Comparison, Competition and Categorization

I’m an only child.12345758_444364662413958_1070731442_n(1)
I don’t have siblings to be compared against- therefore, I am simultaneously the best and
worst at all I do.

My accomplishments and failures are often augmented/ blown out of proportion, but never used to determine my value or as a tool to compare me to others.

I became independent at a young age.

in·de·pend·ent
ˌindəˈpendənt/Submit
adjective
1. free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority.

I respected my parents’ decisions, but I was empowered to make my own choices whenever possible.

I wish to magnify my experience of being an autonomous individual to everyone. My parents realize that there is only Kalen Russell. That of Earth’s 7.8 billion people, I am unique. I process information differently, I have a distinct sense of humor, passions and needs that are mine alone.

Though equal, I am incomparable to anyone else.

Each person on Earth is the result of their personal experience and characteristic disposition. There are no means to ever compare two people- nor is there a need to.

Far too often one person is used to represent the ideologies, beliefs and mannerisms of a group. This mindset is often referred to as stereotyping.

stereotype

A generalization, usually exaggerated or oversimplified and often offensive, that is used to describe or distinguish a group.

Stereotypes rob individuals of their uniqueness, value and sometimes their potential. Stereotypes derive from laziness, as our brain evaluates an entire community based on one individual.

Stereotypes are frequently placed upon minorities, because they are they have a smaller presence in a population in comparison their majority counterparts.

A few populations frequently stereotyped in the United States include:

  • Muslims
  • African-Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Disabled persons
  • Veterans
  • Immigrants

Stereotypes are detrimental to our humanity, reducing beautifully complex individuals to a generic assumptions.

Removing stereotypes from our ways of thinking is difficult, but definitely possible and absolutely necessary.

In addition to being stereotyped by others, minorities may also suffer from stereotype threat.

Stereotype threat refers to being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s group

Stereotypes are harmful, to both the person stereotyping and the one being stereotyped. Getting to know someone as an individual requires effort, but the rewards are tremendous, and odds are you will learn something new and maybe make a friend.

I try to limit the extent that I allow societal stereotypes to influence how I view myself and what I assume about others, and you know what they say about assuming….. Don’t do it!

 

What are some days to challenge stereotypes in our daily lives? Comment below.

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