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    Can you name your categories?

    created by Minerva'sBrain 3325 days 11 hours 19 minutes ago

    Category: World

    Can you name your categories?

    When you look at people, what do you see? I mean, do you see as many different "types" or categories of people are there are people? Do you think everyone is so unique that they do not have enough in common with others to make "categories" at all?

    Or, do you see, maybe ... men and women and "that's how they are" ... or introverted / extroverted? Do you see smart and sorta dumb? Good and evil? Personality types maybe? Or some other way that you think of people?

    A young adult recently told me that he is starting to see so many similarities between people that he's suspecting there are only about ten types of people, and he's met them all already.

    What do you see? Can you name your categories?

    Re: Can you name your categories?

    I don't think that people can just be lumped into certain stereotypes. But I definitely see qualities and certain sides of them. There are the obvious things like gender and race. But I don't think of somebody as "the African American person", it's "my classmate so and so..."

    I don't see people for their religion. I don't think about "my Catholic best friend", I think of my best friend who is Catholic.

    I happen to have some lesbian best friends and I never think of them as "lesbian." I think of them as my best friend. Their orientation is probably one of the last things that I think about.

    I don't really see rich and poor. It's not very easy to tell those sort of things just by looking at somebody and honestly, it doesn't say much about people. Especially in my age group where somebody is less fortunate because of their parents. People in my age group are not usually the bread winners.

    People are made up of more than one characteristic. When I talk about one of my newest friends she is not "that Swiss girl" she is "the exchange student from Switzerland."

    I definitely see mature and immature. And the latter all too often.

    Smart and kinda dumb aren't very accurate because some people don't apply themselves, or their learning style doesn't coincide with the way the teacher is teaching etc. You can't tell by test scores because some people don't test well and so on. Also, a lot of class clowns, to my surprise, are very smart.

    We have a lot of similarities with people that we never thought we could relate to. At the same time, we still have qualities that make us unique. We have certain things that we are skilled at. We have life experiences that set us apart from others.

    Re: Can you name your categories?

    Thanks for the reply, Luring one ...

    It's interesting that you see similarities between people, but you really don't like the idea of calling it "categories." That's something I hear quite a bit.

    What about characteristics? Is that an easier work to agree to use? I'm talking about things like ... um ...

    introverted/extroverted
    loud/quiet
    sensitive/thick-skinned
    energetic/passive
    focused/distracted

    Do people you observe fall into that sort of sorting process?

    I'm not saying that any of these are determinative. My personal opinion is that humans are nearly infinitely adaptive and can (sometimes only with a lot of work) rewire themselves to be far different from previous selves. But still - psychologists, philosophers, and scientists of all kinds look at the characteristics of people. So I'm curious. Do CNetters know the categories they see? Do they see any? (I really wonder if it's an age and life experience thing)

    Re: Can you name your categories?

    Discrimination exists because people feel the need to categorize and organize what they see and compare it to themselves. Studies show that people feel closer to people more "similar" to them. This is why the first things you talk about when you meet someone are things like, "where are you from?" "What kind of music do you like?" etc.
    I personally don't like to categorize people....or I suppose I try not to, when in actuality, I know that my brain does this for me as soon as I meet someone knew or observe new people in a new place.
    Something that makes it difficult to NOT categorize people, is that most people try to fit into a category. People want to dress a certain way to impress others, they want the best education a certain school, they want to enter into a specific profession, they want hair of a certain color, etc.
    Categorization cannot be easily escaped, because psychologically it works with how we socialize and organize information as human beings.
    I'm not saying it's a lost cause though, to fight against categorization or discrimination- especially when discrimination creates gaps between groups of people and causes hate or violence. Instead, we should accept one another for who we are as much as possible, as well as try to realize when we're simply following the crowd rather that doing what we truly want to do or believing what we truly want to believe.

    Re: Can you name your categories?

    I see two categories
    Human beings, who breathe and try their best. and humans who breathe and do not try their best.

    Re: Can you name your categories?

    Well, I'd have to say that the need to understand (which is to categorize, find similarities and dissimilarities, causes and effects, medians and means, developmental time lines ...) is not at the base of prejudice. (And to "discriminate" is to tell the difference between one thing and the next, and it has nothing to do with the worth of anything. But we do tend use the terms interchangeably.)

    It's very interesting to me to find the response that categories are "bad" in some way. We have so thoroughly inculturated ourselves within an egalitarian context that our first response is to say, "I don't want to see ANY differences between people." We want to be able to see everyone as somehow the same as everyone else because we want to be "fair." (I'm not saying this is bad or good - I'm just saying I think it's interesting.)

    To be able to say "this is a violin" and "this is a tuba" is not to say violins are good or tubas are horrible. All the instruments can still be good and useful and part of the whole orchestra, even if we see that the instruments are different from each other, have different strengths and weaknesses, and respond to changes in the weather or handling by the musician in different ways.

    So ... if you COULD see categories ... or if you WANTED to ... anyone see any? Can you name them?