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Friday, September 27, 2019

It's Okay to Be Prejudiced with Mark Galli

It's Okay to Be Prejudiced

By “okay” I mean, it’s normal for humans—so normal that it is nearly impossible to stamp out. We Christians acknowledge and confess our prejudices to a merciful God, and then seek his help in overcoming them. But like greed, lust, and a host of other sinful inclinations, prejudice will find a place in our hearts time and again. We shouldn’t be shocked.
But shock is exactly how many react to this reality. In one podcast a couple of years ago, I admitted that I have a positive prejudice about Asians: I tend to see them as more competent and trustworthy, especially in the scientific professions. I was raised in California and all through my school years enjoyed friendships with many Asian students who excelled pretty much in everything they studied, but especially the sciences. Is this true of all Asians in all societies? Of course not, but given my upbringing, I have a positive bias about Asians. Our guest on the podcast was startled when I said this and acted like I had just admitted to wanting to murder my mother.
I also have negative prejudices when I see people who dress or talk or comport themselves in ways that prompts me to be suspicious or to look down on them. Not proud of that, but there you have it. But whether my prejudices are positive or negative, I try to be aware of them, and try my best to allow my behavior to transcend my feelings. That’s what’s being a civil human (and loving the neighbor) is about, after all, and it’s something I imagine most readers of the Galli Report try to do as well.
But we live in a time when we’re not allowed to be honest about that reality, and if we generalize about the behavior of some people or group (even if it’s positive!), we are instantly labeled a “racist.” Yes, there are some broad stereotypes that are not only wrong but harmful to the common good and we should eschew them. But there are some generalizations that, even if too sweeping, have their basis in fact, and rather than ignore them, we might try to learn from them. This article about Andrew Yang and Asian stereotypes tries to encourage just that.
The Unnatural Mom
Speaking of honesty, I loved this piece (“I Was Dilapidated”) by a mother who, upon having her first child, discovered that a mother’s love for her infant is not necessarily “natural”:
I didn’t get depressed because I couldn’t cope, as the books said I might: unless things are really bad you can always grit your teeth and make yourself cope. I got depressed because instead of maternal goodness welling up inside me, the situation seemed to open up new areas of badness in my character.
And she concludes, “… the least ‘natural’ thing in the world is suddenly to change your character.”
‘Flipping the Script’
Speaking of children, World Vision is embarking on a new way to connect overseas children with their sponsors. This is no little thing, since child sponsorship has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to change the world.
Clothes Make the Character
Call me design impaired, but I’ve never thought much about costume design in the movies. From now on, I doubt if I’ll not be able to think about it. For the preachers out there, there is certainly a sermon illustration in this video pertaining to all those Pauline verses about “putting on Christ.”
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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