Sunday, 25 November 2012

You people

The third principle affecting refugees is the use of depersonalisation to help minimise the feelings we have about our poor moral performance.
It is easy to be harsh with people if we do not portray them as individuals.
Once we recognise that "there but for the grace of God go I"...that is, were it not for my fortunate circumstances that could be me...then it is not so easy to clump people together and try to apply one solution fits all type of answers to complex individual circumstances.
I am always alerted when the outspoken  use the expression "you people".
My very large ears start to flap
As in "the trouble with you people is"
It is  a generic slur, and although it is a racial slur often, it is also much more than that.
One observation I would make about the history of our fair land is that our intolerance is confronted when we meet people.
We become loyal, not so much to our ethnic loyalties, or our narrow parochialism...but rather to the people we know.
So many Australians have friends who have expanded our understanding of what our world might be like.
Ranging from Ukrainians who keep so very quiet about what might have happened when they were in their early teens at the end of the war, to Ethiopians who fled their homeland and walked northern Africa losing touch with family for years, sometimes for ever. To SE Asians whose problems we discovered we were unable to solve, and probably aggravated. And Iranians like the couple I married who I observed at the time...seemed just like my own extended family (perhaps they were a bit more stable!) gathered for a wedding.
Principle 3: Depersonalisation of individuals serves no one's interests, and only aids prejudice and fuels discontent.

....more coming

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