Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Assumptions

As I have mentioned before, my political and pro-gun viewpoints put me in a distinct ideological minority where I work. This has, at times, resulted in interesting conversations and awkward moments.

Recently, I was making small talk with a group of church members when someone brought up the general topic of politics. I guess this person assumed, because I am Hispanic, that I held certain political beliefs. She commented that I must be pleased with the direction our country is going. With our new president, she reasoned, this should mean easier immigration, and more governmental assistance for the "less fortunate."

I simply and politely responded, "Every candidate has to earn my vote, and neither party has consistently done so. I am not pleased with either party nor the direction they are taking us."

My tone was friendly, and demeanor relaxed, but somehow, that was a conversation-killer. That wasn't really my intent, but her comments just hit a nerve.

Please don't think for a minute that just because of my race you can make certain assumptions of who I am. Don't believe that my nationality or skin color automatically means that I must believe or react (or vote) in a predictable way. That's called prejudice and assumes that I'm small-minded enough to follow any crowd that looks like me. That's not very intelligent, if you think about it.

So, I guess my message to her, and to politicians in general is: Don't assume anything when it comes to me (or anybody else for that matter). You don't know me that well.

4 comments:

Sailorcurt said...

Don't believe that my nationality or skin color automatically means...

I know what you meant and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but that statement was indicative of a mindset that's always irked me.

Ethnic roots have nothing to do with nationality. If you're a US citizen, your nationality is US American.

Period.

It is no less egregious for a US citizen, whether naturalized or born, to proclaim alignment with another nationality as it is for for someone to assume it based upon their looks, genetic characteristics or even an accent.

That is not to say that I expect those with traditions from other cultures to completely surrender their traditions or to denounce the culture or nation of their origin...I don't.

But when it comes to identification of nationality, regardless of feelings of affection toward the "old country" and its customs, either you're an American, or you ain't.

"There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only hundred per cent Americanism."
--Theodore Roosevelt

Ride Fast said...

When I find someone who doesn't fit my expectations I usually feel like I've found a diamond in the rough (or all the red flags are going up!).

Even when I disagree with their opinion, it's a learning experience opportunity. This all too common tendency to reject someone because of different opinion is really unfortunate.

Bob S. said...

Lawyer,

I find the same mindset - nationality, skin color, race means I believe THIS-- to be a problem for even me.

I am very libertarian in my views which vexes quite a few folks who think I should support something just because of my skin color.

My wife and I talked about this recently; who do we vote for and why.
We don't care if a person is a democrat/republican/GreenParty, gay/straight/quadrasexual - it is the values, the principles and the ideas the person has.

Lawyer said...

SailorCurt,

Your point is well taken. I should have used the term ethnicity.

Ride Fast,

I was hoping to turn that into a productive conversation, but they were done with me at that point.

Bob,

Well put. People h ave to earn my trust and earn my vote. They don't get either just because they or I look a certain way.