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Worldwide Ace » Ego: Volume I, Issue 12

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Ego: Volume I, Issue 12

22 March, 2005 (03:27) | Politics

A while back, the CU_Boulder community had an interesting discussion about Phillip Mitchell, a professor at CU whose contract wasn’t renewed and is accusing the school of dismissing him for being Christian. As an offshoot of that discussion, and I began discussing what it means to be a Christian and I ended up asking her to send me her essay. In a slightly (very slightly since I was drinking moderately) inebriated state, I read said essay. Let me just say I was blown away. It was poignant, well-spoken, and I highly recommend anyone interested in the debate ask her to read it. I know I’m a Jew and an atheist, but I really felt I understood what she was trying to say, and though it’s certainly not as eloquent, I will try and summarize here.

Labeling yourself in America has become a game of association. When you say you’re gay, immediately people think you’re flaming, dress well, are upper class, a militant lesbian, or any other of a myriad of stereotypes. When you say you’re Jewish, immediately people think you’re cheap, circumsized, and liberal. When you say you’re Mexican (or even if you just look it), people assume you’re lazy, work a low-paying job, might steal something, or, yes, another stereotype. It’s a sad state, but it’s true. Unfortunately, not even the ruling class, as it is now, is free from being stereotyped. If someone says they’re a Christian, they’re assumed to be right-wing, anti on social issues, often ignorant, and a myriad of stereotypes associated with being Republican. It’s an issue of labels and assumptions.

In Boulder, this is a heinous, yet common, crime. I’m certainly no advocate who’s going to go stand on a soap box and decry the public. In fact, I doubt I can do very much other than bitch about it here. But to quote John Seely Brown in his book Fast Company, “the harder you fight to hold on to specific assumptions, the more likely there’s gold in letting go of them.” In other words, I think it’s worth giving someone a chance, even if you have doubts.

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  • “When you say you’re gay, immediately people think you’re flaming, dress well, are upper class, a militant lesbian…”

    Who, other than bigots, immediately thinks that?

    “Unfortunately, not even the ruling class, as it is now, is free from being stereotyped.”

    Unfortunately? Why unfortunately? Seems only fair to me that the “ruling class” should be subject to the same stereotypes that minorities have been for millenia… And perhaps, as I’ve seen happen, the publication of those assumptions about Christians, Republicans, etc. will bring attention to the insidiousness of biases to people who would have never thought twice about it before, including, some of said “ruling class.”

  • “When you say you’re gay, immediately people think you’re flaming, dress well, are upper class, a militant lesbian…”

    Who, other than bigots, immediately thinks that?

    “Unfortunately, not even the ruling class, as it is now, is free from being stereotyped.”

    Unfortunately? Why unfortunately? Seems only fair to me that the “ruling class” should be subject to the same stereotypes that minorities have been for millenia… And perhaps, as I’ve seen happen, the publication of those assumptions about Christians, Republicans, etc. will bring attention to the insidiousness of biases to people who would have never thought twice about it before, including, some of said “ruling class.”

  • Lots of people unfortunately. You don’t have to be openly bigoted to be uneducated and stereotype. In fact, even those people who are aware of stereotypes and make an effort not to often make assumptions anyway. It’s human nature.

    It’s not that the ruling class should be subject to stereotypes, but that no group should be stereotyped. Even if it were a minority of people, or the ruling class, I’d like to hear from a group that isn’t streotyped, just to find out what it’s like.

  • Lots of people unfortunately. You don’t have to be openly bigoted to be uneducated and stereotype. In fact, even those people who are aware of stereotypes and make an effort not to often make assumptions anyway. It’s human nature.

    It’s not that the ruling class should be subject to stereotypes, but that no group should be stereotyped. Even if it were a minority of people, or the ruling class, I’d like to hear from a group that isn’t streotyped, just to find out what it’s like.