Open Hoondokhae Discussion: SAY Stop to Prejudice!
CARP Romania: We hold a Friday Open HoonDokHae event, on November 13, 2015, in the Peace Center in downtown Bucharest. Our topic of discussion referred to the problem of preconceptions and labels that are being used, that minimize people’s image of themselves creating borders and gaps.
It’s true that nobody can make someone inferior without their consent as we can accept or disregard other people’s opinion about ourselves but this implies having a strong self-image and confidence, which are many times lacking in young people.
But is categorizing and labeling something completely wrong? Is the word “etiquette” another term for discrimination? The young people that attended, high-school and university students alike, found the topic important and heavy, but necessary to be put under debate.
We were split in 5 teams and at the end of the discussion time we all shared our final conclusions.
The representative of the first team used a metaphor to explain the nature of preconceptions: it is like a fool, it knows nothing smarter than itself so it cannot see beyond its own borders.
Even if labeling helps us save energy and sometimes saves our lives when it comes to dangerous situations, it also many times limits us in how we perceive reality, because we cannot create some new image of what happens to us, as we powerfully rely on the old one. But why do preconceptions appear? Are we lazy to search for the truth? Sometimes yes! The advice that comes out of this is that we need to be careful with each word we utter and each thought we entertain, we need to take the time to reflect and analyze our own mentality and train it every day. In order to evolve we need to break out of our comfort zone.
The second team representative started with the conclusion: we shouldn’t have preconceptions, because we create them while in a state of ignorance.
When we put labels based on our own thinking we stop giving a chance to what is new and this kind of “habit” often backfires. We need to use our rational thinking and filter all our life experiences because exaggerated subjectivity is the one that creates a judgmental perspective on things.
There is no growth in judging the others. Our humanity blooms when we learn acceptance. The society is hurting our moral conscience. The team advice was: don’t put tags on people, but take the time to know them, prejudgment sickens the heart and then it becomes our reality.
The third speaker underlined more practical issues by mentioning the black and sad image that Romanians have in the world, situation that also marked him when he traveled in Germany. Through his experience with various types of people he could learn so much about the real nature of being different, but this meant removing his own labeling mental behavior. When you use your conscience and also are curious about people in any environment you can assimilate so much more. How to create a better image about Romania? Each of us must become the best representative for our country, the best ambassador for peace and understanding and a great example is given by the Romanian doctors working abroad. The team advice: get to know yourself sincerely and then you can remove any preconception and fear about the others.
The fourth team had a deeply heartistic member coming up to the front. He said that it’s hard to analyze and control our own thoughts and that this is a continuous and excruciating work. How can i talk about the others when i am unclear towards my own life? How can i judge somebody while i am ignorant about myself? When we look at the ones around us we actually see ourselves. The conclusion and advice coming from this team was to be empathetic as much as we can, even if it’s hard to see things from another perspective if you never felt it yourself.
The last team brought to our attention the role that mass-media plays in building images and opinions. Recently it has mainly uplifted many bad examples to the point of making them the rule and social expectation. A sensitive point that we need to be very careful about is labeling a whole group or community based on just a few examples and our personal experience only. So we have the moral responsibility to get informed better and keep our objectivity.
All the opinions were highly appreciated as we could feel they are coming from the people’s hearts out of their genuine desire to help society.
What should be our state as human beings? We need to be pure and curious like children and we must find the parental heart of forgiveness and the divine spirit to see only the best in the others. But for seeing beauty around we need to educate our heart and this is a great goal.
Our CARP team was very excited about this event and we can notice how the people that are frequently attending are growing, developing and coming closer to our family.
We hope to see everyone again soon!