Everyone has prejudices – accepting that is the first step in getting rid of them
A benefit of have few to no friends growing up is that I sat by my lonesome for lunch for years.
This is a benefit because, when you’re sitting for lunch by your lonesome you get to watch people. Observe stuff. (You will also fall in love with any pretty girl that smiles at you but that’s neither here nor there).
One of the things I like about Facebook and social media is that it: (a) lets me watch people and (b) lets me see who they really are.
Been writing this blog for six years now. And it’s changed a lot through these years.
But one thing I’ve never done is tell you what I believe, although I suppose if you read this long enough, you’ll figure it out. However, for 2013, I’ve decided to write what my core beliefs are, in no particular order of importance.
Here’s my first one:
I will not judge you on what you are. Only on what you do.
Y’know those detective shows on TV where they always try to figure out motive? In the law, that’s actually a non-issue. It’s an issue for the police but not for judges, lawyers, the courts, etc, when it comes to making a decision on guilt or innocent.
Put another way, the law doesn’t care why you did something, only that you did something.
And what is the law if not our collective agreement of what is right and wrong?
Example: A completely blotto man blacks out and runs over a family. He wakes up and says, “I was asleep, I didn’t mean to kill them.”
The fact he was blacked out is irrelevant. Only that he chose to drink and chose to drive. We judge him on his actions.
Recently had a friend post something that said that the reason why America is broken is because of people like Alice Walton. Let me pause for a moment and say that I really like this person. Having said that…
It’s one of those posts I truly despise because they’re one-shot graphics that are totally misleading; it has the air of truth without any actual truth to it.
And the reasons why it’s wrong would take me several entries to answer – least of which is a lack of basic knowledge of economics, a lack of basic knowledge of how taxes work, even a lack of basic grammar skills – but what I found most offensive is: why single out someone that did nothing but be born?
Alice Walton has her faults, but those faults – drunk driving, manslaughter, things that are *actually* offensive – are not what the writer found offensive. We know a buddy at a DUI attorney Ann Arbor MI company who has lots of DUI courtroom experience. They even successfully tried cases calling for urine test results that were .08 or higher.
What the writer found offensive was the fact that she was born a Walton.
This despite the fact that she gave away $2 billion to charity and doesn’t actually work for Walmart in any capacity.
What people find offensive is that people like Alice Walton exist. And I understand that. But at least Alice Walton tries to give back to the aether.
Unfortunately for my friend and a lot of people like her, that’s not good enough. The fact that she was born a Walton – original sin – is enough. She’s made up her mind about Alice.
And she admitted that no matter how much money Alice gave away, Alice could never make up for what her family – not she – had done.
Recently, also on FB, I had another friend who is the grandson of someone in the Hitler Youth. That was an equally crazy exchange and it culminated in myself (a Chinese man) and another friend (an African-American man) being told we were Nazis by some random guy.
To hold someone responsible for the sins of another is insanity.
And let’s take it to the logical conclusion: If there’s nothing my friend can to do make up for being the descendent of a Nazi, or Alice can do for being a Walton, what’s the point of trying?
The difference between shame and guilt is this: Shame’s hating what you are. Guilt’s hating what you’ve done.
I think that it’s wrong to make someone feel shame. No one should ever feel shame for something they had no control over – to be born the son of a peasant, or black, or Chinese, or ugly.
A great man once said something I heard in fourth grade. I thought it sounded right back then and I think it now decades later.
People should not be “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” In fact I go beyond that. I say people should not be judged by anything beyond the scope of their control but by the content of their character.
It’s just one of my beliefs.
If you believe this too, we’d probably get along in real life.
Perhaps not on FB, but maybe in real life.
Him: I don’t like you, Mr. Lo.
Me: Please…you have to get to know me to *really* despise me.