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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stereotypes and miscommunication.

Journals from Briana Booker, founder of Fromgirltogirl.
By Briana Booker

 I really enjoyed our class visit with Luby Ismail. She is so aspiring on so many levels for me! Not only do I applaud her exploration of the world, but I admire her being a mom, a wife, and a business woman all in one. She appears to be a person that puts out her best to serve not only herself, but the environment that surrounds her. I consider this a worldly citizen and I hope to be one someday. I know I have a long way to go and it is easier to say than to do.                          
     As Ismail was discussing with us what it is to be an Arab-American, I realized how small differences make us violent against one another mentally, emotionally, and physically. Why should a man be killed because he looks a certain way? Why should a woman be afraid to be different?                                                                                                                                                          

    Sometimes, I feel society makes its own misery. We limit our own selves by how we perceive our world. What perplexes me is how did we get to this state if we are the ones creating our own world?

    I recall as a child not being afraid to get on a roller coaster, not having a fear in the world about dying.  I did not have a care in the world, where my next meal would be coming from. I was open to learning about other people and cultures. I was welcoming to making new friends. My childhood was not about surviving but enjoying life. I often miss those days when, as Ismail stated, my mind as the hardware and culture as my software was flexible in nature. Now, I feel my hardware has been set with multiple viruses. I fear. I worry. I live life to simply survive. Sometimes I ask myself where the joy went. And now I feel it difficult to not stereotype people, especially when it comes to men.                                                                                                            
    Once I see a pattern in an action, I am quick to label something as a generalization for the masses. I am realizing I do this not because it is true but based on those are the only experiences I have held with those traits and those groupings. And rarely are they good experiences, so I label them as negatives and avoid those experiences and those identified with those negative experiences.                                                                                                                                       

    When Ismail changed from bright clothing to putting on a black scarf, I was not really surprised, but I did react differently. It seemed as if the mood of the room had changed although she was the same person as she was three minutes ago. It was just the fact that the attire and color was not as welcoming as the bright colors had been. And there is a good chance most of us would never have believed her accomplishments if she had introduced herself wearing the black scarf.                                                                                                                                                   

    But it is difficulty not to judge a book by its contents. When you are not only unfamiliar with the author abut you are unfamiliar with the traditions and cultures, the ideas the book contains and brings forth, it is hard to understand why a book is the way it is. Why does a book surface look this way? Why are we afraid of the contents? Why can not we read the book and accept it for what it is? Why can we not stop comparing people against each other? Why can not we love? Are we not wired to love? Are we only wired to hate what is different from us? Why? It is all I could think about later that night when I went to bed…why can not we really love each other? Why are we selfish? Why can not we just do well upon one another without obtaining anything to gain? Whether acceptance or material goods, we all want something, right? When we do not obtain what we desire…that is when stereotypes happen. We want what we can not have in ourselves. We want to be better than what is different from us. I just don’t get it. Does it have to be this way?

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