On Always and Never

At what point are we going to understand that generalizing and vilifying people is bigotry? And bigotry is ugly. It’s always ugly. Guess what. It’s even bigotry when we do it to Old White Guys. It’s bigotry when we generalize and vilify people who:

are gay
are black
are female
are young
are intellectually delayed or impaired
are elderly or are aging
are intellectually advanced
are very thin
are fat
have dwarfism
cut themselves
have mental illness or illnesses
have physical impairments
have physical illnesses
are impoverished
are very tall
are college graduates
are transgendered
are wealthy
are quiet
are religious
are mouthy
have tattoos
drive their kids to soccer
volunteer at schools
have dropped out of school
are unable to volunteer
are always open to new ideas
are frightened of new ideas
are wary of too much change too quickly
want everything to change now
are atheist
exude joy
exude malaise
are divorced
lead easily
follow easily
are charismatic
have been married for 48 years
hang back
are athletic
are not terribly coordinated

the list goes on.

Exactly none of the people who fit into any of these groups is “just like everyone in that group.” Every human being is an actual individual person.

I personally belong to several of these groups, and yet I manage to be a unique person.

Not all people who drive their kids to soccer are all of the things we ascribe to that group. They just drive their kids to soccer. Not all people who volunteer at schools are all of the things we ascribe to that group. They just volunteer at schools. Not all people who are female are mothers. Not all leaders love public speaking. Not all tall people are basketball players. Not all people who have dropped out of high school are unable to have highly intellectual pursuits.

There are hardly any “always” or “never” in life.

The following is my vote for “always” and “never.”

It’s always bigotry to generalize and vilify. May we endeavor to never do it.


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