Last week, MailChimp did not distribute my blog so here is what I wrote:
Last time I discussed issues relating to accepting proper generalizations without stereotyping.
Attributing causes of generalizations: One friend agreed with the importance of accepting generalizations and avoiding stereotyping. He then offered the excellent insight that accepting generalizations is important but we need to understand the causes of proper generalizations to have a good understanding of each situation.
Too often we make simple minded attributions to explain the generalizations. The simple attributions may not only be wrong but also harmful.
For example, a proper generalization may be made between Asians, blacks, Hispanics, poor whites, rich white kids, rich business people or any of many other possible categories and crime. When the generalization is true and proper it can put the people in the category in a negative light.
However, the reasons for the generalizations are probably not the simple attributions people often ascribe to the categories. “Those people are bad, those kids are spoiled, those people are greedy” are simple and unacceptable explanations. History, economics, opportunity, complex environmental circumstances and many more factors interact to create negative generalizations.
Educated people should take the time to try to understand complexities but if they do not have the time or interest — at the least they should not enter into simple attributions to explain complex situations.
Please forgive me I couldn’t pass up the humor.
Simplicity in politics: The importance of avoiding simplicity and needing experts to address complex situations has been exceedingly clear in our local political races.
Jeny and I obviously live in a conservative state. The local politicians are spending millions trying to convince the people they are more conservative than Trump. Everyone stresses building a wall as the simple solution to keeping out illegal immigrants.
The issue is much more complex than simply building a wall. Mobile Alabama recently found out that taking the money from the military budget to build the wall could well result in the loss of millions of dollars to our shipyards, resulting in the loss of jobs and a serious blow to our economy.
In addition, there was a feature in our paper regarding the negative effects of limiting immigration on our many local nursery businesses.
In addition, the simple wall solution does not address the issue that most illegal immigrants enter the US legally and overstay their Visas.
Combine all these issues with the ingenuity of people finding ways to get into the United States, building on sacred land and other important matters, makes it very clear to me — illegal immigration is a complex problem without a simple solution.
Before anyone gets too excited, let me add–I do not believe the simple solution to open our borders to everyone is any better than simply building a wall.
We need more statesmen and women who understand most important issues are complex and will not be solved by simple minded, single-minded approaches. We also need an educated citizenry who understand and support complex approaches to serious issues.
Stereotypes of artists: Last week, I shared some stereotyping Jeny and I have faced. A friend shared his experiences. He is a male artist. When he worked construction, because of the stereotypes of an artist held by construction workers he held his tongue about being an artist and preserved his manhood.
He also pointed out–when he was around people of faith, often they stereotyped artists in a negative way, and when he was around artists they often stereotyped people of faith in a negative way, Stereotyping is an equal opportunity employer!!
His comment about artists reminded me of another story. We used to hold a Thanksgiving dinner for our fellowship students the Sunday before the holiday. One particular dinner I asked everyone to be quiet because we were in for a special treat. One of the young men who lived with us was a former baseball player and excellent athlete. He sat down at the piano and skillfully played Malaguena. Most were stunned. Their stereotype of an athlete did not include someone who could perform classical music with such skill.
I was also reminded of the plot of one of one of my favorite movies, The Dead Poet Society. A student and his teacher were condemned by a parent for the son developing an interest in poetry. The son committed suicide.
When I discussed the movie in one of my classes, I actually had one person say: “Is that the movie about boys reading poetry? I will never see that movie.”
Stereotypes about people in the arts run deep in our society.
Did I mention—I have a strong and budding interest in my poetry??
Until next week