One of the lines from Vivian Apple at the End of the World is still sticking with me.
“We are all people before we are groups.”
I had been thinking about that before I even picked up the book, and it’s something that I constantly forget. Those people are everywhere. They go to work with you, you see them in the supermarket, and you read their posts on the Internet and shake your head in disgust. For whatever reason, those people disagree with you. They don’t eat what you eat. They don’t believe what you believe. They don’t stand for the things you stand for. Their concept of morality is different from yours. You don’t like to be around them because their opinions grate your nerves.
You generalize them until perhaps you find out that someone close to you becomes one of those people. You’ve known this person since you were fairly young, and you thought you had a lot in common with this person. Then you realize that he or she has fallen in with those people. But you can’t discriminate against or even dislike this person anymore because you know this person. He or she is familiar, and you might even be able to understand how he or she might have become one of those people. Then you think about how every one of those people might be just like this person you know. If you got to know them as individuals, you might just love them. You might just feel affection for them instead of automatic prejudice just because they happen to believe a certain thing (or not believe a certain thing).
This is the thought process I am having every time I think about those people and how prejudiced and intolerant I can be.