|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
PREJUDICE MAY BE BEING DOWN ON WHAT WE ARE NOT UP ON
Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Prejudice is the result of ignorance and is even more harmful when this thinking, born of ignorance, is used as a means of stereotyping entire groups of people.
Unfortunately, prejudice exists with regard to race, religion, gender, age, national origin, class, disability, weight, sexual orientation and even our expectations for ourselves.
When we engage in prejudice of any type it could be said: Our thinkin’ is stinkin’. Prejudice is a core disability in the thinking of a bully.
In his book Wooden, A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off The Court, with Steve Jamison, Coach Wooden talks about our personal responsibility with regard to fighting prejudice:
There have been many wars fought and millions of lives lost because leaders differed with other leaders in regard to religion or race. You and I must accept some accountability for future bloodshed if each and every day we don’t do something in our own way to alleviate prejudice in ourselves and others.
In the book A Game Plan for Life, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a seven foot African American player who played for Coach Wooden in the sixties, recounted an incident where Coach Wooden provided him with an amazing way to deal with prejudice:
"Walking into a restaurant with Coach Wooden, I was greeted by a shout from a woman: "Oh, look at the big, black freak."
Sensing my shock at the slur, Coach did his best to diffuse the situation. Fortunately, I had enough maturity and self-confidence to refrain from responding, even though I was angered.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized how absolutely upset he was at that moment. He did such a great job of remaining calm and cool that while I was angry and wanted to be angry, he wanted to teach me that the most important thing I could do right then was to pity her for her ignorance. Coach’s ability to work with me and understand how best to turn that moment into a classroom of sorts helped me move past a painful moment."
In 1904 Mary Stewart, a high school principal and an advocate for women’s rights, provided us with great advice on how to avoid and handle prejudice:
Keep us, O God, from all pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off all self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment, and always be generous.
Are you up to the challenge?
Yours in Coaching,
The Captain’s Daughter
We were crowded in the cabin,
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