"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I am not Us. or Them.

You know what is REALLY bothering me this week?

Us and Them language. In which "We" are right and good, and "They" are wrong and evil.

All of Us.

ALL of Them.

A large, faceless, homogenous Us.

Standing in angry opposition to
a large, faceless, homogenous Them.

From all sides.

On all issues.

Truly, it makes me want to weep.

Though I've likely been guilty of it myself.

Listen -

I am a Gen-X-er (I think). Lots of Gen-X characteristics apply to me. Lots don't.

I never thought of myself as a feminist. But by lots of definitions, I absolutely am. By lots of other definitions - I absolutely am not.

I'm a Christian. And I'm fully aware that by saying that, all kinds of baggage and labels and descriptors and assumptions get applied to me. Many, if not most, are simply not accurate. They're definitely not as simplistic as they might seem.

I'm white ... Canadian ... a wife ... a north-ender ... a goody-two-shoes AND a rebel ... a student ... a gardener ... a (sometimes) runner ... a meat-eater ... a Dr. Who watcher ... a driver ... a walker. I'm pretty sure I've voted for all of the various political parties at one point or another.

But the thing is -

I am not exclusively, completely, only, any one of these labels.

I am not any large, faceless, homogenous Us.

And neither are You.

And neither are They.

They are made up of Ones.
Who are also all kinds of Other Things too.
Some of Their Other Things might be the same as some of Our Other Things.
Or Your Other Things.

In a book I'm working through, I see this quote. I'm going to leave out the identifiers, because I think you could likely plug just about any label in there.

"If you want to connect with a _____ person, you have to look at him or her as an individual. The preconceptions you may have about ______ need to be discarded from the beginning if you want to have a genuine relationship with a ______ person. There can be no more generalizations and blanket distinctions.... We need to go beyond "understanding" and "dialogue" and get down to a personal heart-to-heart level."

*stops writing*

*sadly walks away*


old_black said...

I agree completely. I hate being categorized myself and I really try to avoid doing that to others. I'd rather deny that I was a member of a category than risk being lumped with every other person who declares themselves as one or is labeled as one by others.It is de-humanising, and indeed I think that's the basis of most wars - one group wants to kill the members of another group. It's ridiculous, sad, and inhuman.

Patti said...

old_black - "I think that's the basis of most wars" - I think you might be right. :(

Linda Lou said...

I feel like I'm always caught between. I grew up in a family that was known as "that drinking" family. I chose not to drink. I grew up in a house of "Luthern and Anglican". I am Pentecostal. I was a twin. Fraternal. I looked nothing like my Sister. She had blue eyes I have brown eyes.She had straight hair I have curly hair. Yet I am still "one of Clifton's and Beth's twins". I am so much more than all of that. I am now a Hamiltonian. Was a Terracite. But I look at me and I am still ME!I wish I knew all of the facts around the refugees but that doesn't change the fact as the person I am I will help where I can. I will be judged by the extra weight I carry as someone that doesn't care what I look like and if I am out eating a hamburger don't I know that that is probably why I am fat. Except that you don't know that I have a hamburger maybe once or twice a month and it's the medication that put the weight on. I am ME!