Spiritual Challenge

An Examination of Conscience for Lingering Prejudices

This month’s theme is liberating love and my challenge to you is examine your conscience for lingering prejudices.  Most good-hearted people are aware of prejudice and understand that even the best of us have certain biases and prejudices, sometimes unconscious, that inform our attitudes and behavior.  If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done some work on unlearning white supremacy culture, engaging, and combatting racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other glaring prejudices.  My challenge to you this month is look underneath those prejudices that loom large at the front of consciousness and peek under the psychic bed, under the emotional bed, and into the mental closet for some persistent prejudices and biases that tend to get overlooked, especially by liberals and others with a more open-minded world view. I offer three for your initial consideration, but you may think of others. 

Begin with fat acceptance and body image, poverty, and educationism. 

  • Do you harbor any bias toward fat people?
  • Do you misunderstand what causes obesity?
  • Do you sometimes see a fat person and think they’d be good looking if they lost some weight?
  • Do you think weight loss is a matter of diet and willpower? 
  • Did you know BMI is not a good measuring scale for health and wellness?

If any of these rings a bell, you may be harboring more body shaming ideas than you would have thought. Here’s a great little questionnaire to get you thinking about your own ideas about weight, fat, body image and acceptance: https://www.idrlabs.com/fat-shaming/test.php

What about poverty?  

  • Do you think poor people are lazy?
  • Do you believe financial stability and financial health are a matter of industriousness, hard work, persistence, and effort?
  • Do you tend to think less of people you know are poor?
  • What about young adults who live with their parents?
  • How deeply invested are you in a social safety net?
  • Do you support a universal basic income and single-payer national health care?
  • Do you understand how hard poor people work to survive?

This quick quiz on the realities of poverty in America might help you reflect on your own attitudes: https://www.povertyusa.org/poverty-quiz/ .  

Most Unitarian Universalists place an incredibly high value on education.

  • But do you think less of people who are uneducated?
  • Do you think Appalachian or Southern accents sound unintelligent?
  • Do you frequently categorize religious fundamentalists or political conservatives as ignorant?
  • Do think less of someone once you learn they don’t have a college education?
  • Or a high school diploma?

This BBC article on Educationism might be useful as you ponder your own assumptions and behaviors: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20171219-the-hidden-judgements-holding-people-back.

Spend some time this month with these questions, these quizzes, and thinking honestly about your attitudes toward fat people, poor people, and less educated people. Perhaps do some journaling or make some art, or talk with friend – or ME – about what this challenge go you thinking about. As always, I’d love to know how you did with this challenge.  Text me or call me at 508-344-3668 or email me at revtony@pm.me.