Most of us were exposed to the concept of sweeping generalizations while we were in school. We learned to be alert for and wary of phrases such as...
All Men are ___ ... or ... All Asians practice ___ ... or ... All Marines will ___.
We were taught that use of such language and the mindset underneath it are an expression of prejudice, or outright bigotry. At the very least, it is an attempt to prejudice the minds of others.
In recent years I have become increasingly aware of the prejudicial impact of labels. As soon as we place a label on an INDIVIDUAL we automatically cause inferential assumptions about that person. Those implied assumptions occur in our own minds, and they emerge in the minds of our audiences (whomever they may be).
For instance... take the label "Baptists." I know a lot of Baptists, but very few of them live tightly according to codified Baptist doctrine. Yet, when I use that label my mind instantly lumps them into a pattern of behavior/thought that is likely not accurate.
For your consideration, here are some other labels that generate auto-assumptions in our minds: Democrats, Conservatives, Southerners, Women, Rednecks, Educated...
The labels we use automatically generate assumptions; those inferences are often unfair and frequently incorrect.
Mostly, we all think and behave as INDIVIDUALS.
I'm trying mightily to view others, to act, to think, and to speak accordingly. It's harder than you think.
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