I am watching the “explained” series on Netflix, they cover a wide variety of topics. I highly recommend it. After watching the episode on political correctness, the ideas I had on the subject have been stirred. It’s not clear where the line is drawn because as it refers to complex ideas.
But if you are yourself faced with what feels like a cosmic idea, the best you can do is start to form an opinion, and start from somewhere, otherwise you have to intellectually recoil in your corner afraid to be called a social pervert, a deviant, racist or anything you are scared of.
I was thinking about stereotypes projected on ethnic groups. Since I read THE ENIGMA OF REASON by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber in which they argue that humans not only have opinions about ideas they have but also on ideas that they think others have. This apparently from an evolutionary perspective allows us to place others in our social environment.
To come back to the stereotypes, when it comes to assumptions about Indians (I have to start somewhere to make a point), I have seen people make fun of Indians using negative stereotypes like how Indians smell like Curry and Indians themselves display pride as they refer to the positive stereotypes like the high number of doctors in USA. The point I am trying to make is that they are both stereotypes.
I am a teacher and cartoonist now, but I used to feel bad in a way when I would go to a meetup event and before I can finish saying what my job is, the person in front of me would guess it for me:
-Hey I work in the Automotive Industry…
-Are you an engineer?
No, I work in Purchasing, I am a Buyer (I was)
This happens to a lot of people, my colleagues who are also living in Bangkok with a teacher’s salary also get projected on them the image that if they are Caucasian, they must have a lot of money. You can argue that my colleagues and myself might have more than the average Thai person but still we are far away from a person working in a executive job.
So let me experiment an idea with the following statement: Every adult human being no matter what their background is, wants to be considered as a person first. This I believe is a good start to develop your curiosity about people.
This links to one of my previous posts, I want the authors to be given the full range to express their honest feelings so that humanity in their work of art connects with the people just because they are people not because they belong or are assigned to a specific group.
So if you are offended by this post or by a bad assumption you have heard around you or about you, take a moment to think again about the way you feel. Maybe you feel proud about good assumptions that confirm your self image.