Unless you are spiritually enlightened or I’m just really primitive, usually the people we meet colour our perception of that given person’s nationality and/or religion.
For example, if we had a pleasant interaction with a person of religion X or nationality Y, we are more likely to perceive religion X or nationality Y favourably. Conversely, if the interaction with the person was unpleasant, we are more likely to impute that into our perception of religion X or nationality Y. I have been both victim and perpetrator of this phenomenon.
On one occasion someone said to me that I was the first nice Russian person they had met, and that prior to meeting me, they thought that ALL Russians were bitter. There’s about 150 million people in Russia. Lets presume that the person I spoke to met 19 Russians in their life prior to meeting me. Having met those 19 bitter Russians allowed that person to render the remaining 149,999,981 Russian people as bitter. Then I came along and changed that, so now that person only considers 19/20 Russian people to be bitter, with 1/20 Russians being nice. While it’s an interesting statistic, I highly doubt that it actually reflects the bitterness and kindness of Russian people. The example does, however highlight that the interactions we have with people will make us either biased against or in favour of that person’s nationality or religion.
In a similar fashion, I denied my Jewish identity (or rather failed to acknowledge the 50% of my identity that happens to be Jewish) until I was about 16, simply because I didn’t like the attitudes of my Dad’s side of the family and didn’t want to be associated with them. My dad’s side of the family had unfavourably coloured my perception of Judaism. That changed with time, partially because I had met a lot of really nice Jewish people and partially because I grew up and realised that my Dad’s relatives don’t represent the attitudes of the entire world Jewish population.
In ANY religion, nationality, tribe, group etc. you can find good and bad. There is no need to paint everyone with the same brush. The choices that we each individually make along with the attitudes we exhibit represent only ourselves, and not the religions, nationalities and organisations that we form part of.
Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.