You know, I just re-read the first paragraph of the Who I Am post, and thought I needed to comment on it. To refresh our memories, mine in particular, here is the paragraph in question:
In today’s America, ask a growing number of high school and college students; their teachers and professors; the self-anointed media elite and/or hard working men and women of all ethnicities, the question, “What is a Republican?”, and you’ll be told “… a rich, greedy, egotistical individual, motivated only by money and the desire to accumulate more and more of it, at the expense of the environment … the working poor ….and all whom they exploit…”
Seems to me that the people who believe this definition of a Republican is doing something they profess to abhor: profiling. Taking certain characteristics and assigning them to a particular group of people.
Well, we are all guilty of profiling, me included. Because I work in a jail, I tend to think of anyone who has been incarcerated as some kind of lowlife. That's not true and I was reminded of that fact when I met a gentleman a couple of weeks ago, who during the course of our conversation inquired as to where I worked. When I told him "at the jail" he asked when. What he wanted to know was whether I worked there when he was hauled in for a DUI. It was his first and last, and a wake up call that drinking and driving do not go together. So, the upshot of this lesson to me was just because someone was arrested doesn't mean they are a bad person. Find out who and what this person is, in the appropriate context and then make your decisions based on all the facts.
Profiling is when we take the facts we know, or think we know, and apply them to everybody in that group of people. And have you noticed that when we profile, we usually do so in a negative manner? For instance: hmmm...he's olive-skinned with dark hair and eyes. We must keep an eye on him, he might be a terrorist! Or, she's wearing tight-fitting jeans, a crop top, too much makeup and is holding a baby. Trailer trash! Both conclusions may be correct or both wrong, we don't know on just these few facts. But that's not going to stop us from making certain assumptions. Do we leave it at that, or do we try to learn more about the person? A lot of the time, we don't have the opportunity to learn more. What we should do is give people a chance. We all learned biases and prejudices as we were growing up and through life experiences. It's what we do with those assumptions that make the difference.
In my personal opinion, the description given above of a Republican could just as easily fit a Democrat. But then I'm an Libertarian leaning Independent. I don't trust politicians at all anymore.