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drDalek
08-02-2003, 02:48 PM
Generalisations and stereotypes are often frowned upon by those who consider themselves educated and enlightened. I believe that generalisations and stereotypes can play a valuable role in self defence.

For example, every year hundreds of articles and stories are published where nigerian immigrant drug-dealers kill and assault people within a certain neighborhood. I now know to stay away from that neighborhood and if I do find myself there I know to keep my distance from blacks.

Furthermore I know that ex-convicts usually have jail tattoos in the form of tears under their eyes and numbers on their cheeks, I know to stay away from individuals with similar tattoos.

The fact that I can make these assumptions "danger, danger stay away" about individuals that I have never met do not bother me, I think its perfectly natural and ignoring these generalisations would be very stupid in the "survival instinct" kind of way.

Any counter arguments?

shihonage
08-02-2003, 06:18 PM
Stereotypes often exist for a reason.

Pretoriano
08-02-2003, 08:35 PM
Stereotypes Wynand:

Are some excuses used by laizy people "who doesnt want to Percieve what it IS" But something else that have been stated or previously percieved from a determined angle before.

As well we all used it, make your own conclusions... (kidding but serious).

It is well suposed that at some level of Budo trainning this "fuzzy" way to tag people and ordinal situations must be disapeared.

I use Stereotypes when I Correlacionate a Direct Event (one time reality) with a looong bunch of: teachings, normed, previous experiences, personal analylis, comon beliefs, tails, movies, buddy sayings, video games just name something....

The mision of Stereotypes is to make us feel confortable and "secure" in our world believing we "already know something" about the elements presented at time and space. The wrong is that we start to act and react automatically without making the effort for to employ "discerniment" for to percieve things just as presented without "filtering"

Anyone who can counter this? Whynand?

Why do you talk about blacks that way Winand?

PRAETORIAN

aikilouis
08-03-2003, 03:35 AM
Dear Wynand, you can expect a flame war in short notice.

taras
08-03-2003, 06:14 AM
The mission of Stereotypes is to make us feel comfortable and "secure" in our world believing we "already know something" about the elements presented at time and space. The wrong is that we start to act and react automatically without making the effort for to employ "discerniment" to perceive things just as presented without "filtering"

PRAETORIAN
I couldn't agree more, Manuel.

We base judgement on our experience, and also use other people subjective experience. This is done with the best intentions - to stay safe.

However, there are stereotypes for everything, and very often they are created and sustained by ... m-m-m not very clever people.

If you face an unfamiliar situation you either fail to find an adequate response based on your experience, make assumptions that everyone (involved) is out on the mission to harm you; or you act spontaneously and gain new experience.

It is our nature to assume everything unfamiliar to be dangerous until proven otherwise. But I think it is ignorant and is the main reason for violence. "I will hurt him before he gets a chance to hurt me".

Try to apply some stereotypes to yourself and see how ridiculous it will sound. I am a Russian living in England and I have long hair, therefore I must be an illegal immigrant and a drug dealer :D

Using the example with Nigerian drug dealers, where do you stop assuming and generalising? Do you avoid that area? Do you avoid all Nigerians? Or all black people? Sound a bit ridiculous, doesn't it? I am blowing this out of proportion just to get my point across. What I am saying is if you think like this you will soon run out of places where you feel safe.

This is not a Budo way. If you can't go to certain parts of the city where you live, this means you lost and whoever didn't want you to go there won without doing anything, you did the job for them. I think the Budo way would be to go where you need but without harm for yourself and, if possible, for others.

PhilJ
08-03-2003, 08:47 AM
I sometimes speak loudly and have a bizarre sense of humor that borders on offensiveness, so I *must* be a pain in the butt. There's another example of a ster -- wait, no, that one's true. ;)

I believe that practicing budo (or aikido) means stripping away all these baseless perceptions and beliefs, then questioning them.

Good example: my wife and I were excited about a fence we were building to let our dogs run around in the yard. We had it priced, included a beautiful custom arbor, paid the deposit, very excited. We cleaned up the yard, pulled weeds, chopped some trees, etc.

Now we're close to the installation time, getting more excited, and it hit me: why are we getting a fence? Can I change my perception here, that we don't need a fence, and I can make a better effort to exercise the dogs?

