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Stereotyping – Blog No. 37

stereotype

It is important not to stereotype people, a people.  Stereotyping and assumption are not that far removed from one another.  For instance, you cannot assume that because a man comes from a line of ancestors that believed in the practice of eating humans, he is a ‘savage’ at heart.  You cannot assume any of his ancestors were savages at heart, either.  It is the same to me as calling these communities ‘primitive’ simply because they choose – or chose – to live at one with Nature, pitted against her elements – rather than adapting to the alternative, Christianity, and drowning in the shame that colonisers brought to their shores.  For cannibals, the practice of eating another human being was a very serious business, it was not a wild urge that needed ‘taming’ by the whites.

Stereotyping tends to result in the objectifying of people, a people.  It gives them a label before they have had a chance to show who they are.  If labelled wrongly, a person may become disinclined to show anybody anything.  It does not take long to realise that it is a serious waste of energy trying to convince a prejudiced mind that it is mistaken.  When that prejudiced mindset is eventually exposed – because it will be – there will be no one around who will be bothered to tell that mind the real truth.

Stereotyping is a cop out.  Rather take the time to find out who a person is, and what has shaped them the way they have become.  Judgements are split-second, that is true for most people and it is not easy to refrain from deciding at a glance what a person is about.  You cannot know what a person is about unless you understand what made them the way they are.  The only way to know that, is to ask.  If you do not get an answer, it is likely that you will not understand.

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Small talk – Blog No. 18

If you should hate small talk as much as I happen to hate it, these questions may make a difference to your experience on a crowded aeroplane, a busy bus.  At a stilted family meal.  The questions make for excellent small talk with people who have no clue how to speak from the heart – or they produce an interesting silence.  I wonder which is more interesting some days.  If you must talk to strangers and you are not inclined one bit towards feeding them with the kind of small talk they require, ignore them or ask a few of these provocative questions.  They are funny.  The people.  When you ask them.

Small_talk_by_relep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questionnaire from Max Frisch
(From his Sketchbook, 1961-1971)

1. Are you really interested in the preservation of the human race once you and all the people you know are no longer alive?
2. State briefly why.
3. How many of your children do not owe their existence to deliberate intention?
4. Whom would you rather never have met?
5. Are you conscious of being in the wrong in relation to some other person (who need not necessarily be aware of it)? If so, does this make you hate yourself — or the other person?
6. Would you like to have perfect memory?
7. Give the name of a politician whose death through illness, accident, etc. would fill you with hope. Or do you consider none of them indispensible?
8. Which person or persons, now dead, would you like to see again?
9. Which not?
10. Would you rather have belonged to a different nation (or civilization)? If so, which?
11. To what age do you wish to live?
12. If you had the power to put into effect things you consider right, would you do so against the wishes of the majority? (Yes or no)
13. Why not, if you think they are right?
14. Which do you find it easier to hate, a group or an individual? And do you prefer to hate individually or as part of a group?
15. When did you stop believing you could become wiser–or do you still believe it? Give your age.
16. Are you convinced by your own self-criticism?
17. What in your opinion do others dislike about you, and what do you dislike about yourself? If not the same thing, which do you find it easier to excuse?
18. Do you find the thought that you might never have been born (if it ever occurs to you) disturbing?
19. When you think of someone dead, would you like him to speak to you, or would you rather say something more to him?
20. Do you love anybody?
21. How do you know?
22. Let us assume that you have never killed another human being. How do you account for it?
23. What do you need in order to be happy?
24. What are you grateful for?
25. Which would you rather do: die or live on as a healthy animal? Which animal?

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