In My View: Pride and prejudice in equal abundance

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Have you ever put yourself in someone else’s shoes to see what life is like for them?

We all do this from time to time, it’s called empathy, for those who may be devoid of that emotion. I’ve certainly encountered quite a few people who lack it in my time – and I include friends and family in that.

What does worry me is the rise of intolerance by so-called “normal” people these days, especially when it comes to race, religion, nationality or social status. It seems these things really upset some people if it doesn’t conform to their own sensibilities.

There are local groups such as Central Scotland Regional Equality Council (CSREC) doing good work to break down barriers and this is to be encouraged, especially in today’s world.

I watched the My Week As A Muslim programme on Monday which opened the eyes of Katie, who was afraid of them, basically believing, like many other Brits, that they are all terrorists and here in “our country” to exploit “us”.

Dressing as a Muslim she spent time with other Muslims and, as was hoped, by me anyway, she changed her view of Muslims and their culture after realising they are just like any other human being and the majority abhor terrorists and criminals as much as we do.

The programme was filmed the same week as the Manchester Arena attack, where it was based, so racial tensions were heightened to a new level.

And when Katie went home dressed as a Muslim her mother was visibly petrified, while her young daughter said she looked pretty – two very different reactions between the ages.

It made me sad to think about just how prejudiced our nation can be when it comes to race and religion, especially in a supposedly enlightened society.