We cancelled the fence and saved $6000. We built up an image in our minds and, in a fit of silliness, never questioned it.

Now, to me, this is an example of budo. You have an image of something for whatever reason (stereotype, expectations, etc.), but then you question it and subject it to tests of truth, you come up short. The perception itself isn't "bad" or "good" -- just inaccurate in representing the reality or truth.

*Phil

drDalek
08-03-2003, 10:26 AM
<snip>

Are some excuses used by laizy people "who doesnt want to Percieve what it IS" But something else that have been stated or previously percieved from a determined angle before.

It is well suposed that at some level of Budo trainning this "fuzzy" way to tag people and ordinal situations must be disapeared.

Why do you talk about blacks that way Winand?

<snip>
Your sentiments are nice, they are educated and enlightened but you dont propose any solutions.

I hope I dont need to point out the sheer irony of making me out as a rascist for mentioning blacks (as opposed to "african africans" I suppose).

Also, isnt acting and reacting automatically based on the situation the physical aim of intensive martial arts training? Arent we all trying to get to the point where the instinctive flinch response is replaced with blending?

Kevin Wilbanks
08-03-2003, 11:17 AM
I've got to hand it to you Wynand, you seem to have laid out the perfect bait for soliciting lots of regal-sounding, fuzzy Aiki-idealistic responses.

I understand what you are getting at though. It's easy to elevate egalitarian ideals and think something like racial stereotyping is the worst thing in the world when you live insulated from any situations in which those generalizations are useful.

I used to live in Madison, WI - the liberal, free-to-be-you-and-me capital of the great white midwest. There, chest-beating about the horrors of racism was very prevalent. Yet, those people weren't living in a situation where a different racial/cultural group was fulfilling a sterotype over and over again before their eyes on a daily basis - where they basically have a chance to reconstruct it for themselves from their own experience. Or, where employing a stereotype in their own thinking might save them from harm. In general, it's very easy to make sweeping pronouncements about what others should do or think from the comfort of being far from the trials that they face.

There are many cases where there is a tension between the way you think things should be and the way you think things really are. They are basically two different, somewhat independent levels of analysis. Which one to employ depends upon the situation you face. If you're going to vote, or have some hand in setting rules somewhere, maybe 'should be' wins out. If you're deciding which street to walk down at night, or who to keep an eye on in an unruly crowd, 'really are' wins hands down.

Pretoriano
08-03-2003, 07:48 PM
Quote.-"Your sentiments are nice, they are educated and enlightened but you dont propose any solutions." Wynand

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Thank you Wynand very kind, but sentiments have very little to do here on perception matters, enlightned, Naw! just another average guy coments; enlightment includes discovering the secrets of perception not easy to what limit ones can take this to.



In this particular case of Budo I would like to highlight two related key points proposing humble solutions anyone can work on:

Fear and Inerce.

Fear because humankind has evolved with enormous amounts of fear, fear generates violence, wrong perceptions, and make it harder to grow. And Inerce, because the power generated by continous previous actions is hard to break in order to use clean channels to percieve the direct event. There is a lot to talk and to work about this two.



Do you know the proceses of creating and using stereotypes of any kind, but do you know the reverse process? that of afecting others perception by something you assume and other believe, falling in their own perception trap? this is something interesting, overall if one is looking for to explore ones reception and reaction to world and its elements.

PRAETORIANO

Pretoriano
08-03-2003, 09:12 PM
Taras Quote.-"However, there are stereotypes for everything, and very often they are created and sustained by ... m-m-m not very clever people." Taras

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P.-Exactly Taras, and lot of less clever ones who follow it, trapped in the media and getting wrong messages as trues and values.

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Quote.-"If you face an unfamiliar situation you either fail to find an adequate response based on your experience, make assumptions that everyone (involved) is out on the mission to harm you; or you act spontaneously and gain new experience."Taras

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P.- better spontaneously and sometimes wrong than to acostume the self to conditioned perception responses, but it seems some are terrified with the idea of doing ridiculous and/or out of time, again just a matter of fear.

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Quote.-"It is our nature to assume everything unfamiliar to be dangerous until proven otherwise. But I think it is ignorant and is the main reason for violence. "I will hurt him before he gets a chance to hurt me". Taras

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P.- Not very far from animal state of bing, and not very uncommon on human kind.

