An insightful thought to challenge ourselves to actually be as “open-minded” and “non-discriminatory” as we wish to, or even sometimes already profess to be..
The very next time you feel the urge to use some “descriptive label” infused with your complaint to describe someone you; don’t agree with; is plain different; or find distasteful for whatever reason.. then your challenge is to totally replace that “descriptive label” (race/religion/nationality/orientation/political stance) in your own thoughts and spoken word with the term “HUMAN BEING” and witness the difference in the feelings the statement now evokes. You may be surprised how the simple replacement of terms can actually change how you feel about the situation, or what you just said or thought…… and how sometimes it may even make you feel ashamed of yourself when viewed in that light.
In earnest, one reason discrimination remains after years of being considered wrong is that we haven’t taken the time to actually edit and seek the truth in our own perceptions, or adamantly discount it in others. E-mails or jokes between “friends” and people we feel “safe” exhibiting our own discrimination continue even today… despite us “knowing better”.
We haven’t required ourselves to put a stop to it in our own minds and quiet interactions. We’re far to comfortable with the assumptions we internally associate with people that are different than us. Far too reliant on “descriptive labels” that we use to categorize people with.
The issue with “descriptive labels” being so rampant, is the fact that stereotypical representations, or limited personal experience have now come to make those “labels” become associated with things other than what the word initially was meant to describe.
We seem ok to let other totally abstract and separate aspects of a person’s character become synonymous with those “labels” in our minds. Sterotypes shown in media and movies, along with how “News” organizations lean more towards hype and entertainment rather than reporting the simple facts all come into play.
Each unique individual can maybe have many “descriptive” words that in literal terms actually do describe their person, beliefs and character, but the practice of assuming that any one description automatically designates a whole host of other descriptive words that must also fit is a false belief and one that its time we train ourselves out of. Stereotypes are wrong. Each individual is far too unique to successfully be “categorized” in this manner.
“Black” doesn’t actually mean gangster, poor, or criminal… etc.
“White” doesn’t actually mean rich, snobbish, or having a superiority complex..
“Mexican” doesn’t mean illegal alien, drives a pinto car, or favorite food is tacos…
“Christian” doesn’t mean kind nor obsessive, graceful or overly opinionated
“Islamic” doesn’t mean someone is a terrorist, or personally inclined to wage war
“Homosexual” doesn’t mean they are going to be interested in you (seriously get over yourself), or that sexual relations is the bulk of what they think about..
“Democratic” doesn’t mean they want to give everything away for free, or are irresponsible…
“Republican” doesn’t actually mean that someone is overly dramatic, believes in a “Christian” God, or is completely selfish and uncaring about others….
So the next time one of those words even come up in your thought process… stop short for a second and analyze what you are really saying/thinking. Replace the word with “HUMAN BEING” and stop relying on “descriptive labels” altogether as often they only lead to excessive assumptions rather than truth.