Written by: Suzi Freeman, Diversity Equity And Inclusion Panel
Everyone is potentially born with a natural inclination to be prejudiced, but it's not their fault. Did you know that science has stated that past generational trauma, identity issues, and beliefs can be passed down through our DNA? Meaning that if you have very prejudiced family members in past generations, you could have that deep-seated in you.
Not you? Are you sure? Here is an example of what I mean. So you may say you are not racially prejudiced, but if your daughter wants to marry someone of a different race, is that ok with you? How about your son wants to marry someone of the same gender?
You say you don't mind people loving who they want to love, but does it apply to your house?
Prejudice is learned through family, friends, and the media.
Yet, another driving factor is how some of society creates and drives people to be and stay prejudiced.
They say you are who you surround yourself with, so with that, I say, who are you surrounded by? Do they believe similar to you?
Remember, you get to choose who you surround yourself with, what you watch on TV, and how you communicate with your friends and family. So know that it is ok to pick and choose who you want to learn from. If this means removing yourself from a specific friend or family circle, you should consider it.
There are many different types of prejudice.
We are not only talking color of our skin when we talk about being prejudiced. Prejudice can consist of race, religion, gender identity, sexual identity, class (money), age, etc.
Prejudice can have a negative effect on both the individual and society as a whole.
If we continue to have a discriminatory mindset, we will never be able to end hate. If we can't eliminate the hatred and prejudice in the world, we certainly can't even begin to aim for harmony.
Without harmony, we will not be able to end the sadness, depression, suicide, and other mental struggles of people who are discriminated against.
If we can't make these changes to eliminate discriminatory and hateful thoughts, then there is no way to make a better world for our future generations.
Ways to overcome prejudice include education, open-mindedness, communication, and shifting your belief/identity.
Did you know that besides becoming educated in diversity, having an open mind, and listening to others, you can shift your belief/identity, thus meaning you can break that generational DNA passed down to you?
Seek out assistance from those trained in working through limiting beliefs and identity issues. There are so many talented people with different modalities to help you.
You may think some are more Woo Woo than others, but I promise you that if you have that open mind and give it a try, you will be amazed at how quickly that little niggle of discrimination in the back of your mind can be removed. It is such a freeing feeling.
It's important to remember that everyone is capable of change, including you & Grandpa! You just have to want it.
Suzi Freeman, Diversity Equity And Inclusion Panel
Suzi Freeman is a Certified Suicide Prevention Specialist, Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, & Master Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Suzi utilizes her training and certifications to teach individuals the skills needed to cope better with stressful and anxious situations that may otherwise lead them to a dark moment.
Suzi understands the need for preventative training and obtaining skills for stress and anxiety management; she had struggled with suicidal ideation for many years. Both of her sons are in high-stress jobs, military, and civilian police; she has prioritized helping people build strong mental resilience and teaching suicide prevention within the military and police communities.
She volunteers with multiple military charities, such as the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc., and Hire Heroes USA.
Suzi holds the title of Mrs. Elite Arizona for Women of Achievement 2022 as well. She is recognized for her work in the community for suicide prevention and helping build mental resilience in others.