Ists and Isms

Ists and Isms

Seriously…. Be just a little bit more specific. Not completely, not totally, just a little bit.

Could you imagine a conversation about current events, people, places, that did not involve such ludicrously encompassing terms as extremist, racist, liberalism, conservatism, bigamist, terrorist, nihilist, fanaticism, patriotism, capitalism? If you could, would you regard it as relevant? Is it in our capability to understand the difference between what is being said and what is meant?

We can, but we don’t. The Internet, what limited access we are given to it, has elevated the uneducated opinions of literally ANYONE with a Wi-Fi enabled device to near celebrity status. Our rash generalizations of fellow humans into labels and genres and categories have become something of a pastime for “1st world countries”. Now I could discuss for days and days, the legitimacy of the term “1st world countries” due to the fact that it is utter bullshit; the diction betrays its definition. My concerned opinion is rooted in the part of society that deems it acceptable to use ‘Ist’ and ‘ism’ in the context of the role of a specific person or persons who are either submissive or subversive. To clarify, we employ terms ending in ‘Ist’ and ‘Ism’ to claim you’re either the one pulling the strings or the puppet at the end, and give no specific mention to who or what is the root cause. We want our martyrs in brightly labeled packages on the shelf of the supermarket.

It starts in your head. The thought gives life to the word, the word gives momentum to the action, the action slowly becomes habit, and with that, the habit becomes the culture. ‘Ist’ is a suffix attached to words thus creating nouns, which you REALLY shouldn’t do… where’s your degree in linguistics? ‘Ist’ creates the illusion that a person knows what they’re talking about, and lets face it, as Riley from The Boondocks said, “Real recognizes real”. Chances are if you have so much to say then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Those who know don’t need to beat their knowledge into someone else’s head, it’s disheartening and exhausting. ‘Ism’ is again, a suffix attached to words allowing the creation of nouns and I don’t think I have to repeat myself. ‘Ism’ though, denotes a group of people, where ‘Ist’ refers to the stereotyping an individual. Both of these devices are catastrophic to truly understanding the intentions and motivations of an individual or group.

While we’re on the topic of what it is you’re actually talking about, let’s bring into the fold our time honored Darwin classification of Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. Yes, there is an extra one that you probably didn’t know about; THANKS GOOGLE! You really nailed my 3rd grade science project. Now… where in there do you see race, or religion, or social/political stances? That’s right, nowhere. So before we jump to the immediate conclusion that the obnoxiously loud group at the back of the bus is anything outside of the 8 aforementioned categories, isn’t it safe to say that at least once, for some reason that you’ll easily justify with conjecture, you were that group? Not specifically but situational. We’re so quick to judge that we’re blind to our own common faults. Our understanding of one another is almost completely lost in the narrow collective conscious of ISP dominated networks. Through this we discover our own ignorance because just as TV and Radio are, the Internet is programmed as well. Yes, I know it is LITERALLY programmed by computer scientists/engineers. What I mean is that the content is manufactured, monitored, edited for a wide viewing audience, and the pieces that were trimmed get lost in the fabric of time.

Are you starting to see the point I’m getting at?

We know so little about such a broad range of topics that we don’t even realize how lethal ‘Ist’s’ and ‘Ism’s’ have become. A religious group organizes a sit in to gain favor for their views on equality… F***IN EXTREMISTS! Whoa!! Hold the phones, they’ve got valid points and ignorant ones just like you and me. A businessman joins a picket line protesting the passing of legislation that was never made openly public knowledge…. F***IN TERRORIST! All right, now you’re just being an idiot. A man recalls a joke about the female anatomy that gets the whole bar laughing… okay that guy might be sexist. Being judgmental and biased isn’t going to disappear just because I write an article calling you out on it, but it is noteworthy to mention that if you cited more than one resource for your view, you’re part of the solution! Congratulations, you’re less loathsome than the rest of us.

Not everyone is cut out for the scholarly life, and academic endeavors but every single one of us has a responsibility to humanity as a whole to become more educated than your first impression. Question, doubt, debate, reason, converse, and most importantly stand up for one another. Nobody has all the answers, and no one answer fits all the questions. “Hey I am really effected on some personal level by this” YES! GOOD! GO! Spend twenty minutes digging past the first few pages of results in Google and gain a broader view on what it is you’re feeling. You may find that you’re not concerned at all, or you may become the next face of a revolution. ‘Ist’s’ and ‘Ism’s’ exist because there are those that definitely do fit the mold, but when everyone is something we hate what are we left with to love? Do you know why you’re so quick to judge? Is it fear, ignorance, anger, or righteous indignation that drives your need to simplify the truth out of the picture? Or do you genuinely have zero interest in understanding someone else? My opinion… get over it and see the world for the diverse spectacle that it is.