Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Break that Stereotype

Why are we so driven by Visual Representations and Visual depictions?

What makes us so ignorant to the possibility of someone being inconvenienced physically until we see a crutch in their hand or a wheelchair helping them move? What makes us so blind to the possibility that every face has a story, a wound, and scars? What makes us so harsh in our conduct that we cannot understand that the next person has his own share of sorrow behind him? Why do we judge so quickly, really?

A chance discussion with a close friend taught me how people are so blind to the fact that a person need not wield a pair of crutches or a wheelchair to be suffering from a condition that makes leading life normally a difficult task. A person with rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t have crutches – doing the most ordinary things is a challenge of sorts for them. A person suffering from diabetes has a hard time juggling the balls of an ordinary life – but few realize that. Be it in understanding a person’s illnesses or the fact that each person is a creation of his circumstances, all of us are so guilty of just judging a person. Sometimes colour is a basis, sometimes it is race. Sometimes it is just some sense of intangible hatred and aversion, stemming from preconceived notions that need not necessarily be true at all, and maybe bereft of any semblance whatsoever to the truth that might really be the case.

Oh that one? He’s weird.
She? You want to call HER to your party? Naah. You sure you don’t want to ruin your time with her? She’s so awkward...
Um no. Not him. He’s ___ <insert religion/colour/caste... whatever inappropriate ascription you can think of>

Sounds familiar? I’m so sure each of us is equally guilty of stereotyping, of judging, of presupposing and even predisposing. I know I am, and I have my fair share of wrongful assumptions, judgments and conclusions passed on other people without so much as proffering them a chance to show me otherwise.
If only the world’s people could see one another through the eyes of a child. It’s hard, especially after being conditioned to think within barriers, after being taught to keep within a box, the confined rubric of parochialism. The return to innocence is hard, if not necessarily impossible. I’d love to try...

I’m not trying to preach out here – I have no right to stand on any moral pedestal whatsoever. All I’m trying to get at is to convey the very thought that this video conveyed to me.