During the recent outbreaks of violence and such, I have found it easier to keep my opinions to myself. Not because I am not brave enough to speak out, but more because action shows and proves the point clear enough. The verdict of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and countless others has been a long growing trend in America. It didn’t just start today, it started many years ago. However, the difference between then and now – is now the debate is easily manipulated by propaganda and false information being passed on as gospel by those who thrive on chaos. The vehicles of this manipulation: Social media, the internet, take your pick there are several.
I believe it’s because people do not understand the cause, people of all colors not just one group often live in fear of the truth. The truth would shatter their perception of what reality actually is and what it actually means. They are afraid to address it for the fear of retaliation, they are afraid to accept it because then this means we haven’t actually grown as we proclaim we have. ( and by we, I mean humanity not a race specifically.) Hate is a human emotion; do you see wolves walking around in the wild hating each other? No, you do not. Do you see bears walking around hating each other? No, you do not. Humans however, do it every day, all day. But if you ask why all the anger – they cannot properly express nor articulate the reason. This didn’t just start with us, while many would LOVEEEEEEEEE to think it did, sorry it didn’t and by us – I mean African Americans and Latinos. OH NO BABY – this has been going on for many years. Look at how the Irish were treated upon their arrival here. Look how the native american’s were treated and they LIVED HERE FIRST. Look at how the jewish were treated, the list goes on and on and on..
Every nationality, every race, every ethnic group has run against some type of adversity at the hands of another – no one is immune to humanity’s hate toward each other, and the superiority complex that seems to affect each group at a specific moment and time.
Another human trait that has added fuel to this fire is Generalization and stereotypes. Now this is where we dive into social psychology at it’s finest. We tend to follow the social norms . What are those? Well social norms are defined as: Social norms are the behaviors and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as “the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit.
This is the measuring stick that is used when rearing children and trying to establish a guide of what is acceptable by society and what isn’t. The problem with this behavior you ask? With each generation social norms change. Some are retired because they are considered out dated, some are phased out because the new generation feels that it is too restrictive, some are reinforced to a higher degree because of incidents or events that have happened that prove why they are in place. Then to give a bigger grasp to it, these norms are just plain society points, then you have to break it down by nationality, culture, and race.. NOW IT’S REALLY COMPLICATED.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, style, values, beliefs, thoughts, and ideals ( or so we are told) but something strange happens when it doesn’t match the opinion, style, values, beliefs, thoughts, and ideals of the majority. The thing that happens is aversion, Aversion from the belief that someone can think differently than we can and be right. This aversion can play out a number of ways but in the end it usually is but not always limited to one of the following: Rejection, bullying, social shunning, mental or physical attacks, creation of misinformation to: A) Stop others from association with the group that is deemed a threat B) to mislead the majority about the similarities that they share with the group that is deemed a threat & C) To breed anger towards the group that is deemed a threat.
All of these behaviors are unfortunately the dark, ugly, part of the human condition. These things sit and seep into the fabric of the lives of its host eventually manifesting into hate. Against the hate, you have rebellion – because the group that is the target becomes aware of what is called a Stereotype Threat. Stereotype threat is defined as an situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their social group.
So I know you are thinking “Okay, so what does that mean? Like can we have a short break down here.. you’re going on and on and while the information is important – I am on a schedule.”
What it means in short is this .. like I said in the title, sometimes keeping your opinion’s to one’s self is the best recourse and to take action in correcting the wrong is the best step. Now by taking action, I mean participating in productive things to change the way humans think about other humans from a unbiased standpoint. In order to change, you must BE the change you want to see. You must be unwavering in your pursuit of that change and not be afraid to stand strong with that change. It will not be an easy road. There will be a flood of emotions along the way. From great highs, to great lows, but nothing worth it was every easy, and anything easy is never truly worth it.
Think on it.