Misunderstanding: noun; a failure to understand something correctly. Synonyms: misinterpretation, misjudgement, confusion or simply the wrong idea.
Prejudice: noun; a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or an actual experience. Synonyms: prejudgement, bias, unknowing or simply the wrong idea.
Sexism, ageism, racism and sexual orientation discrimination are all prejudices that are formed towards people who fall under specific characteristics and labels. Within society there are expectations, stereotypes and boxes that if we don’t conform into we are instantly ridiculed and judged for it. John Locke once said that “all of us start off in life with minds that are blank.” Which means all prejudices we know and have are things we have been taught by the world to believe.
The youth are incapable of understanding what real world problems are and what real work looks like. We are the silent generation, born between 1925 and 1945. Born in the times of the Second World War and The Great Depression; what a time to be alive. We were shown how dangerous and volatile the world can be with its arsenal of weaponry and global dominating threats. We are your grandparents. We grew up with real problems, nothing was easy or given to us for free. We grew up in a constant state of fear. For everything we knew could’ve been taken away in an instant. We grew up in a world of uncertainty. Gender and racial prejudice were at their peak of distrust and inequality. We were fighting for what we believed in. We had to break away from traditional roles and create a life we wanted to live whilst also trying to survive in our war torn world. This new generation doesn’t realise how easily they have it. They’re provided an education, they have so many opportunities yet they turn them down. In this day and age society has developed so greatly, yet all the youth do is laze around without a care in the world.
The elderly are incapable of understanding the new generation, a lot has changed since the 1930’s. We are generation Z, born between 1995 and 2012. Born in the time where our greatest war is inside ourselves. What a time to be alive. We are the next generation of soon be adults taking control of the world. Once again racism, sexual orientation discrimination and ageism is peaking, but why? We are fighting the voices inside our own heads that scream depression and anxiety, whilst the older generations mock us for being reckless and over sensitive teens. We are living in a constant state of fear, as we are constantly under attack perhaps not by nuclear weapons but by words of hate from not only others but from ourselves. We are fighting for changes in schools and communities all over the globe to make them safer places, but your generation, the ones who call the shots don’t listen and call us weak. Your generation is ageist towards our own because you lack understanding. We are taught about what you endured when you were our age in history class, but you’re not willing to be taught OUR struggles or OUR issues. You were called the silent generation because you didn’t really enforce a change, you believe you did but in reality the generations before and after you were the ones who made a difference.
But age isn’t the core of all prejudice, it’s just an example of lack of understanding and about how fear can cause misunderstandings to occur. When linked to Victor and his creature we can see how a lack of communication lead to the creature believing that he was abandoned due to being a morally corrupt monster that was visually displeasing. And Victor believing that the creature had only began to kill as he was innately evil. But both perspectives were incorrect; Victor had described that “now I had finished, the beauty of the dream had vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” He had abandoned the creature as it caused him to have an insurmountable inner turmoil over the disbelief that he was able to commit such vile acts against human kind such as the dismembering, reassembling and reanimation of a creature that had the mental capacity of an infant. And the creature had began to kill because he was so broken by the concept of him being unlovable and alone that the only emotion he had control of feeling was anger. Thus begun his killing spree as he believed that “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear.”
Locke once said that “ideas we make when we’re young are important to when we’re older as they’re our foundations of our thoughts forever.” The death of Victor’s mother caused him to begin his quest for a cure for death without any ethical or moral boundaries. Immediately after the creature’s reanimation he was exposed to brutal violence from the villagers as they held a prejudice towards him, this crafted his view on the world. We have all had something from our childhoods that has impacted the perspective we have on the world. Whether it was the way that our parents taught us to treat others, or we’ve had something greater happen, something we’ve survived. We’ve all had something. We need to understand that the way a person is always has a reason why.
The greatest barrier between two people is misunderstanding, like with us and the silent generation and Victor and the creature. We form a prejudice against people due to fear, due to not knowing. We build walls around us which shelter us from being hurt, because we are so afraid to actually let someone know who we are just incase we are ridiculed and judged for it. To actually know anyone you have to get beyond their walls, beyond the barriers they have created. Which takes time, which takes effort. But what we lack most is the courage to ask the questions to gain the understanding, we lack the audacity to break the walls between us and other people. Which means we miss out on finding the shared intimacy of truly knowing another human soul.