an image of an eye glowing green...

0wn yourself


what do you do when . . . . find yourself agreeing with a category who hold values that repulse you?

racism is terrible. it's a horrible concept which should never have been accepted, yet by many it is (whether they admit it (even to themselves) or not). judging people on stereotypes is just as flawed an idea, but ignoring stereotypes is not the answer either.

stereotypes bear a lot of similarity to demographics. one's a word used to describe a science trying to make assumptions about people based on their measurable or observable characteristics (or the various 'groups' to which they belong). the other's a word used to describe a person trying to make assumptions about people based on their measurable or observable characteristics (or the various 'groups' to which they belong).

for better or worse, demographic analysis/stereotyping does work at least in a limited and incomplete fashion. does it work all the time (or with everyone)? no. no way. does this make it right? depends on what you're using it for. should you make decisions based these practices? nope.

when you're making a decision, you want to make the best decision possible, right? that's what demographics are all about, too, right? efficiency. used in marketing, you want to get the biggest return on your investment--get the right message to the largest body of people who will be the most sensitive to your message.

similarly, in day to day life decisions you want to make the best decision you can--and that means taking into consideration all of the information you can acquire about the situation, weight that against the sum of your knowledge about how the universe functions, and then pick the most advantageous choice.

the trouble comes in from two vectors--people making uninformed choices (or choices based on the wrong set of statistics) - and - the behavioral influences of 'being in' a particular 'group' or demographic.

i'll address the the first one first. when you go back to my previous example, and start running certain statistical assumptions through that filter, you can see them ground to logical fallacies (or poorly made decisions based on incomplete or improperly weighted criteria). racism unfortunately jumps back to mind.

making a decision about somebody solely on the colour of their skin or the layout of their dna is a prime example of a stupid decision. there are too many other factors, too much variance within that type of a grouping of a given population to make any kind of good choices. simply put, that's just not nearly enough information to judge a person on.

the other kind of trouble i see is the alteration of behavior based on influence of a group. in other words, changing your behavior (whether restricting actions or causing expansion of actions) in order to 'fit in' to a certain group (or tragically because somebody else placed you in a group and now you feel that's what's expected of you).

and actually, these practices aren't necessarily bad either. if you choose to make certain alterations to your conduct in order to align yourself with a group or idea you believe in and agree with can be both healthy and admirable. but when the group or idea you're trying to emulate is not a good one, you can damage yourself and those around you.

i guess the trick is to know as much as you can, sort it out as logically and level-headed as you know how, and then pick the best choice. easy enough, right?

i know.

but all we can do is keep trying. when we change, let's change for the better, okay? this post is for those who are trying. trying to be better. trying to make the world a little better.

the group that i associate myself with is the group of the like mind--those who are trying.


0wn yourself

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