Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stereotypes: Creating, Sustaining, Debunking

Driving back from taking daughter to work gives me time to think, to plan and to consider.

Today's thoughts, inspired by a comment in a conversation with my daughter, is about how we develop stereotypes, nurture them and even develop them and what can and should be done to reduce and eventually eliminate their negative effects on ourselves and those around us.

Using time like this for positive mental exercise, while remembering driving is also a mental exercise, I often get inspiration for these blog entries.

While not still immediately immersed daily in the challenges of Lewy Body Dementia, the effects of 24/7 care giving for Mom and/ or my husband, I carry with me concerns for those who do and those who are.

It's not a life experience easily walked away from; as with many others, it has affects and effects.

It's in the giving, we receive. It's in the sharing we become.

Stereotypes.  Ageism is at the top of my list. Followed by physical and mental "limitations" and then by those that have been or are in the process of being "debunked", like sexism.

A Stereotype is more than accepting there may be some limitations within a category, it's an overall, general and broadly applied total or massive negativism about someone or something.

Ageism is a stereotype focused at more than just growing older. We've "embraced" varying levels of Ageism from birth through death for generations.

Pick up old books, philosophies of "raising" children, for example. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Children should be seen and not heard. Children don't need education as young as the age of 5 -- or earlier-- were the vocal outcries of those against the founding of Kindergartens and Early Childhood Education.

Compare and contrast that to a presentation I attended a couple of weeks ago from a man who was "dedicated" to a specific Not For Profit seeking funds for providing early education to all levels of society. 

This speaker's choice was to present (undocumented and unsubstantiated, I might add) figures and statements about how learning that's not obtained in the very early years can never be reclaimed. 

Too broad for me. I saw a "stereotype" in the making.

Far too much known about those who have overcome, those who have shown great promise at later ages/stages of life for me to support his viewpoint. But it was to "serve a purpose". 

We must be careful in our efforts to resolve the challenges of society we do not enable another stereotype to be created.

Stereotypes become a part of our culture and often create more problems needing resolution.


One voice and then many. Reading. Sharing. Joining together. Expanding the reach and the effect.

Blogging. Net Resources. Accurate presentation and open availability of information. 

Effective communication rising above the roar of the fears and the prejudices. A concentrated effort to bring to light and out of darkness where people, ideas and possibilities fade and pass away.

Ageism isn't about growing older, it's about how we choose to perceive individuals -- each person who we have the privilege of encountering, working beside, meeting and sharing the small amount of time we receive wherein we create our lifetime.

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