“Never judge a book by it’s cover!” is an oxymoron that many of us have heard before when dealing with criticism. It is an oxymoron that should be instilled in all human beings as we all tend to pre-judge others, especially in our North American, media inflicted society. Stereotypes – an image or classification of a group of people – are examples of pre-judgement that our society oppresses on groups of people. The only way to stop these judgements is to prove them wrong. People feel the need to prove assumptions made about them wrong to feel intrinsically satisfied, and to prove stereotypes wrong, so not only the individual can feel satisfaction, but others like them. The essays “An Invisible Woman,” by Bharati Mukherjee, “Mother Tongue,” by Amy Tan, and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. all show examples of how proving assumptions wrong left some type of satisfaction.
When one proves false accusations to be wrong, it always gives satisfaction to the victim. It is always one of the greatest feelings to prove somebody wrong because it is similar to achieving something that you were never supposed to be able to do. In “An Invisible Woman,” Mukherjee describes a time when she was growing up and was subjected to many stereotypical judgments made against her. For example, Mukherjee being a beautiful woman where she was raised, was not supposed to work, and therefore was thought of as not intelligent and she could not accomplish much of her own. She wanted to prove everyone wrong for her own satisfaction, so she decided to complete her Master’s degree in English.
Likewise, in Amy Tan’s essay, she describes of how her former boss said that she was a horrible writer and she should go into streams of work that include math like account management. Amy talks about how she loves proving assumptions wrong so she worked hard and started to write her own fictional novels, and from this, attained satisfaction in proving her boss wrong about her writing abilities.
Moreover, knowing that you have proven somebody wrong is a great feeling, but proving stereotypes wrong; assumptions usually made by the general population; show positive accomplishments, not only for the individual but for the group of people as well. Living in a new country is always hard and there are always judgments made against immigrants coming in to the country. For example, some people may say that immigrants come to take up all the money from our country from services like welfare. This is an example used in Mukherjee’s essay where she describes how she is not like that and how many immigrants are grateful for their stay in their new country, like Canada in her case, and will work hard to do so. (Mukherjee, p. 324) Sure, she may be only one person fighting these assumptions but by showing her success through her hard work is always a start in fighting these racial assumptions and will help many others like her in the long term.
Similarly, in Tan’s essay, she describes a time where her mother was poorly treated by hospital staff because of her Chinese accent, after they lost a CAT scan of a tumor the mother was told to have. The sense of immigrants being less intellectual than others is shown here as the hospital staff shows no sympathy or help to the mother in need, until the daughter with better English assists her mother, and forces the staff to do something about the loss of the CAT scan (Tan, p.342). This shows that Amy proved that staff wrong when dealing with immigrant patients and maybe they will change their ways of dealing with immigrant patients in the future.
Also, in Martin Luther King’s “Letter to Birmingham Jail,” it describes how African Americans, at the times of black motivational movements, wanted to fight for their rights to ensure their role in society and show that they were not inadequate of anything that the “white” predominant race was able to accomplish. Through at least fighting for their rights, African Americans gained hope and satisfaction as something new was always accomplished when they worked to prove others wrong.
Judging people before you get to know them is wrong, but it will always occur in our world. The only way to stop it is to prove the assumptions wrong and this will benefit not only the individual but others like them. There may always be common trends made by certain groups of people but every individual is different and we all have to remember that.