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30 April 2014

Stereotypical people and thoughts on being an only child

Very few things in life are quite as obnoxiously annoying as being stereotyped into a category that is not only insulting, but is also highly false.

The stereotype that blonds are dumb, I know a number of really intelligent blonds. The stereotype that women are bad drivers, I know a number of bad drivers from both sexes, as well as a number of sterling drivers from both sides. How about the one that all taxi drivers are bad? Nope, I know a few genuine minibus taxi drivers who are more considerate drivers than those in hatchbacks & sedans.
Stereotyping has been happening for thousands of years. Its been called numerous things, but pretty much what it does is classifies a group of people into a particular temperament, character, intelligence or class purely by their hair color, skin color, language, job or place they're from. It comes with varied names, racism, xenophobia, sexism, sarcasm, apardeid, curiosity and jokes. Some are not too terrible, while others have ghastly consequences.

I'm not here to write about the wrongs, and I'm certainly not here to right the wrongs. The truth is we're all guilty of this in one way or another (don't lie, you've told a blond/Afrikaans/american/clown joke a time or two), and not one of us mere humans has the power to stop it completely or fight the war against it. That's just a fact of life.

However, that doesn't mean that we cant stop ourselves from doing this. In recent years people have become more and more sensitive to "jokes", and I get why, really I do. But at the same time, those of us who are on the butt end of this stereotyping should "go with the flow", "Laugh it off", and just plain "get over it"!
Yeah, I hear you sniggering there and saying "what does she know? She grew up in a country with the bounds of racism shut down. She's wealthy. Lucky. Sheltered."
Well guess what guys, you're wrong, I've been on the blunt side of stereotypes, the funny, the stinging, the painful and the dangerous. But hey, I'm still alive, and I'm still smiling.
Whats that I hear? You say I'm talking bull? Truth is I do get angry and annoyed for being stereotyped! Well let me elaborate.

One stereotype that annoys the hell out of me is "All white people are racist". OK, firstly that statement is racist in itself. Secondly, my best friend is a wonderful and strong black woman, I have many close friends who are of other races. So, no I'm not nailing you because you are a different skin colour to me, I'm nailing you because you're an unkind ass that thinks you're better than other human beings!

Here's one, "Because you own horses, you must be really rich. Therefore I demand you give me a job/money/free ride because you know me and can afford it" 
No guys, first of all I am highly offended by people who want to use me, and I also do not own horses for fun! I own horses because they are my bread ticket, I work my butt off to be able to just make ends meet, I work really hard to survive. If I am particularly fond of you, I will offer you a ride. But if you don't get the offer, don't just think you're going to get a free ride because you know me. That's like asking for a free loaf of bread and coke if you happen to know the cashier at picknpay. It ain't gonna happen, in fact if you ask without me offering, I'll pretty much dump you as a friend. I also do not expect others who work at a job that I would love to get from, to give me free stuff. That's just not the way life works.

Another that gets me into attack mode (in fact this is the one that inspired this post) is when people ask if I have siblings, and when they hear I'm an only child they say "Oh, so you were spoilt?"
Gees dude, have you no tact? Or consideration? Or brain? Just because I'm an only child does not mean I was spoilt. Do you even know what spoilt means? It means ruined, useless, no longer good.
I dont believe I fit that category. I grew up working from as young as 8 years old. If I wanted something, I had to earn it, my parents were not cruel, but they expected me to give my best if I was to get their best. As long as I held up my end, they would hold up their end. Which is actually good, because it taught me to be ready for the world when I grew up!
I know a number of kids, many who are not only children who are in fact spoilt rotten! Kids who's parents allow them to have everything and anything they want, whenever they want it. Kids who act out, who are downright obnoxiously naughty, who throw sand at their parent's faces out of pure spite, who swear at strangers when they are only 6 years old. That is spoilt. Kids whose parents threaten to punish them for their bad behaviour and yet never get the punishment. That is spoilt.
Me, I work my butt off to carry my own load and to be a useful member of society. I was not spoilt as a child, even as "an only child".
The last one I'm going to touch on, is that "home-schooled kids are weird". We are not ALL weird, yes some are, but not all of us. And there are some weird kids that went to school too.

But hey, I still stereotype others too. I say that most Americans are pretty narrow minded (although I know a number of Americans who are intelligent, open minded, wonderful people), because I work with many of them and see their silly-ness. Plus, who can forget that Amazing Race episode where they were in Egypt and asked for a flight to Africa?
I claim that drivers from Pietermaritzburg are reckless. And I say that those who grew up here but have immigrated (or is it emigrated) away from Africa are sissies and idiots - if they left to escape the social and financial situation in Africa. 

Maybe I'm wrong in a big way, maybe I'm wrong only in a little way. But the fact is, I need to work on it. I need to work on not getting angry with others for stereotyping me, and I need to stop stereotyping others.