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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Childhood social outcast, FTW!

It occurs to me that as a child with very, very little social interaction, I missed out on a bunch of things. I never found out that I was supposed to hate broccoli or liver or brussel's sprouts. I found out they were tasty - though sometimes the sprouts were a little bitter.

I never found out that this was supposed to be a man's world, and that women were somehow deficient - or that I should revile people of other cultures, or colours, creeds, politics or religions. So I didn't.

I missed out on all those socializing factors that are supposed to bind me into the basic xenophobic tribal unit. It occurs to me that I don't much think about groups. Not half so much as I think about individuals. The colour of your skin doesn't say anything more about you as a person than who you voted for at the last election or what your shoe size is.

Shoeboxing people is for the lazy and the foolish. To believe that someone looks a certain way or says a certain thing and then to infer everything else about them from that is the worst form of bigoted stereotyping, whether you call them a fascist, a libertarian, a capitalist, a democrat, a republican, a communist or .. hrm ... a few things relating to religion or race that I'd rather not write here. Those labels are all just sloppy thinking to avoid the effort of treating people as individuals. The bad habit of demagoguery.

And it's one we learn at a very early age. We learn it from each-other. All those little absolutes. Then we spend a lifetime trying to get over them if we're lucky enough to even realize that they're there.

None of us are immune. I'm glad my infection as a child was relatively minor. At least I hope it was.

1 comment:

  1. Heiko Decatur5:29 AM

    Hrm, I too didn't grasp that most people have an ingrained way of seperating people into groups until probably high school, but I don't think it was my lack of social skills...maybe it was I don't know, I have social avoidance disorder but bleh I don't know its hard to examine your own head particulary for things that arn't there.


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