This morning I read something about a 29 year old man that had 21 kids with 11 different women. The article stated something about four children being born in the same year. Twice. Okay, I guess at the very surface, the first reaction would be to laugh. It would be kind of funny if it were fiction. I can laugh at the shock of it. To me it is unfathomable that someone would have so many kids, and just keep making more. These aren’t Lay’s Potato chips. Nobodies eating all the babies they want. The human race isn’t dying out (yet). There’s no need to for anyone to make more. I don’t get it.
So far we have two things there—laughter followed by befuddlement. There’s also a third thing that happens when I read such stories. I say a little prayer. Certain groups of certain people will know exactly what I mean here. It’s the prayer of “Please don’t make us all look bad.” “Please, please…”
“Please don’t let it be a black person.”
Then you open the link to the article, see the face of the culprit in question and think “God damn it.”
It doesn’t even matter that you have no other connection to this person aside from superficial appearances. You’re in the group, they’re in the group and there are still people out there that will make vast assumptions of an entire group based on one person. It doesn’t even matter that someone in this group is the president of the country. It makes no difference.
If you can go into the world knowing you will be judged based on your own actions alone, and no one else’s, consider yourself lucky. I don’t even consider white people to be exempt from this—it goes both ways. There are vast assumptions about white people too. For example, remember the sniper incident of 2002? Who were we picturing before we solved the mystery? (yes, another “God damn it” moment for me, but that’s beside the point) Who do we see in our minds whenever a strange letter about powdered ‘thrax gets mailed, who do we picture when some militia-minded individual goes wacko against the government? That’s right.
Maybe this is why we have a need to put people in boxes. I can be split evenly into two boxes (same goes for the president) but let’s not kid ourselves. I know how I’m seen by most people based on their first glance. Why do we do this? Is it an attempt to predict behavior? Is it a way to figure out what we have in common with some and how we differ from others? I look forward to the day when the prayer does not cross my thoughts whenever I read a story like that, but I think that day is still a long way off.
(God damn it)