We use some words and phrases so commonly that we don’t even seem to realize the wedges they drive between us every time.
I hear on the radio or read online every day about “the Black vote”, “the Hispanic vote” or, maybe, “the female vote” and variations on the theme. These phrases baffle me.
I can’t see portions of my fellow Americans as anything but that. Were I running for office (you should all fear that eventuality), all I would be running for would be the American vote. Is there really anything else?
You can’t please everyone. That will never happen. Don’t even bother. I don’t bother to hide the negative comments on this site, because what’s the point? They exist. Always will. So say what you really feel and stand for. In so doing, if you get votes, great. But don’t tailor what you’re saying, hoping to garner a mythical “Black” vote. Do you really think all “Black” people vote the same? All Hispanics? All women? Of course not. That is moronic to even suggest. So why do we use it as such a commonplace concept?
And back to the original point. Every time we do this we are creating divisions where they do not exist. A person with darker or lighter skin than mine is no different from me. Someone with red hair is no different from me. There was a South Park episode about redheads having no souls. That is just as ridiculous as thinking that people with brown skin are somehow different. They may have been raised in a different town, state, community, culture, etc., but they still have the same basic needs. We can go as simple as food, shelter and companionship. Or we can go with Maslow’s Hierarchy, if you want. It breaks down to the same thing. We are all the same.
So why do we use these wedges so regularly and so effortlessly? We, without thought or exertion, drive these wedges into imaginary gaps every single day. Why?
Is it easier to think of people in smaller groups? Personally I don’t see how numbers like 50 million Hispanics or 150 million women are any easier to grasp than 300 million Americans. This is foolish, if true.
Is it a form of control? Get people to think of themselves as different, and you can then pander to them? To their fears and wants? To their feeling of “otherness”? This is insidious, if true.
Is it a reflection of our own, inherent fears? We fear what we have been taught (correctly or incorrectly) is different and want to wall it off from ourselves? This is ignorant, if true.
Is it laziness? We’ve been stuck in a divisive, hurtful, outdated mode of thought for so long and it would be difficult to change, so we don’t? Because it’s too hard? This is pathetic, if true.
Why am I asking? Why do I want to know? Because I can’t think like this, and I want to understand it. I can’t think of the “Black” vote. The “Women’s Agenda”. My brain simply doesn’t work that way. And I need to understand it, if I am to interact with it.
Because I have to live in this world too. Even if sometimes it makes no sense at all.