Your perceptions are your reality.
This statement reflects the heart of American culture.
America is the land of freedom. People are given the right to express their opinions when at another time or place they may not have for fear of persecution.
The freedom to express ideas and opinions has led to new technology, medical breakthroughs, and philosophical contributions.
For the past few weeks, I have participated in a discussion on perceptions in a speech class on campus.
The discussion focused on the stereotypes in cultures. During class, we listed multiple stereotypes and found the majority of them were negative.
Culture becomes more visible when it differs from your interpretation of mainstream.
We adopt the things we like and judge the things we don’t. Consequently, we have defined differences as negative aspects of culture.
It is true that the way you interpret the world is your truth, but I am afraid people have misinterpreted the message. The consequences of the mistake may be doing more harm than good.
Sometimes I think people perceive the message as “your perceptions are the only reality.”
The misunderstanding represses empathy and increases enmity. It silences any willingness to compromise.
I think people hide behind sayings like “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” These statements stop conversation. If everyone has their own reality, but they are not willing to see things from a different perspective, then nothing can be done.
It is impossible to discuss a controversial subject when both sides are either unwilling to listen to the other side or become defensive and argue every point.
We need to stop hiding.
I am also taking Intro to Anthropology this semester, and I quickly realized anthropology is a selfless field.
Anthropologists work to understand different perspectives by studying other people and trying to see life through their eyes.
They fight ethnocentrism. In their field, nothing is right or wrong; it is a logic. The challenge is to figure out why people think the way they do.
We should challenge ourselves to look past right and wrong. Find the logic.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. The next time you are tempted to argue, hold your tongue. Choose to consider another perspective. Pursue the conversation with an open mind and ask questions before you argue.
You may find your relationships sweeter and richer.