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Quote.-"Try to apply some stereotypes to yourself and see how ridiculous it will sound. I am a Russian living in England and I have long hair, therefore I must be an illegal immigrant and a drug dealer :D" Taras

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P.- This one of the best resources man have to learn, it is so easy and so real in its results, that should be taken on "Little wisdom for Dummies"

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I well figure that anyone can give similar responses without great effort,

So my Big question is "why the world is still trapped in wrong perception and misguided paradigms?"

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This is not a Budo way. If you can't go to certain parts of the city where you live, this means you lost and whoever didn't want you to go there won without doing anything, you did the job for them. I think the Budo way would be to go where you need but without harm for yourself and, if possible, for others.[/QUOTE]Taras

.-This is not main matter of self- defense but a matter of fear, starting by if ones doesnt know to "tune up" with certain enviroments it is better to stay away.

Here were I live, in certain places under current social/political conditions, one found very violent people, ready to anything, employng the above last post "to know how to affect others stereotypes-perception and life paradigms" gains plenty of field for to manage situations on your behalf.

Quote.- "Also, isnt acting and reacting automatically based on the situation the physical aim of intensive martial arts training? Arent we all trying to get to the point where the instinctive flinch response is replaced with blending?" Wynand

.-We will discuss this one latter, this is just a matter of not confusing terms.

Chao,

Pretoriano

YEME
08-03-2003, 09:32 PM
several months ago my friend was mugged at night near a busy cafe strip. The people (there was a group of 4) who grabbed her, one punching her repeatedly in the face were street kids.

Two businessmen (at least white men in suits) walked right on by. They acknowledged my friends situation with the 'feel sorry for you' expression but walked on. Several cars passed by.

now the person who actually helped her wasn't a cop, a businessman or cafe bound night clubber.

it was a street drunk. a black man, in scruffy coat, newspaper taped around his ankles and smelling like he hadn't seen a shower since 1989, came running in. Threw the punching attacker to the side, hauled my friend away from them and started yelling at them while leading her away. He walked her to the nearest police officer and told her to be more careful...lots of scary people out there....

now this may sound somewhat disney...but since then I've made a particular effort to steer away from generalisations and stereotypes. I'm not a saint. It doesn't always happen...

But if you make assumptions...You end up underestimating or overestimating someone's character and abilities. This man under the rule of stereotype would have been classed alongside the people who hurt her.

Abasan
08-03-2003, 10:43 PM
Stereotyping danger will inevitably land you into stereotyping safety.

While one will help you 'avoid' potential problems regardless of their existence. The other will only open yourself to being the perfect victim.

If you think that that innocent looking blond girl with big beautiful blue eyes don't have murder in her mind... then you're in for it.

happysod
08-04-2003, 03:13 AM
Thank you ahmed, excellent point elegantly put.

Stereotyping is a natural short-hand which we're all guilty of. Unfortunately, all it ever does is feed on itself and reinforce the stereotypes you are using. The "stereotype A signifies danger" is one of the more compelling and easy to fall into. However, using this stereotyping will nicely reinforce the stereotype as "convict type" or "not my skin-colour" reactions will bring out the worst in the person you're projecting them on as they will pick up on your hostillity and (if they do actually fit the niche you're expecting) will react accordingly.

Suggestions on what to use instead? Look at the situation you're in rather than the "types" you see. Dark alley + group of people normally boosts my awareness regardless of the groups make-up etc. I suppose it all depends on the level of risk you're willing to accept.

Wynand, I do have sympathy for your problems Wynand, areas of SA sound like an on-going war zone and so some paranoia is not only understandable, but probably needed. I just hope you can find a balance between shutting yourself off behind a wall and not becoming a statistic.

Mary Eastland
08-04-2003, 06:03 AM
Generalization is a poor self-defense tool. It buys into self-defense myths. One being that you are likely to be hurt by someone different than you. Much better to be aware of each situation and listen to your gut. Strange people might not hurt you, people who do strange things can.

