Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One of these things is not like the other

I overheard a bit of conversation this morning that got my eyebrows all furrowed and my head shaking.

Woman 1 to woman 2: Was he a foreigner?

Woman 2: Yes

Woman 1: Well, that's how they are, you know, all foreigners are rude to women.

All foreigners? I don't think so. The statement was so ignorant, and such a wide-sweeping generalization that I felt like giving her a lecture right then and there, but I also felt like ducking as I passed them in case someone else had overheard and was aiming big rocks to throw at them. Instead of either, I just walked past them with the scowl on my face but also giving acknowledgement to the inner voice that said maybe all foreigners she has crossed paths with have been rude to her. Unlikely, but I do not know so I certainly can't say.

If you've read the previous post, then you know that I too have been guilty of my own generalizations as of late. It's been on my mind this week, so maybe I drew myself to that first-hand experience, not sure.

What I am sure of though is that I do tend to think that people in certain groups share at least a few sets of characteristics befitting that group. For instance, people who donate to the SPCA are people, I assume, who care for animals. Likewise if you go on the MS bike ride, I assume you are concerned about wiping out the disease.

But these wristbands, these yellow Livestrong wristbands are baffling to me because I cannot categorize the masses wearing them. I cannot find common denominators of connection. For instance, in the past week in the Houston Chronicle, I have read two very different stories that were accompanied with photos in which the subject was wearing the yellow bracelet. Besides the yellow on their wrists, what does the woman who shot the life out of a guard in Tennessee so that she could free her convict husband have in common with the Jewish man being forcibly removed from his home in Israel? I cannot fathom.

These two people who lead such vastly different lives across the world from each other, have they both been touched by cancer? While they go about their regular lives, one fighting to keep a homeland, and one plotting a murder to free a criminal, have they otherwise joined an effort to raise money with with cancer research? I would think that one wouldn't have the time and the other wouldn't have the care. And yet the wristbands were worn, so I guess that would be me making assumptions again.

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