Sometimes it’s difficult to hear and accept a person’s point of view, especially when that view is prejudicial and unfairly directed at a certain community of people. But at the same time I’d rather someone spoke their mind. Australians can be a reserved bunch, and I’ve found it often takes longer to connect on a meaningful level with people here than when I’m overseas. So in many ways it’s refreshing to have someone speak their mind.
I often encounter prejudice in the form of a snide comment from a person that is usually waiting for an agreeing nod or a snigger, like we’re all in on it. I’m still taken aback when it happens, particularly when it’s directed at the homeless. I’m not going to list the assumptions made about them here, but like always with prejudice against ‘other’ people the manner of stereotyping assumes that ‘they’ are ‘all the same’.
Last night I attended a Community Dinner at the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre. My experience was that none of the people who were there for a communal free meal, access to nurses, a laundry van and other vital services were the same at all. I met unique individuals who were generous in their time and conversation. Sincerity is what I experienced, a rare and precious aspect of humanity that is often difficult to come by, and humbling when in such abundance as I experienced at the Neighbourhood Centre. We laughed, we philosophised, and for the first time I was asked how I answered the questionnaire.