Nobody knows bad things about you until you teach it to them.
I know this because of how I have learned stereotypes over the years.
I once didn’t know the stereotypes about a certain race and their affinity for programming.
Or the stereotypes about another race and their affinity to end up in jail.
I didn’t know that a certain gender was not supposed to be bossy.
Or that there were rules about matching certain colors of skin to certain brands of makeup.
Because of this naivete, I embraced every type of person with open arms. I laughed, joked, and traveled, completely and entirely amazed by all the different types of people that exist.
But, eventually, I learned.
I learned the stereotypes.
And that’s where it gets interesting.
With race and gender, in particular, I didn’t learn the stereotypes from the alleged “oppressors”.
I learned them from the people who felt “oppressed”, for lack of a better word.
It seemed that, by complaining about oppression, the “oppressed” were inadvertently providing instruction on how they could be further stereotyped and oppressed.
Quite counterproductive, in my opinion.
So am I implying that people should be quiet in the face of injustice?
No, not at all.
What I am implying, however, is that maybe it’s time for people who feel oppressed to try something different.
How about less talk about the incarnations of oppression and more dialog about the desired direction?
How about fewer complaints about problems and more declarations of possibility?
Speaking up and complaining about injustice certainly has its place.
But once the complaint has been heard, maybe it’s time to drop the mic and let life be good.