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Does Openness Disarm Prejudice?

"Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it's a good place to start."--Jason Collins, first openly gay athlete in U.S. pro sports

Jason Collins, professional basketball player

What does it mean to you to be an open person? Does it mean being accepting of others? Open to new ideas? Willing to try different foods, clothing, or hair styles? Does openness mean seeing everyone equally? Is it all, some, or none of the above options?

I chose this quote by Jason Collins for a number of reasons. As many of you are aware tensions have been high recently, particularly regarding racial, gender, and sexual orientation topic debates. Now, I am not here to comment on the political aspect of these topics, but I would like to dissect the importance of this quote by Collins, and it's message about openness. As the quote suggests, to be open does not mean we will automatically be accepting of new ideas or opinions. Being open also does not mean we can erase prejudicial ideas or thoughts. However, where a door was once closed before, openness props it ajar. This is and for many years past has been our starting place to kick off conversations about controversial topics and to discuss different sides of a complicated puzzle.

Openness has also served as the bridge that closed community and cultural gaps, and in turn demanded cooperation. Openness today has helped many different communities (racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, disability, gender, etc), come together to start conversations about what's happening in our world, discuss problems at our local, state and national levels, and to bring awareness to a multitude of issues from all sides. Although openness does not beget acceptance, tolerance, understanding, or compassion for another person's life, it can be a start to disarming a more powerful foe: hate. If someone is willing to listen with an open mind despite a difference in ideas or opinions, offer them a listening ear in return. That simple willingness to truly hear another person whole heartedly and from a place of cooperation can be the catalyst to change in a positive direction. Divided we accomplish nothing: together we can build greatness. Right now we're in need of some builders willing and able to work together to accomplish greatness, and that requires you're help!

If you are interested in getting involved in open dialogue about local community issues, mental health related topics, and more please subscribe, follow, and like me at the social media links below! Read up on my bio below for more information about me, and what I do as a therapist in Grand Junction Colorado.

Devin Pinkston is a local mental health counselor and Gender Therapist in Grand Junction Colorado. Call to schedule a free consultation today at 970-644-2392

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