Am I Just Totally Prejudiced?
While flipping around on talk radio today, I came across an interview with a woman. Before I really heard anything about the content, I heard her accent; one so thick it’d make my mid-Missouri twang sound like high society. I immediately went to “redneck” or “hillbilly” or some such term I’ve probably once called myself! I mean, c’mon! Who can sound like that and still have something worthy to be heard on NPR?
Well, as she continued on, my pre-conceived notions started to slip away. When she started talking about the human genome project and genetic mapping of human conditions as theyy relate to federal funding, I realized this conversation was far, FAR above my head.
Turns out, this woman is a geneticist and holds a master’s of public health from Harvard University. Everything else I heard was interesting, but 75% of it was lost on me due to the highly scientific content. And yet? This woman, not five minutes before, had been pre-judged as a total cracker. So, faithful reader, I ask you…who’s the real idiot here?
I don’t typically think of myself as a prejudiced person. True, we all have prejudices to some extent, but rarely do I immediately make a judgement on someone as fast as I did today. Why?
I think this accent reminded me of the wife of a friend. This wife is one of the most crass, foul-mouthed, inconsiderate people I’ve ever met. She is simply not likeable.
And the accents matched, the patterns of speech matched and, yes, even the voices sorta matched. I’ll bet both the interviewee and my friend’s wife are within 10 years of one another AND I bet they are from within a two hour drive of each other, birthplace wise.
So, was it the accent? Am I really that prejudice? Or was it just relating the radio gal with the unlikeable woman? Frankly, I’m not sure.
I do know, however, that I need to make a greater effort to withhold judgement before assigning a label to anyone. Ever done something like this? Please tell me YES so I don’t feel like such a schmuck!