Whether subconsciously or consciously, many people are of the belief that “I need to feel safe, I need to fit in and I need to be accomplished.”
When we see someone else who may not fit this mold sometimes we criticize and poke fun in order to ingrain in ourselves that we are better, we are not and could never be like that.
It’s unfortunate because in order to secure this ideology we go after others and their appearances — so we detach, we categorize and we judge to protect ourselves. I am OK. I am normal.
Today there are repercussions for prejudice against race, gender and religion in our society. Yet what isn’t recognized is this discriminatory attitude many Americans hold toward what others look like and those who may have weight issues.
This is unfortunate because obesity is on the rise in America. Yet, so is this aggressively rude attitude towards people who are different. Do you see a problem?
I remember learning in my general psychology class last year that the brain automatically judges the better-looking person as nicer. We seem to have this innate idea that external equals internal.
There have been studies where people put on fat suits and go out with hidden cameras to see what reactions they get. The result is they get pushed around on the subway or laughed at and judged right in front of their faces.
People go to jail or lose their jobs for discriminating against others and treating them in demoralizing and disrespectful fashions. Yet people on the other end of the spectrum, trying to get the job, may never get the opportunity to work for an important business because the interviewer judges them as lazy, uncontrolled and maybe even stupid.
People are financially and emotionally punished for not making the same choices. Why aren’t there laws for this type of discrimination?
Obesity has been labeled as a disease and I really don’t think we see an obese person the same way as someone with cancer. Both are diseases, yet I can’t think of anyone in their right mind making fun of some women who just came out of chemotherapy with her hair stripped away.
It may sound like I’m a hippie or a flower child, but I really do believe that life is about being happy. This means loving other people not bringing them down. But a lot of times we believe that if we bring someone down we rise higher.
So what are we to do?
Judgment is part of our reaction to things that are different, myself included. Yet, when we act on it, it becomes a problem.
Everyone is entitled to their thoughts and their ideas. It becomes an issue when we make rash decisions based on our own fears and insecurities.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Jennifer Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org