Friday, April 8, 2011

It’s Not Dr. Seuss: Green Hair and Harm

When I lived in New York City, it wasn’t unusual to see people with blue, purple or green hair.   In fact, odds are in a city with over eight million people, you’re bound to see a wide assortment of hairstyles and hair colors.  One day in NYC, as I waited for a bus, a man strolled by wearing nothing but a pair of underwear briefs.  No heads turned and traffic kept right on flowing.  I was surprised that no one seemed affected by him.  Apparently, “different” is a relative term; your definition will vary from someone else’s definition depending upon your exposure to “different” and your spectrum of “normal.” Check out this video that features a woman with a unique sense of style.  If you cover your eyes and listen to her describe her job, you’ll find that she’s not much different from you or people you know.

I think the video speaks for itself.  As a child, were you ever chastised for staring at or devaluing people who seemed different?  Do you remember to remind your children and other family members to be respectful of others? How did we get to a place in society where one person or group thinks it’s acceptable to tease or assault others simply because of perceived differences?  In the words of a famous Californian, “Can’t we all just get along?”  I’m curious about the social psychology related to minimizing others and disrespecting differences.  Why do we mistreat one another?  Lots of unanswered questions today.  
In your opinion, what issues within us or within our culture contribute to ongoing social intolerance?                

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