Monday, October 21, 2013

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning. I'm back on Wednesday as they have had a late pull-out.
Don't judge by appearances. I remember being taught that at an early age. Yet we do. All the time.
Walking alone down a quiet street I am more likely to be made nervous by some people walking towards me than others. It's a defence mechanism. It may not be 100% accurate but to reach for another old teaching, 'Better safe than sorry'.
I have friends in retail. They have learned things about the appearance and movement patterns of those who should be watched. Shop-lifters can be spotted. Judged by appearance.
Last Friday's morning shows included discussion about gender - is it sexist for a man to offer to give up his seat to a heavily pregnant woman?
There was also the story in London about rented housing agencies deliberately stating a preference for a white tenant over black. Shocking, in this day and age.
At its heart discrimination is about choice. Who we make friends with. Who we work with. It only becomes bad if we deny opportunity to others on the basis of something random and of no consequence - such as age, gender, skin colour or nationality.
St Paul spoke of the equality of opportunity for people to hear the Christian message. He said, 'In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for we are all one in Christ Jesus.'
I should put my hand on my heart and say yes, I do sometimes catch myself being accidentally sexist, ageist, racist. That I am aware of it in a way my parents' generation were not says a lot for the progress we have made. But clearly there is still work to be done.

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