I am waiting for the C-train to arrive when a woman and a young child walk past me. She is pulling on the child’s arm, trying to hurry him up. He is running/hopping to keep up while also looking up at a bird sitting on the lamppost above. “Why didn’t he fly south, mommy?” I hear him ask.
I smile and watch them walking and my mind leaps into judgement without a second thought. “How nice to see an aboriginal mother and her child looking so normal,” I catch myself thinking prejudicially.
It is there, just beneath my skin, those thoughts that keep me mired in us and them thinking. That separate me from you because the colour of your skin, your heritage, your belief, is different than mine, or what I have been conditioned to think of as ‘the norm’.
I feel it when a woman in a burka floats down the street. I admire the grace of her garb but thoughtlessly judge the choices she makes to cover herself up in public.
I catch it when I see a police officer trying to pull an obviously inebriated and homeless man into a sitting position from where he lies on the sidewalk. Can he not be more gentle? More compassionate?
It is there as I judge passers-by for giving the man on the ground scathing looks of disgust.
It is present as I ride the C-train and another passenger is talking loudly on their cellphone. Where are their manners?
It is everywhere.
Judgement. Discrimination. Prejudice. Fear.
You are different than me. You behave other than how I do. You worship at a different pew. You talk in another tongue. You were born in a foreign -to me- land. You see the world through different eyes.
Why can’t you be more like me?
The better question is, Why am I always judging? Because it’s always there, my judging. Measuring. Gauging. Your words and looks and actions against mine.
Is it that I fear you will take from me what I hold dear? My position of self-righteousness? My place of privilege for having been here first? My belief that you would rather be like me than you?
Is it that I do not want to let go of what I have for fear you will have more than me? That you will be better than me?
Is it a habit?
Why don’t I just stop judging so you can be you and I can be me?
In that place of neither of us judging one another, we can meet somewhere in the middle, on the common ground of our shared humanity knowing, it is our judgements that are keeping us apart, not our differences.
I caught myself in judgement.
To create the world I want to live in, I must stop my judgements from creating a world of us and them to see the light in each of us shining as brightly as it can, where ever we are at. And in our lights shining, we connect on the common ground of our humanity knowing, we are one human race, one planet, one world.
What about you?