There are many individuals of influence walking the streets, sitting in boardrooms, enacting legislation, teaching our children or interacting within culture in a multitude of ways. Many of these leaders are wearing masks hiding various types of prejudice. Prejudice is simply pre-judgment as assumptions are made without accurate information; opinions are formed without facts and beliefs are established without truth. All prejudice is destructive fear-based attitude that affects relationships, partnerships and sabotages the ability to lead with justice, honor, and validation.
There is great power and responsibility associated with any form of leadership influence. Whether you are a school student influencing your peers, a friend, spouse, parent, teacher, actor, sports figure, business person, or political leader, there is a vital mandate to lead impartially. Anywhere there is a platform of influence there is ability to persuade for good or harm.
We all have had negative experiences that want to shape our belief about different groups of people whether it is age, race, gender, socio-economic status, or position in society. Our tendency is to group people together and pre-judge everyone based upon the external, the judgments of others or our personal history. Many years ago I was an indignantly passionate man-hater supporting the woman’s liberation movement. To me it was not about equal rights for women—that was my mask—but rather to emerge greater than all men. This was prejudice that was seeded into the soil of a little girl’s soul through sexual molestation. In my heart I was not fighting for the noble cause of equality for woman, I was thirsty for the injury of all men believing they were all perpetrators.
“Each person is an individual—it is unfair to judge someone through your past experiences with others.”
Every type of prejudice, bias or racism is self-sabotage! I was horribly deceived by the pain of my past which sabotaged my emotional health and my ability to find internal peace. Thank God those days are over!!!!!
Scientifically speaking, every thought we accept grows memory within the neuro-networking of our brain. It is impossible to devalue, hate, disrespect, degrade, or demonstrate prejudice towards another without its feedback into our own memory. Whether our prejudicial actions are obvious, subtle, or just a part of our thought processes it is ultimately self-destructive. It is time to remove the mask of outward pretense and arise with genuine validation for one another! It is impossible to be critical, judgmental, unforgiving, or gossip when we walk in validation and honor of others.
“The validation of the human soul cannot co-exist with prejudice, injustice or discrimination of any kind.”
Thomas Jefferson said, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only objective of good government.” Truly, this should be the objective of every good person and especially everyone who aspires to lead well. Let us challenge ourselves to take into account the thoughts we allow to occupy our minds and boldly choose validation, honor, respect, hope, and peace. This decision will not only impact our own emotional health, but allow a healthy perspective in every decision we make.
It’s time to take off all masks of pretense and instead genuinely value all humanity. Let us utilize our emotional energies to influence generations to live well, love much, and believe for the best. Let our revolutionary voices of validation be heard—that’s a cause worth living for!
Dr. Melodye Hilton