Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Treating "Everyone as an Individual" is Impossible in a World Full of Strangers.
Students sometimes think that they should avoid using stereotypes in sizing up strangers. This comes from an admirable desire not to misjudge people. They believe that if they just treat everyone as an individual, they can avoid ever making group generalizations.
Yet we cannot meet all strangers as individuals. We encounter them as members of groups. It would be impossible to treat each person we meet with full individuality.
I offer, instead, that we should seek to meet groups with the most accurate group generalizations. AND that we should remember Rule #1 of Sociology (according to me): We make generalizations about groups which do not necessarily apply to each member of the group.