Where has common sense gone? It’s been lost along the way to being politically correct and guarded.
We are so worried about ‘offending’ someone that we have lost the ability to be honest and truthful about things.
This may end up provoking some ire and/or concerns about my open mindedness. But, here goes.
Let’s take stereotypes. I am not condoning stereotyping etc. But I can see how it happens. And why. And it’s not always wrong. Sorry, it’s not.
I have heard children and adults alike exclaim they want to be “unique” or “individual”. And yet what they want is to portray something that is not unique, it is symbolic or representative of a mind set or culture. Why is that bad? There are certain things I believe in and achieve to be a part of. I would love to be stereotyped with certain cultures and ideals. If I choose to live like that and support that, then why should I be offended to be part of that culture and “lumped in” with them?
If I could wear bike shorts and tshirts day round I would. I would have buff calves. I would have a biker’s short tan. I would have helmet hair and raccoon eyes year round. It’s what I like to do and part of who I am. I love the idea of the USA becoming bike friendly. Biking to work, to play, for a lot more than what we currently use bikes for. I love the idea of a community using bikes for the many diverse reasons those of us who love bikes use them. That being said, I know there are those who absolutely hate people on bicycles on the roads. Their roads. They feel the bikers are a nuisance and have no rights. I know there are just as many idiots riding bikes and avoiding all road rules as there are car drivers who do the same. I know there are bicycle riders who give biking a bad name. That’s part of this culture.
I love the fact that I am American. Irish heritage. I know there are images around the world regarding both cultures. Americans get a bad rap for oh so many things. And guess what, some of that stuff is deserved. And guess what? Some is not. I would not want to be anywhere else. If you have a problem in America you have the right and the freedom to change it. I love being American. I am proud of the country and the hard work that my fellow country people put in to being American every single day. I am proud of the goodness of this country. And despite some of our downfalls, as a country we ARE generous and charitable and hard working. We are a constant work in progress. I don’t see the problem with that. And being Irish? We all know the stereotypes of being Irish. I don’t care. I love the Irish and who they are. Talk about a never give up attitude. The Irish have survived and thrived through an entire existence of others attacking and trying to keep them down. And the stereotype of the drinking Irish? I don’t even drink so I don’t care! And every culture I have ever heard of has some kind of vice.
So we have stereotypes. We have stereotypes because people fill them. They create them. People create their own cultural identities and are then offended that they are recognized for that very cultural creation. Gangsters? Groups of young men and women of every race create their own identity with colors, symbols, hand signals, graffiti, etc… They want to be identified to all others as the gang that they belong to. Then what happens? People start to recognize that there is a culture, a gang culture. Some even copy it, it is worn to schools. It is adopted in to the music industry. Their look is a recognizable part of their culture. Then we (those not in that culture) are lambasted for recognizing this look and associating the look with the culture.
Why is that bad?
If that is the culture they created, and their look is part of that culture, why do we have to apologize for recognizing that? If others adopt that look, they know that is where the look comes from and it is common sense that they will be associated with that culture.
I have been told that I look like a man, or a lesbian, because of the way I dress and the way I choose to wear my hair. Okay, short hair is mostly acceptable on men. Whatever. And though I have seen many lesbians who do not have short hair, it is also associated with being a lesbian. Again, whatever. I’m not a man, and I’m not a lesbian. And neither of those things offend me so I don’t care if someone thinks these things about me anyway.
And I don’t care what anyone says, when you see someone what you see does pop thoughts and opinions in to your head. Our eyes are part of the windows to our brains. It can not help what it sees and where the brain goes. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. Why can’t we accept that people choose their “look” and as a result, others may (or may not) assume things or wonder things or lump like-looking individuals in to a group of sameness. Hello, weren’t we all taught by Sesame Street that one of these things is not like the other? Which means, some of these things are alike.
It’s easy world…
If you don’t want to look like a gangster, don’t dress like a gangster.
If you don’t want to look like a sports fanatic, don’t paint your body in two colors and bare your chest to the college crowd.
If you don’t want to be a drunk Irishman don’t drink.
If you don’t want to look like a redneck American get the car down off of the cement blocks and the toilet as a flower bed out of your yard.
If you don’t want to look like anything specific don’t look like anything specific. And if you choose to? You know damn well that you look like it!
I may have made light of some examples here. Or maybe not. I know stereotyping is not a good thing in many situations. But I also know that situations are created by people and made better or worse by people.
Some things we need to deal with. Some things we need to put our big people pants on and get over it.