Mary Eastland

Berkshire Hills Aikido

jaxonbrown
08-04-2003, 07:07 AM
what you think you know can get you killed.*

living in a 51% black, 49% white city, you come to realize that stereotyping is nuts. you must identify the actions, attitudes, subtle motions of someone who wants to do you harm. this means ANYONE is a suspect. thinking "he's white, i can relax" will leave you mentally open for attack.

positive stereotypes are more dangerous than negative sterotypes. whenever I'm in doubt, I err on the side of caution which is to expect something dodgy out of the guy.

mike lee
08-04-2003, 09:47 AM
In life it's good to have high ideals, but it's also wise to know when present reality is not lining up with those ideals.

The jaded person throws out his ideals when reality doesn't match his ideals. The wise man adapts, without giving up what is right.

In the long run, if we give up our ideals, we give up hope for a better world, if not for this generation, maybe for the next.

Once there was a very old man who began planting apple trees in an open field. People came to see what he was doing and wondered why he expended so much time and effort to plant trees that would probably not bear abundant fruit until long after he was dead.

When someone asked why he did it, he said it was for future generations to enjoy.

Now some may say the old man was foolish, while others may say that he was unselfish, idealistic and full of hope and joy.

What kind of people do we want to be?

Consider the following passage:

The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the

Corinthians

13

Love

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

mike lee
08-04-2003, 10:08 AM
Consider also:

Let us bind togather

Heaven and Earth, Kami and Man.

So we may guard and protect

This age of ours.

- Morihei Ueshiba

justinm
08-04-2003, 11:06 AM
Isn't most stereotyping just a probability thing?

If there is an area in the city that has a abnormally high number of murders by Nigrerian immigrants, I'm going to stay out of that area, and if I am in the area, I'm going to be more worried about Nigerians than, say, Welsh. Doesn't mean that there are no nice Nigerians or bad Welsh. It's just a probability thing. Might not even be true, but its the best information I've got & I think I'd be crazy to ignore it.

I'm with you, Wynand. Best self defence is 'don't be there'.

If I see a man walking towards me with a big knife and a tear tattooo under his eye, he might be a wonderful angel of mercy on his way to hand in a knife he found in the street. But I'll trust to stereotypes and get well out the way. If I miss out on a wonderful opportunity to meet someone that could change my life, so be it - I'll get new experiences somewhere less dangerous.

Anders Bjonback
08-11-2003, 03:13 PM
And I thought this thread would be about how sterotyping can be used as a form of self-defence in that people use it to make them feel more sure of themselves by making false assumptions about others by superficial observations.

Anders Bjonback
08-12-2003, 01:24 PM
Just to expand on my statement, I don't mean to be insulting, or to be a personal attack on the creator of this thread, if it's taken that way.

I was just surprised by how different of a wave lenth the creator is on than me, how different the actual thread was from what I thought it was going to be.

There is a certain part of the brain that stores a sort of snapshot of a person who assaulted you. Whenever you see someone with similar characteristics, you may go back into a trauma responce or get nervous, but you may or may not know why because the responce is toatally subconcious. Sure, it's a survival mechanism, but is it always good and useful?

Yeah, stereotyping can be used as a form of self defense as the thread-starter pointed out. But the problem is that you're not always working with what actually is, but just with what your assumptions of what is based on narrow conceptions taught by society.

Sterotypes cause some people to feel isolated. How would it feel to be a perfectly nice guy, but have people, upon seeing you, walk on the opposite side of the street? If you're a homeless person, how would it feel to have people automatically assume you're lazy and a drunk/drug addict?

Yes, sterotypes are based on reality, but they're not always true for the individual and let's not forget the dark side of it--prejudice.

If we just rely on broad generalizations of people as taught by society, we're not acting in true accordance with the situation. Yes, to some degree it is important to recognize certain traits or appearances as pointers saying "this person may be dangerous," I'm not denying that. But as a Buddhist, I want to see reality as it is, not through the filter of my own preconceptions and projections. I recognize my own sterotypes and prejudices, and I try to work with them and see reality as it is instead of projecting them onto people. In reality I saw teenager with a huge number of tatoos, huge muscles, and a leather jacket walk down the street, not a potential thug. The stereotype isn't the reality, my own thoughts on what the person might be isn't the reality. The reality is that it was a person, walking, wearing tatoos and certain articles of clothing. He might be a thug, or he might be a nice guy who thinks that tatoos are cool. I might avoid him because society dictates that people looking like that might be dangerous, but it's important to recognize that my assumptions are not the reality.

