Putting People into Boxes

A homeless man in New York with the American f...
Image via Wikipedia

It is frustrating when other people expect one to act a certain way based on things such as clothes, job position, education, family background or religion.  These things do do not determine a person’s
actions or provide a necessary clue to them.  People can purchase and achieve despite their morals or personality.  Families should be an easy
one to disregard.  You are born into a family against your will.  From puberty, you make choices based on your individuality.
What other family members do has nothing to do with you, and is not a
reflection of you.  Although religion is usually passed on in families, most religions have a period of trial where the individual makes his or her own choice as to whether that religion is right for him or her.  After that, it becomes their religion.  But they do not choose all the
other people in their religion or all the other deeds that people of their
religion have done.  One should not assume that just because one or even most people of a certain religion do things, every person of that particular religion, denomination or belief will do the same thing.  Categorizing and classifying is a survival instinct that is good to use in certain circumstances, such as when one senses physical danger (there must be more evidence than the color of a person’s skin or the language that they speak, for instance), one is shopping in a market, or doing daily tasks that are required by one’s employment.  But we tend to
error in a big way when we us these calculations in a social situation.  We exclude and judge people based on the littlest things and we put up walls or make expectations towards others because of the same things.  It is more peaceful, loving and just to accept people as they are and not expect them to perform in any way based on any personal characteristics or interests.  It is better not to put them in a box.

Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger

5 thoughts on “Putting People into Boxes”

  1. Good thoughts. Society has so many stereotypes/categories/classes for people that it is hard to avoid them. It is fun to surprise people when they have put one in a box. It is interesting too how cultures, religions, classes have their own jokes about themselves, jokes often about the stereotype for that culture, class, whatever. I think humor helps people deal with the boxes. When I was younger I had very blond hair and, well, did act rather ditzy at times so I endured listening to many blond jokes from my brothers. At first I was hurt by them, but then I was able to see the humor in it, especially in light of the fact that we all seem to have our “blond” moments from time to time. Soon I was in on telling the jokes too. I like your ending thought that it is better to not put people in boxes. It is something we should all strive for. 🙂

    1. sorry to hear of your box experience. I, too,was teased as a child. I was very emotional and sensitive, so i got upset, cried, cursed, called names, and got into brutal fights. Usually it was in response to what i perceived as an injustice. But i was always alone. No one ever took my side, at least until the shouting was over. One time i was playing baseball against a much bigger team. They were cheating and i started to protest. Eventually I demanded satisfaction from one boy who was much bigger than me. I screamed insults in his face until he decided to teach me a lesson. He beat me bloody and i was still yelling. He walked away and I finally realized I wasn’t going to win, so I went home. A few years later that same boy gave me a ride to scool in his car for a year. I guess some of us create our own boxes, then decide to come out. Needless to say I’ve learned to control my mouth a little better, but the sensitivity remains.

  2. As you touch on there, categorizing is useful … and I would expound on past ‘survival instinct’ to simple identification process. The problem is that humans by nature are judgmental, so useful categorizing is easily abused — as are most things meant for good, easily corruptible.

    1. I agree. Thanks for your points on “identification”, “judgemental” and abuse and corruption of things meant for good. You make very good points. It’s a complex issue that I know I just touched the tip of the iceberg here. One could probably write a book on it. Hmmmm…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: