Thought of the Day: Perception of the Other

 

Some folks are perceived as a fixed reality. But more concerning still is that these very folks advance the idea that saying the truth about who they really are will take the perception about them away!

Really?!

How many times have the African-Americans said: “We are not drug dealers”. And yet, has that changed the perception about them that they are drug dealers and criminals? Has that fixed their mass-incarceration?!

And how many times have Latinos and Latinas said: “We are not illegals, we are not contraband smugglers, and we are not human traffickers? And yet, has that changed the perception about them that they are illegals, contraband smugglers, and human traffickers?!

And how many times has a Muslim or Arab said: “We do not mistreat women, as you constantly like to say”. But has that changed the perception about them that they mistreat women?!

Communities that seek to improve the lot and the self-esteem of their members can not afford to let those who paint them with the same brush set the agenda and beat on the drum of perception. A community that is vulnerable to perception should not necessarily always give those who paint them with the same brush a dose of their own medicine and paint them as unworthy of their cause, but should especially dismiss their perceptions as a fool’s paradise. Indeed, avoiding to respond to perception may be the right antidote, because once you start to respond and to refute the perception, you make the situation worse. When a community members are exposed to local cultural products that foster their mental and emotional well-being, most of the battle has been won. In the meantime, those who claim a moral superiority will not heal their flaw of instinctively using the card of wrongful perception against them, every time, in order to stop their every progress.