The Gustavian Weekly

Generalizing is something everybody does | The Gustavian Weekly

By Cameron MacDonald - Entertainment Editor | December 9, 2016 | Opinion

One of the biggest issues that plagues our communication these days is generalization.

When an issue is discussed, people are far too quick to apply a statement to an entire demographic of people just because a small portion of people who happen to be part of that demographic did something bad.

This form of thinking and speaking is not only dangerously narrow-minded, but is also dangerously divisive.

No part of the political spectrum is innocent of this.

Most of us have probably been guilty of this at one time or another as well.

However, I don’t think we often think about what kinds of problems these thoughts can cause.

It can cause collateral issues on the way to “solving” other issues.

One common generalization is that people who are Muslim are terrorists.

This is an entirely unfair assertion since, as stated before, you are taking a portion of a group and using them to represent the entire populace.

That’s like saying there’s one crime-ridden city in France, therefore all of France must be overrun with crime.

The logic doesn’t follow.

However, let’s take this and apply it to another assertion that is also often made in recent days.

“White people are racist.”

Now let’s think about this rationally.

Let’s narrow it down to the United States of America, as this is the main theatre of discussion for many of us.

So this assertion comes from the idea that there is (factually) a rooted prejudicial thought process about race that permeates our culture in the US.

If anything, we at least focus on race quite a bit.

Also, white people have not had the greatest track record when it comes to meeting other races (read: genocide, slavery, general rude behavior).

However, the assertion “white people are racist” is a dangerous one, as it does not specify anything but their race.

Not only is this ironic in and of itself, as you are grouping people together by their race, but it is simply unfair.

The counter-argument is often that a lot of white people are subconsciously racist or continue to perpetuate these ideas.

Now, even assuming this is true, people also seem to assume that all of these “subconsciously racist” people are educated enough on race issues to even know what they are doing.

Many people will say, “well, the internet is easily accessible”, but it’s easy to overestimate how much people use the internet, or even how much they will actually read or encounter these sorts of things on the internet.

Without proper education, people will not be aware of these issues.

If they become educated about it and then continue to be racist, then they are an informed racist and that is when it becomes an issue of character.

Much of modern racism is taught or learned as one grows, so they have never known any better, unfortunately.

This does not excuse their actions or should allow them a pass by any means, but it should better inform us on how to prevent the behavior from continuing.

Dismissing them, their intellect, or just generally trying to make them feel bad when they are uneducated on the issue will not help, and will more than likely cause more issues in the long run, e.g. President Trump.

Finally, the idea that a group of people should have to answer for the crimes of their forefathers is entirely unfair.

You are indicting a group of people for the crimes of someone else.

I do agree that the group of people should be willing to help fix the problems that have resulted from those crimes, but blaming them for the crimes or trying to make them feel guilty is unfair and misdirected.

There are people from many races who have committed many atrocities.

We cannot hold an entire demographic responsible for the actions of the few.

If you disagree with what I say in this article, great!

I’m always more than willing to discuss thoughts with people.

Open discussion is something that’s gone missing as of recent, and it’d be great for it to come back to the mainstream.