Saturday, November 01, 2008

People Are Just People

Do we have to classify people by something other than good or bad? Friend or foe? I get so tired of discrimination and so-called "reverse" discrimination (you know, instead of "we're good and they're bad" it's "they're good and we're bad").

I understand applying identifiable descriptions to people ("Oh you know--she's an American, black, about 35, drives a red Corolla."), but to actually put character attributes, positive or negative, to people because of the color of their skin, the country of their birth, etc. . . . come on.

I'm not totally unaware of general cultural effects on people's behavior--Americans tend to be more assertive, Japanese more fastidious, Islanders more laid back, etc.--but to either hate people because of a circumstance of birth or wear your "love" of them as a badge of honor I don't get.

There's been a lot of efforts, in the U.S. anyway--I don't know about other countries--both promoting and attempting to do away with discrimination over the years, but unless we can rail on someone or praise someone because of their choices and not their circumstances, I don't think it's going to happen. Wouldn't it be great to put aside "political correctness" for just plain old goodness? Couldn't we recognize our diversities, but celebrate our commonalities? Until we do, I doubt we'll ever have what I'd like to think we're all looking for.

"I hate them, they're black." "Handicapped people are so sweet." "I can't stand people from California." "Poor people are so humble." Oh really? Ugh.


Mallory said...

Amen! I agree that we so carefully tip toe around certain words and phrases that are certainly not bad words in order to be socially acceptable that we end up saying something entirely different than we set out to do, and we usually end up insulting someone anyway.

What we should be celebrating, like you say, are the commonalities. Or even better, the fact that we can get along despite our differences. Of course, that would require us to get along.

yesweareonmars said...

Yes, I think Americans are much more into labels then outside the U.S..
I also find it funny that just this morning on BBC morning news they had a black American woman and a black British man on to discuss the election results. The American referred to herself as 'African American' and the British man referred to himself as a black man. Its the same here in the Netherlands too and in Africa as well. Black people all over the world refer to themselves as black but not in the States.

I also find it hard to discuss certain ideas sometimes in the States because people assume your 100% for or against something if you just want to discuss it. Kind of puts a crimp in freedom of speech.