We all know of, or have, stories of college and high school clicks, those small societies in which we all fell into or were excluded from, and in many ways helped to build the stereotypical beliefs of those unlike ourselves. When I think about the general populace, I always keep a general rule at the back of my mind, and that is this, in many cases we tend to judge and assume things about others rather than take the intellectual path and try to understand that outward perception is, quite often, inaccurate. The majority of the human race falls into this outlook based in logical fallacy, one that only deals with minimal information, and an inaccurate belief that first impressions are everything. Sadly, even the most intelligent of our race fall victim to these seeming logical, but ultimately irrational, assumptions, and this is why I consider this to be one of the hardest intellectual breakdowns to overcome, especially since it is continually perpetuated by leaders within the government, academia, the business world and even our personal lives.
This intellectual breakdown is used very well as a divisive tool of control within the political field, with issues ranging from gay marriage and abortion to capitalism and socialism. Pundits and politically motivated persons will constantly skew the perceptions of the ill-informed voter with false perceptions and stereotypes. Take some time studying Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump while on the campaign trail and this will be pretty obvious. Moving on to education, we can see that the educators of our children are not immune from this irrational thought process. A perfect example showing this is that of the young high school student, Ahmed Mohamed. In this instance, the stereotype fostered by our countries leaders and the ethnocentric views fueling them caused this high school student to be treated like a criminal for attempting to show his teacher his accomplishment of building a clock. This could have been avoided had these educators not been a victim to their own battle with ethnocentrism and a certain stereotypical thought process.
Every single person in this world has, at one point, fallen victim to basing how they feel about someone on this ethnocentric view or some other stereotypical view, and the more closed they are to change it, the more apt they are to buckle down and rely on these views in all their interactions with those who are perceived as different. Take a second to think about this, how many of you, faithful readers, can recall in the conversations you have had where someone said something along the lines of “Aww man, you get it, you and me are the same. They are different than us.” For me, this is when I usually create a very awkward pause, and silently shake my head while changing the subject, but for the one making the statement it’s a logical assumption. No matter how illogical these assumptions can be, they will never seem illogical to the one stating them until they are forced from their bubble of comfort and open their thought process to change. It is a lofty goal, I know, but one we will eventually reach. It may not be in our life time but this cumulative understanding must occur or we are destined to destroy ourselves.
Someone will always point out that you need to “lead by example”, but sometimes it is hard for us to do so. If our leaders continue to perpetuate these views, so will we, and if we allow it so will our children. Yet, we can make these changes through a conscious and concentrated effort of continued self-education, diversity education, and working on changing the way the citizens of our society interact with each other. We can change. We can become better, we as the human race, we as one. Change in the heart, much like change in the law, takes time and is hard to notice at first, but it is up to each one of us to be better than those who came before us. It is time to fight against the intellectual falsities and vapid self-righteousness of our ids, and accept that there is always more to the story of the man or women standing in front of us than what our vision and thought limitations tell us.