Inequality, we make it happen
Inequality, where does it come from? How can we bring about fairness and understanding to each other in our life?
This is a question that has been in my mind for a while, I went deep diving back into my books on human behaviour and how our brains work (I love these topics) with the thought of how we categorise and view the world around us has some significant bearing on how we treat each other. Bear with me on this one it just may blow your mind (or not).
From birth we are are begin to categorise our environment around us; male / female, food / not food, solids / liquids, what can hurt us / what can not hurt us. This is how we begin to start making sense of the world and how we should interact with each of these objects / people.
As we age we gain more experience in the world around us, our categories increase and we build more understanding on how to interact with these various groups. However how we interact with these categories is built upon how we been shown / taught to view them by society, our community, our culture, our religion and the people that have nurtured.
When we meet a person and how we interact with them be it from the same or different genders, religions and cultures are we bringing the categorisations into play. With each categorisation in the social arena we add on top of it stereotypes and how this person should act or be like based on which categories they belong to.
Generally speaking this enables us as humans to deal with our social environment easily and we somewhat know consciously or unconsciously how to interact with them. The risk is when we do this we end up interacting with the person people as a whole group or class but not on an individual level, and this is where the inequality issues arise.
Nature in itself doesn’t give us the categories it is us trying to make sense of the world and when it comes to humans and how we categorise each other and add in the stereotypes on top of it.
What also can happen with each of us individually is if a subset of a people in a category create a bad image it reflects on the rest of the people in that category and everyone gets stereotyped for exhibiting that behaviour.
For example people in religion x are usually very calm and happy people however there is a group of them who are extremists and go crazy. They are seen more and then it seems that like everyone from religion x is like this. As we add this behaviour to our stereotype of this category. You can see this happening now with the view on people who practice Islam, or with the Black Americans who are seen to be all violent and crazy, (there are a lot of examples of this in the world).
So what can we do about it? Easy,
- Be aware that this is happening to you when you look at people, individuals, groups of people and see them for an individual.
- Don't generalise and if you do then do it knowingly and understand that not everyone is like that.
This is one thing we can all do and when we realise that we are doing this it gives us a chance to do something, we can make sure our unintended or implicit biases take over our behaviour.
When we can start seeing everyone as an individual we can reduce inequality and make the world a better place, easily.