The problem is that I'm usually responding to my own fear and imagination, not the situation itself. The problem lies when we confuse our stereotypes and preconceptions for the actual reality.

drDalek
08-14-2003, 03:09 PM
On an individual case by case basis stereotypes do not always reflect the reality but reality, real truthful actual literal reality does not allow you to "see" the inner beauty in people.

Even if the person you are stereotyping is not a threat, do you realy want to take the chance with someone who is so very insecure that they need to act / dress in a way that allows others to perceive them as a threat?

Stereotyping is a reality and you can be Buddha himself and you will not be able to see "through" these thoughts in as much as you cannot see through walls. The most you can do is to acknowledge that stereotyping exist and plan your life to not intersect with any event that would place you on either end of the stereotyping. This is rarely possible so to remain realistic you have to accept that you will encounter them and be on either the giving or receiving end of stereotyping.

I know deeply and truthfully that not all nigerians in said neighborhood are drug dealers and yet I still dont find anything wrong in reminding myself of this stereotype while I find myself in that area. I can do this without scowling or acting aggressive to anyone. Does this make me insecure, unbalanced or wrong? When I take the most direct and visible route to my destination without stopping at every streetcorner to hug every possible-drug-dealer, does this make me paranoid or close-minded?

mike lee
08-16-2003, 01:12 AM
Does this make me insecure, unbalanced or wrong? When I take the most direct and visible route to my destination without stopping at every streetcorner to hug every possible-drug-dealer, does this make me paranoid or close-minded?
If you stopped on every street corner to hug every little old lady you'd probably end up getting arrested.

I think that just the simple fact that you have to ask and the way you asked it indicates a problem, the root of which is that you believe that you're so much better than those scum-sucking drug dealers.

Anders Bjonback
08-16-2003, 04:45 PM
Keep in mind that I'm answering these questions as a Buddhist, and I'm not trying to force my view on you or anyone else.
On an individual case by case basis stereotypes do not always reflect the reality but reality, real truthful actual literal reality does not allow you to "see" the inner beauty in people.
But however I perceive them is a projection of past experiences, thoughts and emotions. I can't literally "see" a person's intent or state of mind, I can only see their actions and their apperance, so I can't "see" his hatred or whatever just as much as I can't "see" his inner beauty.
Even if the person you are stereotyping is not a threat, do you realy want to take the chance with someone who is so very insecure that they need to act / dress in a way that allows others to perceive them as a threat?
No. I'm not saying one should give up caution.
Stereotyping is a reality and you can be Buddha himself and you will not be able to see "through" these thoughts in as much as you cannot see through walls. The most you can do is to acknowledge that stereotyping exist and plan your life to not intersect with any event that would place you on either end of the stereotyping. This is rarely possible so to remain realistic you have to accept that you will encounter them and be on either the giving or receiving end of stereotyping.
But the Buddha can see through these thoughts. That's why he's enlightened.

I do accept that I will encounter stereotyping, and I accept that I will be on both the giving and receiving end of it. I will stereotype as long as I'm not free from discursive thought.

Part of becoming enlightened means being free from the influence of discursive thought, negative thoughts and emotions, no longer projecting stuff onto people and things.
I know deeply and truthfully that not all nigerians in said neighborhood are drug dealers and yet I still dont find anything wrong in reminding myself of this stereotype while I find myself in that area. I can do this without scowling or acting aggressive to anyone. Does this make me insecure, unbalanced or wrong? When I take the most direct and visible route to my destination without stopping at every streetcorner to hug every possible-drug-dealer, does this make me paranoid or close-minded?
Uh... I didn't say one should go up to every street corner and hug every drug-dealer. There's a Tibetan saying that goes like this: "Love the thief, but keep a firm hand on your pocket."

I didn't even really talk about hoping others to get free from sterotyping, etc. It's part of my religion to try to get free from that. But I didn't tell you to to do that, because my religion may not be right for you.

All I really said was that I think we need to realize that our thoughts about the person are not the reality. The person is the reality, not our thoughts about them. Our mind will continue to sterotype, but I think we'd be a lot better off if we realized that the person is the reality, not the stereotype.

And I'm not saying your closed minded. I don't pass jugement on everyone who has a differing view from my own.