There’s a tremendously sinister wave in our world. It’s the shaming wave. It’s the superiority complex wave. It’s the “I’m better than you and you need to listen to me because I’m right and you’re wrong” wave.
Think about this. Think about the time you saw someone or heard about someone’s background, and already you have a dozen presuppositions about who he or she is. Or what he or she believes. Or why he or she is the way he or she is.
But what if that person had a way to enlighten you on your prejudices and misconceptions? Basically, what if you could get a clear, unbiased response from someone about why your opinions of them are wronger than 2 + 2 = 3?
Take a look at this video series from the BBC. In it, people discuss things you shouldn’t ask or say to someone, and why you shouldn’t make the suppositions that you think are harmless.
For example. Here’s a video clip in which overweight people discuss the prejudices and suppositions that others have about them.
Here’s another one. Personally, I don’t drink alcohol. I barely sip from the ecumenical wine goblet in church. Yet there’s already people who will make assumptions about my choice to not imbibe.
And heaven forbid you’re single. People will either assume that you’re single because of something personal about you that no one likes, or they make comments about wanting to hook you up with their friend Fred, who’s really into what you’re into. Sure he is.
And what if you have a skin condition known as Vitiligo, where the pigment in your skin fades away? I know people who live normal, everyday lives with vitiligo …. and I’m sure they’re sick of being asked questions like these about it.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has a similar video series, theirs is called “You Can’t Ask That.” And, as does the BBC III series, they bring people in front of a camera and ask them about some of the most embarrassing, invasive, clueless questions they’ve received from people, and offer to dispel myths and presuppositions about those questions.
For example, here’s actual Muslim-Australians discussing why they practice the faith of Ibrahim.
Here’s a clip in which short-statured men and women answer some of the most brain-numbing questions about themselves. Right off the bat, I mentioned “short statured.” And I bet you’ve already got three questions in your head right now.
And here’s my response.
These clips are important. There’s so much body-shaming and culture-shaming out there, both in the real world and online, that it’s frightening. Absolutely frightening. If you don’t match up with the perceived standard of society, you’re instantly designated as species homo inferiorus and are ostracized and shunned.
And we need to be better than that.
We HAVE to be better than that.
To not have that option is to fail as a society.
And on the other hand, some people don’t WANT to answer invasive questions like this, and that’s understandable as well. You don’t need to know every little thing about someone if they don’t want to tell you. Sometimes it’s just simply none of your business.
Just some early discussion for the morning.
A meal of knowledge, for those who will dine.