Midweek Musings-23

Mid Week Musings

WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES…

Nathan Rutstein (1930-2006) a journalist who spent much of his life reporting on and writing about the deep, endemic problem of racism in North America and elsewhere, possibly gave the most succinct definition of prejudice, ever, when he said:

’Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance.’

Implicit in that pithy statement are two profound truths:

1. Prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience, is an essentially irrational phenomenon. It has its origins in ignorance, not knowledge or facts.

2. Because prejudice grows out of ignorance (and an emotional commitment to it), one of the best ways to overcome it is by trying to get to know and genuinely understand those we tend to be prejudiced against. Once we start to see others as fellow human beings instead of simply as members of ‘their side’, we start to realize that we have much more in common than we thought we did. Our shared humanity unites us much more than the biases that divide us.

The most powerful antidote to prejudice is empathy, the ability to feel what others are feeling and to see things from their point of view. The Sioux Indians in North America, in fact, have a saying, ‘Let me never judge another till I have walked a mile in his moccasins.’ (leather shoes)

Midweek Musings September 2021

Inspired by the Sioux saying, Mike Fogarty, a little known folk singer travelling through the Amercian midwest in the early 70s, wrote a song about it.  

(Click here to enjoy an old analog recording.)

‘Sometimes good, sometimes bad,
Sometimes happy, sometimes sad,
Everybody sometimes falls
And needs a friend.
Sometimes weak, sometimes strong,
Sometimes right, sometimes wrong,
Everybody sometimes falls and needs a friend.

Walk a mile, walk a mile in his shoes.
Don’t put down, criticize or accuse.
Take the time to feel the things he’s going through.
See just how it feels to walk a mile in his shoes.

Words can bless, words can curse,
Make things better, make things worse.
Every time you throw some dirt
You lose some ground.
Words can damn, words can save,
Take a weak one, make him brave.
Every time you help someone you gain some ground.

Walk a mile, walk a mile in his shoes.
Don’t put down, criticize or accuse.
Take the time to feel the things he’s going through.
See just how it feels to walk a mile in his shoes.’

Let’s take the time to put the wisdom of these words into practice, and learn to see through kinder eyes. 

Have a great week!

Team Anahat