I know you, you know me?

Today I wanted to talk about a very thought-provoking and important issue. A friend of mine narrated an incident to me about her dining experience at a restaurant. When the waitress came to take the order she did not look at my friend and started speaking to my friend’s husband sitting at the other end of the table. For a moment my friend thought that the waitress would eventually look at her and ask her what she wanted from the menu. She realized that instead of asking her, the waitress was asking her husband. So she spoke up and said, “excuse me, what about my order?” To her surprise, the waitress replied in an excited tone, “O…So you can speak English….?” Hearing this, my friend’s husband smiled and said that not only does she speak English but she is also a medical doctor. The waitress’s somewhat cold attitude changed all of a sudden.

The reason for narrating this incident was to bring attention to what we may all sometimes do as human beings – stereotype. In this regard one of the most common observations is that people tend to judge others by their appearance. So if a woman is observing what she believes in, wearing an Islamic headscarf out of her own free will, she does not automatically become any less intelligent. Also knowing English is not a qualification. In fact it is a language that we use to communicate.

One way of getting rid of steoreotypes is by having more interactions with people whom we think as “different”. When we tend to assume things about other people, we actually close a door of communication and lose a wonderful opportunity of knowing somebody who belongs to a different cultural background. This could happen from any side. If we really think that we are all that different, then think again! We may be brought up in different set of circumstances, yet we all have same human emotions and same thought processes. Maybe everybody has a role to play in ensuring more harmony and understanding in the world. By letting go of our prejudices, we will be surprised how similar we are!

Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying in this article. It is true how anyone can have stereotypes and prejudices, but as you said this only closes the door to communication. I wear the hijab but that doesn’t limit me from knowing all sorts of people, and still some do judge me on first impression and as it happened with your friend, I am sometimes asked “Do you speak English?”

  2. It’s laborious to find educated individuals on this subject, however you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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