Re: virus: Tabacco mind virus: antivirii

Neco and Jeff (
Fri, 25 Jul 1997 10:01:27 +0900

Eric Boyd wrote:
> Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:
> > I try to be aware of and avoid that kind of double standard--referring to
> > people 'like me' as 'people' and people 'unlike me' as exceptions. I
> > think it's a natural, but often harmful, habit. I have observed in myself
> hmmm. Natural habit? As I child, I remember playing dozens of games
> like "which one of the following just *doesn't* belong?" I can't help
> but think that I, like you, have been *trained* to notice *differences*,
> rather than similarities. Perhaps it's a useful skill sometimes (like
> when looking for that one loony (that is, the Canadian one dollar coin)
> in a handful of change). But it surly does make us pay more attention
> (ie notice) people who are different from us.

But I think the key in utilizing that skill effectively as with any
skill is also knowing when it applies and when it doesn't. If you are
trying to choose people to be on the basketball team, a physical
difference such as height becomes a very relevant difference and one
that you pay attention to. When choosing people for the debate team this
difference probably goes almost unnoticed. As Eva rightly pointed out,
the fact that the woman was Asian in this case could very well have been
a relevant observation since tobacco companies have taken to targeting
Asian nations whose level of awareness about the hazards of smoking are
somewhat less than in the U.S. In fact, when I read her description that
was the first thought that entered my mind as well which means that in
this case it was a useful piece of information. I went ahead and sent my
post anyway just for the sake of raising the topic. However, if you go
around pointing out someone's race every time you happen to start
talking about someone of a different race than you (which is a habit of
many many people,) I think that it is not so much a reflection of the
fact that you have been taught to notice differences as a reflection of
the fact that you have been taught (or perhaps conditioned is a better
word) to apply that skill in a situation where it is not appropriate.

> Very irritating, yes. Becuase what it does it makes you pay attention
> to how you are treating them... (now, did I act the same there as I did
> with the last, white, guy? Well gee, how did I act then?) I'm not sure
> that awareness is a bad thing, but I think true equality will only
> arrive when we *stop* noticing the differences. After all, if you
> aren't aware of the difference (what difference?), you can't possibly
> act differently...

Again, I don't think that anyone will ever reach the point where they
don't notice differences between races. If they did I think one would
have to wonder about their cognitive faculties and level of general
awareness of the world around them. The key, rather, is simply in
realizing when that difference is relevant and when it is not.


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