How do you perceive others? Are first impressions colored by unconscious stereotypes, or tempered by experience?

I’m unfortunately familiar with the experience of seeing a group of individuals and realizing that my perception was radically different from those of the people I was with.

I’d see a group of teenagers who looked a lot like my students, while others would see a potentially dangerous and frightening gang.

I would see a group of people with long experience, while others saw only a bunch of boring old people.

I would see interesting people from other cultures with fascinating new ideas, while others saw only the strange, the exotic, or the bizarre.

“They’re not like us,” is too often a call to fear, not to embrace and explore and share. I’m just saying . . . Be careful who you stereotype. Instead, listen. Learn. Grow.

IMAGE: Many thanks to the “Social Justice” Pinterest Board.