Ever since I knew the definition of the word, I have been aware of certain stereotypes. Labeling a person or a thing because of looks, past actions, or current situations. Sometimes it’s not even based off of their own doing but someone else’s. Really, it’s unfair and somewhat sad.
In the past couple of years, I have learned that, to me, first impressions don’t really mean anything. The saying “first impressions are everything” is quite the opposite, I think. There have been many times where what I initially felt turned out to be different in a short amount of time, both negatively and positively. I dislike stereotypes even more than first impressions.
This is on my mind right now because, working in a church, you see a lot of different people. Thankfully, for the most part, this is a place where those who feel the most labeled should feel heard and loved. I just read a story out of Oakland, CA, about a homeless couple moving into the home of a successful stranger. This man lives in a predominately white, rich neighborhood. He recognized these people from seeing them on the streets. He felt compelled and moved to offer them a roof over their heads. Very soon, he saw just how important that was. Not long after they moved in, police were getting calls about a suspicious couple in the neighborhood. The couple said no one greeted them or extended a neighborly notion. They felt like they didn’t belong and said they would probably end up going back to what they’ve known for so long- homelessness.
Take a second to think about that. Not one, but two people living on a street, in the elements with no protection from weather or crime, accepted that they felt more at peace in this situation than the other. All because of a stereotype. Because they didn’t look as clean and polished as other people around them and maybe because their skin color wasn’t the same. This just scratches the surface on the intensity of a major problem in our country. Look at this quote for an article posted in 2018 in this very same month “Earlier this year, researchers questioned 6,251 Americans and found “that many urban and rural residents feel misunderstood and looked down on by Americans living in other types of communities.” It also said “Two-thirds of urban and rural residents agreed that “most people who live in different types of communities don’t understand the problems they face.” I think this is because people, I am no exception, can seclude themselves and become naive to their surroundings. But I also think it all goes back to stereotypes and what people assume about one another.
I know this isn’t a very uplifting post. But it's real. And, there is a good message I am trying to get at. Everyone should feel like they have a voice and they matter. Regardless of what they look like. I really hope that people feel like that is the case inside the walls of Trinity. Let’s all work together at this. I know people need to feel safe and there should be procedures, but if someone at our community dinner feels like they aren’t welcomed, what are we even doing? How to we face this? I’d love to learn your thoughts.
Welcome to my blog. I am so happy I get to do this. Please know that I will be open, honest, and personal. I never wish to offend you or your opinions but rather use this forum as a way of expression. Blogs give people that freedom and I hope with each post, even when we disagree, we have mutual respect for each other as well as appreciation and gratefulness for this type of medium.