Have you ever noticed how often we hear the word THEY and just accept it without question? I know that I do and often it is quite harmless. I need a word to express my individuality as compared to others (THEY). Fair enough?
I think it can be unhelpful and dangerous, to ourselves and others, when we over generalise or stereotype. Some simple examples include:
- conservatives don’t care about the unemployed
- unions are slowing down production and ruining our reputation overseas
- what do THEY want – referring to a racial or geographic group of people
- what DO they WANT – referring to young people or aged people
- the farmers or land holders are greedy
- the big department stores are ripping us off
- closer to home, “the people at work” are all lazy, biased, uneducated, slack, work too hard etc.
- my family are loving, caring, demanding, not close, nuts etc. (not necessarily referring to MY family 🙂
- what about football teams eg. xxxx are all dirty players
- different nationalities and spiritual beliefs – Australians, Americans, Africans, Spanish, Syrians, Scottish people….. they are….or they believe…
I am sure you have heard these expressions before.
Something more subtle is when we continually THINK in this mode – making ourselves something apart from the world. It can become “me against the world” . That sort of thinking can isolate us from others. I can take one instance (from the dot points above) and apply it generally without giving it much thought.
We are all individuals and it is not fair to take any one group of people and label them as THEY. Then again, maybe it is ok when we talk about football :-).