Judging a Book by its Cover – Daily Prompt

Today’s Daily Prompt asked: ‘Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover – literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did, and whether it was a good decision or not.

Our brains are lazy. Most brains rely heavily on the easiest way to solve any problems at hand. One of the ways they do so is by creating schemas (patterns of thoughts and behaviours that organizes categories of information and the relationships between them). In other words, our brains make associations between thoughts, feelings, people and situations, and then stores those associations so that it will be easier for the brain to recall next time. For instance, we may think that blonde girls are dumb if we have previously met a lot of blonde-haired women with seemingly low-level intelligence (exposure to media, joke books and other people’s opinions also help strengthen this association).

Schemas may help save us some time and may save us from danger, but if we do not challenge them, they can develop into stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. Not all women with blonde hairs are dumb. Not all people of African descent are athletic. Not all kids with Special Educational Needs have low-intelligence. My point is that our schemas and stereotypes can be wrong and we need to be aware of it.

I have ‘judged a book by its cover’ a lot of times before. In fact, I do it most of the time. When I am walking alone on a dark alley or riding the bus late at night, I keep away from drunks and suspicious-looking people to keep me safe. Is it wrong? Yes, because not all of them are dangerous. But I still do it. I am not sure if I should change that particular reaction, even though I know that I may be wring 99% of the time. What I avoid is passing judgement too quickly in non-threatening situations. I try to keep an open mind everytime. I know that everyone that I meet is fighting a hard battle.

 

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