Perceptions

May.21. 2017

I am often perplexed by the political correctness in our national discourse these days.

Much of it seems naive and lacking in a basic understanding of the human mind.

Take the concept of profiling.

Profiling is a dirty word these days and often associated with bigotry.

But profiling is actually very much a part of our human DNA.

It’s a defense mechanism that’s been hardwired into us through thousands of years of evolution.

Perhaps one of our ancestors met a snake one day, and the snake happened to bite him.

So what happened the next time he met another snake? He would avoid it. He had learned his lesson and formed a certain profile in his mind of snakes.

Now we all know that not all snakes bite and that not all snakes are poisonous.

But tell that to our ancestor. Once bitten twice shy. Why take the risk again?

This is profiling. It’s a useful defense mechanism and one which had perhaps ensured our survival over millenia of evolution.

It doesn’t even need first hand experience. Profiling can occur through word of mouth too. You can hear of someone being bitten by a snake and you would also learn to avoid them.

There’s actually another side of profiling and it’s called branding. Branding is the pretty side of profiling (as opposed to the ugly side).

Take a particular lady’s accessory that has the initials “LV” as its logo.

For some odd reason, many women (and maybe some men), even those who seem to possess good intelligence, will fork over large sums of money to own one of these bags.

Why are these products so desirable?

Because they associate it with a certain quality or life style (or who knows what else they associate it with).

It’s a fact we can’t deny.

Profiling or branding is hardwired into our genes and there’s no use whining about it.

But we can do something about it.

For instance, I belong to an ethnic group that is often perceived as being weak and submissive. I have noticed that this perception can sometimes lead to some misguided individuals trying to take advantage of the situation.

So what do I do? I found that I had to change that perception when I am met with those situations.

Now, snakes can’t do anything about their bad reputations.

They can’t play victim and cry snakophobia and demand that people stop profiling them.

But we human beings, we can do something.

The first thing is to recognize that the human mind works through associations, through grouping like items together.

When someone does something, good or bad, it immediately affects everyone else who is linked to him/her in whatever shape or form.

If you happen to belong to his/her group and you want to erase or reverse that bad perception which his/her actions have created, you’ll have to do something about it. (In other words, you’ll have to reverse the “karma” of his/her actions.)

Sure it is not fair, why do you have to be responsible for some nutcase’s actions?

But ask yourself, why do people continue to waste their money on certain overpriced products simply because of a logo?

That’s not fair too and very foolish, but will people change simply because you tell them to change?

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