Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our need to catagorize

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Don't judge a book by its cover.  Big things come in small packages.  It's not the size of the dog in the fight it's the size of the fight in the dog.  Do or do not do . . .there is no try.  Ok the last one I just had to throw in.  Sorry.  We all know these sayings by heart, and they are all true although some are contradictory. 

Our first impression is us judging people.  (You don't know me!!)  (sorry)  We see someone, make a decision and look for evidence to support that decision.  If the evidence doesn't fit we tend to dismiss it.  The sad thing is, sometimes we are right, heck often we are right, but it's when we are wrong is that we could not only make a fool out of ourselves, but could misjudge and even hurt an innocent person. 

I attended a multicultural diversity conference back in November.  It really opened my eyes. Let me give you an example.  The first day in the first five minutes the presenters introduced themselves.  There was a huge sheet of paper on the table and we were to list all the things we thought were true about each presenter while they left the room.  We went wild and put up every stray thought that entered our head and why we thought that.  When they came back in and started reading what we thought and why, we found out how far off we were.  Sometimes we nailed it, many times we didn't. 

I help people fill out forms all day, and its amazing how we try to box people into categories.  Democrat and Republican.  Caucasian, African American, or Other (how degrading is it to be referred to as other?)  I can go on, but the point I'm trying to make is we place people into categories WE are comfortable with.  Now how is that fair.  Why does everything have to have a name?  Are we so afraid of the unknown that we have to catorgorize everything? 

Try this if you think I'm crazy.  (and I'm not denying I'm not crazy)  The next time your out really pay attention to yourself when you see someone, and see if you're not trying to prejudge something about that person.  The next time you think someone acts out of thier character, realize it may just be they acted out of the character you had placed them in. 

Ok that's it on this one.  I know, a little deep and it makes us look at a part of ourselves we may not be comforatable with, but if we can't be comforatable with ourselves, than who can we really be comfortable with??   Til next time . . whenever that is . . .


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