Miss-Lou’s unique story told in Profile

Published 12:07am Friday, February 21, 2014

When I got married, I was convinced my wife  and I shared the same opinions on almost everything.

Although her favorite color orange and my favorite color blue sit on opposite sides of the color wheel, I knew there was very little on which we disagreed.

We liked the same music, appreciated good design, loved to travel and had this knack of ordering the same thing off the menu.

Thirteen years and one child later, I have discovered while there is a lot on which we agree, there are also many things on which we do not see eye to eye.

I say I was blinded by love.

A sociologist might say it was a cognitive bias known as the false consensus effect that prevented me from considering that my wife and many of the other people I like to be around have opinions or lives that are very different from my own.

I guess it is human nature to think that those with whom we agree live just like us.

And those who don’t? Well, they are defective in some way, aren’t they?

Such thinking leads to ignorance at best and stereotyping and discrimination at worst.

As I grow older, I continue to understand and appreciate that there isn’t another person out there who thinks exactly like I do.

As a journalist, I have learned we are a diverse bunch, no matter how similar we may think we are, and it is that diversity that makes our community what it is. Without it, the Miss-Lou would be a boring place, wouldn’t it?

Nowhere is this more clear than in the special section The Natchez Democrat publishes on the last weekend of February every year.

On Sunday, Profile 2014 will hit doorsteps and newsstands across the Miss-Lou. Each year, the annual special section contains dozens of features of stories about great people, places and things in the Miss-Lou.

Our staff reporters and photographers work on the section for months, interviewing just a fraction of the unique personalities and people that make up our communities along the Mississippi  River.

This year more than 150 people were photographed and interviewed for the 24 stories that literally highlight every hour of the day in the Miss-Lou.

This year’s theme is “Around the Clock in the Miss-Lou.” Sunday’s edition highlights what makes our community special one-hour at a time. It starts when the clock strikes midnight and continues until the band plays its last notes Under-the-Hill.

Teachers, students, police officers, firefighters, nurses, business owners, farmers, pastors, gamblers, musicians and athletes are just a small sampling of those who are featured. From those who see the first moments of life to those who pay their last respects, we highlight the diversity that makes our community.

Each person interviewed and photographed for this year’s Profile is just as unique as the snowflakes that fell on the Miss-Lou two weeks ago.

And like snowflakes, we may look like we are all the same from a distance. It is only when we look at it close-up that we see the beauty and unique quality that we all possess.

Profile is one of the ways that demonstrates that.

 

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 and by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.