in this first opinion are you complimenting that person or judging them? Humans are judgmental creatures that tend to tear someone down before getting to know them. This is especially the case in high school and college because people are worried about their reputation and who they are seen with.
This process, however, limits us in our education. I don’t mean school education but social education. From a young age we learn from our families that certain people are like this or like that, and these people are good or bad or crazy, so we tend to stay away from those people.
When you get older, you make your own decisions about these people and they may be the same or different as your family’s opinions, but sometimes people simply ignore social education and stick to what their families have taught them. This is why we still have discrimination because people who don’t like change refuse to see good in people who they were taught not to like.
Ignorance toward change and refusal of social education is making it harder to stop discrimination. So to relate this back to first impressions; when we first meet someone, instead of judging them or discriminating, get to know them.
With how the world is changing, it is important that we change with it instead of fighting it. People should be continually educating themselves on different people and cultures and yet we all like to think we are all there is.
I’m not saying to go get educated on foreign countries, although that is extremely important as well, but first look right here in the United States. Many different people live here and it is important to know the people you live with. We can’t ostracize certain people because they don’t fit our mental depiction of what America should look like because, in all honesty, how can someone decide who does fit? Everyone’s depictions would be different.
Without educating ourselves, we are encouraging discrimination because ignoring it is almost as bad as supporting it.