Putting people in boxes

Throughout history people have had a great need to put people in boxes. Often they have been based on nationality, race, political opinions, gender, and profession. The premise is that all of certain group are the same which thankfully is not true. When I express my opinion on a certain issue many people want to associate other aspects to me as on this one issue I have similar view as for example a specific political party. I am therefore often lumped together with people who I might (and often do) fundamentally disagree with. We need to get out of the mentality that because A is true therefore B must be true because A is true for some people that B is true for. Good example is discussion about religion. I am an Atheist but I don’t agree with many prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher. Just because I think that the “god/gods” hypothesis has not been proven and therefore it is highly unlikely that any god exists then it does not mean that I or many other atheists agree with some vocal atheist. Same goes for theists. How often have we heard that Christians are like this or Muslims are like this. Not all Christians are the same thankfully as then the mainstream Christians in Europe would probably be as bad as the mainstream Christians in the US.

If we want to advance discussions about issues then we have to break down the barrier that boxes create. Are all expats in Bulgaria like me? No thankfully they are not. It is diversity that makes a society strong, but it is just so convenient to classify all that are similar in some way as the same. Are all women the same? Are all conservative politicians the same? Are all of the Roma community the same? Are all Icelanders the same? Do all Icelanders agree on anything apart from that volcanos are cool and it is fun to see foreign journalists try to pronounce the names of the Icelandic ones correctly?

In the discourse in the news and often in discussion we are not only putting people in boxes but we are putting them in outdated boxes. Is the dividing line in politics these days really about left and right? If we look at my own country then issues such as applying for EU membership, environment, fishing policy, health policy and educational policy much more of a dividing line than left and right. These issues are dividing most if not all political parties in Iceland or at least those with some following. By putting people in boxes we loose out on the diversity of views and the issues tend to become a battling zone instead of a ground for building consensus and find compromises. So in the end we are stuck in the development of our societies even though on specific issues we might agree but the boxes get in the way.

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