We can be prejudiced and biased when we are not careful in our thinking. A good example of this happened recently.
Emily’s assignment in psychology
Emily returned to university to study psychology. She had an assignment that needed a ‘guinea pig’. I volunteered and lay down on the couch ready to be assessed. Emily interviewed me with some searching questions which I endeavoured to answer fully and honestly. The interview ended as Emily explained she would analyse the data and feedback the results later in the day.
The morning questions resulted in five sentences by the evening. I read the short prose. I looked up at Emily amazed that my answers had led to such an accurate summary of my traits.
Then the cow kick. Emily explained that the questions in the morning had not been analyzed. The paragraph I had been given in the evening encompassed everyone. I had jumped to the conclusion that the paragraph reflected me where in-fact most anyone could fit into the summary. I had fallen, the common victim, as I linked the morning and evening process, allowing me to formulate distinct meaning where there was only a sweeping statement.
Careful what you think
It was fascinating that I had put two and two together and made nine. How many times to we do that in our day?
This is particularly true in regard to the differently-abled, people think wheelchair users are intellectually challenged. Blind people are often spoken to in a loud voice while deaf people endure everyone over-pronouncing with slow, wide lip movements. Definitely assumptions that don’t add up.
If we assumed bald people had lost their hair during chemotherapy where would that leave the incredibly fit Jason Statham, Vin Diesel and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson.
I hope I am making my point. If we reflect on our thoughts from a distance it becomes obvious our cumulative assumptions about differently-abled people are misplaced. Disabled people are not defined by their impairment, it causes them offence.
Emily is studying psychology, travelling on the bus and first one up at the bar! She is hoping to drive and travel as the summer approaches, while also getting excited about trying a twin kayak with outriggers. She just happens to need a wheelchair but she is perfectly able in every other respect.
Careful what you think as assumptions can be wrong particularly regarding people with disabilities.