Traps and prejudices

Somehow, many of us – and this includes me – have a tendency to assume that disabled people, older people and all other people who are often sidelined or are part of a population group that is often sidelined or was wronged in the past cannot be hateful grouches or otherwise have an abundance of negative characteristics. That too is a prejudice.

I think I just fell into that trap again, after I became newly interested in Native American struggles.

It reminds me of something someone once told me whose mother was 100% Native American and whose dad was Irish. Growing up, she was “the Indian kid” off the reservation, and on the reservation, she was “the white kid”.

It never stopped her. To the contrary. She became a trailblazer for everyone and built a lot of bridges throughout her life. Still is, and still does.

She does not go around hating everyone who isn’t 50% Native American or 50% Irish white.

When I met her, I had no idea of her Native American heritage. She was an enthusiastic American female scientist who reached out to me at a conference because she had spotted me when I visited her institution and that had somehow drawn her attention. If she had not brought it up herself in her e-mails, I never would have known about it.

But among Native Americans, too – not just among the white people – some people hate everyone who is not exactly the same and many of them were Trump voters. That’s Trump of the pipelines through nature, including Native American lands.

In other words… we’re all basically the same. There is much more overlap among us than within separate groups. You have haters in all groups. You have kind people in all groups. You have Trump voters in all groups. You have nature-loving people in all groups. You have capitalists in all groups. And you have generous people in all groups.

The things that set groups apart, these differences, they enrich all of our lives.

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