Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Those People

When my teenage (White) son was about to meet my (Black) partner he asked me about "Black People" - to try to ensure that he didn't mess up with her.    When I was around his current age (21) I met a Black Couple at an interstate highway rest station.  I presumed that Because they were Black and "older", that they'd be into Blues Music.   The man was patient with my naive presumptions and explained that they were into Jazz, not Blues.    They could also have been into classical music, country music or no music.

Frequently it is much easier to Presume that we know what people are like by what we See them being (on the surface).    The person may be seen in seemingly innocuous stereotypes such  as: "that incredibly tall skinny man" or "that tiny girl".     They may also be seen in stereotypes such as: "that Fat Black Woman with those noisy kids" which we may translate into: "the no-good welfare mother".

What do we presume with our initial impressions?   Why do "short men" have "the Napolean Complex"?   Could it be that others presume things by their shortness which they fight through who they become?   Or, do we see these men Not as they are, but rather as we make them out to be?  Are they really little different from other men?

How is the "Asian" affected when we presume:
1.) If female, that she is "exotic"?
2.) The student - must be "brainy"?
3.) They are "good" - (hardworking, middle-class etc.) --- (not like those No Good Black People who are Lazy)?

How is the "fat woman" affected with whatever presumptions we may make about her?

How is the "Young Black Man" affected by police, shopkeepers and others watching him constantly and suspecting him of committing crimes?

How do we Grow in our Coccoons when we don't see people beyond their surface appearances?   When do we Learn to Learn?    

How do we use our own "oppressions" - whatever they may be?   They may help to allow us to listen and move closer often to others we meet.   They don't need to be an excuse - to stay apart - ignorant and missing out.     Often our first impressions may be deceptive.   


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