Misleading First Impressions

Last week I attended the funeral of a little ninety-three-year-old Chinese woman, "Alice." Long ago I had been introduced to her as the mother of a friend and sized her up as a sweet, gentle lady who probably spent most of her life in the kitchen making beef chop suey, wonton soup, and egg rolls.  Only now do I know what a powerhouse she was. I should have guessed it from her accomplished adult children.

Alice, a graduate of a leading university in Shanghai, was one of the first female journalists in China and interviewed prominent people. During the civil war there, she led more than twenty family members to safety. The homily at her funeral Mass and the masterful eulogy delivered by her son shed even more light on this remarkable woman, whose life touched thousands.
Apparently we humans are good at instantly drawing conclusions about other people. It's said that if a stranger resembles someone we know and like, we immediately think favorably of them. Alas, the opposite must also be true. Our perceptions are colored by our biases, culture, and previous experiences.  Click to contiinue

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