Saturday, 16 February 2013

Breaking Stereotypes

The glass is half full. Or is it half empty? The fictional world we create in our heads about the importance of petty things is commendable. We give meaning and authority to things that will otherwise have no affect on our lives whatsoever. Giving social and moral norms precedence over our own autonomy, it is us who ensure the propagation of this system that has been created. Breaking stereotypes is one of the most important matters that may be resolved, given the open-mindedness of individuals. Why must we associate certain things with certain emotions, why must we judge? What comes of it? Unproductive conversations, inefficient thought processes and a lack of personal autonomy are just a few of the byproducts of adhering to norms set by society and the world as a whole.

From what I have inferred, a situation seems much more foreboding than it actually is if you haven’t been exposed to it. Lack of knowledge about a certain matter is what instigates fear in our hearts. Associating Africa with famine, Middle-East and South Asia with terrorism, these connections are not our fault. The media plays a pivotal role in developing what we seem to think of as our own personal opinions. We are dictated by the mechanisms of “civilization” and we still seem to believe that we have individualistic concepts. At some point or the other, there is a common overlap between the mindsets of two “individuals”.

Coming back to the lack of information inciting fear in us, think about it for a minute. Let’s take an example for the purposes of understanding. Depending on what sort of background you come from, your opinions fluctuate accordingly. A person raised in the west may believe that consuming alcohol is morally fine, whereas someone who grew up in the Middle East may believe that consuming alcohol is palpably wrong and goes against their religion and social norms. Once again, by stereotyping the mindsets of people in their respective regions, I have proven that I am no different from the rest of the world. However, the point I am trying to make is that no individual is an individual. Our immediate surroundings define who we are.

The conflicting mindsets of the regions around the world subsequently result in generations to come to have conflicting ideologies. That being said, I still believe that we cannot have a Utopian world in which everyone is like-minded and doesn't fight about matters pertaining to fundamental belief. Through the ages, humans have evolved, not letting go of their beliefs. Co-existence, however, was lost somewhere along the way.
You have religious views, well; we all need a feeling of righteousness. What seems to be the issue with other people having differing religious views? By asserting your views and condemning other views are preposterous and incorrect, you don’t end up establishing supremacy. You just look like an insecure subject who needs to convince himself more than anyone else that his views are right.

We have planet Earth to live in. Nothing more, nothing less. Let’s downscale. Imagine that planet Earth is an apartment with 2 rooms and a living room which has an Xbox, LCD screen, and a really nice atmosphere to spend time in. Now you and your room mate both want to play Xbox and chill, right? What are you going to do? Beat him half to death, lock him in the bathroom, and then have a good time without feeling remorse? Or would you try to find middle ground in which no one is being oppressed?
Well whatever you may want to do, it’s too bad because presently the former is being implemented.

The oppressed will continue to be oppressed and may think that he has no real power over the oppressor. However, people are oppressed because they allow themselves to be oppressed. But then again, the idea of being weak is fixated in their mind similar to the way stereotypes are, and so there’s a slim chance they’ll ever be able to break the cycle.
Then there are those who overdo it. Being someone who believes in equality of all races, religions and both the genders, I couldn't help but notice a few things. When the oppressed begin understanding what “could have been”, they really overdo it. Individuals of an African-American descent have pushed so much for racial equality, and for this very reason they will never get it. There is a lawsuit filed every time a Caucasian individual gets something instead of an African-American one, if they are the only two eligible candidates for it.

Similarly, there are feminists. Sure, empower women, give them equal rights, stop sexual harassment, but where is the line drawn? Feminists push for all these things, yet demand special treatment. The concept they are pushing for, is reasonable, logical. However, overdoing it, wanting to be better, filing lawsuits left right and center for gender discrimination, it once again is a reflection of their insecurity and lust for supremacy.
My question is, if someone who is oppressed takes a stand based on moral high ground, how can they be so hypocritical as to take advantage of it and raise their stand one up and aim for higher than what even morality would agree with? Are they trying to turn the tables completely? Is it revenge? Or is it a way to strike a balance: the oppressed becoming the oppressor (and vice versa) for a certain period of time until the former oppressor gets what he deserves? Disproportional attacks will not stop this war.
Once again, we have proven that co-existence is but an idealistic concept. The psychological setbacks are too predictable, yet the world seems oblivious to them and how to tackle situations without being unreasonable.

Coming back to breaking stereotypes and what society has made us, I would feel purposeful if I managed to make people understand that whatever we think that we are ‘supposed’ to do, we really don’t. We feel morally inclined to do it because society has evolved in such a way that we were never given a choice to follow or not to follow. Being children, society’s views have been etched into our psyche, giving leeway only when we attain maturity. Question them, ponder over the reason that they are there in the first place, debate on whether you would be losing your genetic personality by adhering to it. Nothing ‘must happen’. Be yourself, don’t hesitate to disagree. Break the stereotypes that have been created, think outside the box, and be an individual.

Question everything. Apply logic. Infer.

P.S: There are exceptions to everything, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.