I keep thinking about polls (natch) and how the system puts us in a box. You know the stereotypes:
- I'm from Highland Park, so I'm snobby.
- I'm 55 years old, so I have dry skin.
- I'm from Texas, so I love country music.
Actually none of the above are true for me. Of course, stereotypes typically have a kernel of truth -- otherwise they wouldn't make sense. We do tend to put people in boxes because it's an easy way to get out of having to get to know them -- really know them.
It's so much easier to just assume that because someone doesn't dress that well or doesn't live in my neighborhood that they just don't deserve my attention.
Earlier this week I went over to a volunteer's home to pick up something that I had purchased at a charity auction. Not only did the volunteer not introduce herself to me, she made me feel like I wasn't welcome in her home. I think she thought I was old -- and I did nothing to dispell that thought because I was unable to quickly find the ticket number she required on my cell phone. I don't know why she was unfriendly -- maybe she had a bad morning -- but I can tell you that her treatment has only made me check myself.
Am I who I look like? Who I think like? Seth Godin often talks about the "people like us do things like this" mantra when we make decisions -- such as "people like us" buy i-phones, eat at Mi Cocina, go to college.
But are we really that easy to label?
I heard a speaker from the New York Flower School who did a demonstration for my garden club last week (and yes, I realize that being in a garden club sticks me smack dab into that flower box for you). She said that 90% of her brides who are blonde choose pastel flowers for their bouquets and 90% of her brunette clients choose darker tones.
Maybe others can make assumptions about me. I do fit a lot of the typical stereotypes, but I'm going to quit judging and try to get to know people. Why don't you join me?
I worry most about the kids we are serving at Community Partners of Dallas. Will Jason always be the boy who was sexually abused? Will Heavenly always be the girl who came to school dirty and withdrawn?
Will you give them a chance and get to know them for who they really are?
As a reminder -- I'm no beauty. Here I am in all my glory -- wet hair and all -- but I am worth knowing. You are too.