Don’t be an “ic” or an “ist”

I was watching a video this morning about ISIS and Muslims. The Muslim woman was explaining how much most Muslims hate ISIS, not just because of the way ISIS targets other Muslims, but how other people use ISIS as an excuse to harm everyday Muslims. Those who are “Islamophobic” can’t seem to differentiate between the terrorists and Muslims who are trying to lead their lives in a better, more spiritual way. This got me to thinking.

Muslim reading the Holy Qur’an (Rafik Beshay /

Let’s take another -ic word—misogynistic. There are guys in the world who think that women are not worthy of respect or fair treatment. They think that ALL women belong in a kitchen. Hmph. I know some women who should be kept as far away as possible from the kitchen. Not just because they are terrible cooks, but because that gives them easy access to knives.

People who are “homophobic” think that all gay people are the same and that they are in some way reprehensible. I have met a lot of gay people. Many of them are creative, funny, interesting and a lot of other positive adjectives.

L. Ron Hubbard has a concept that is one of my favorites. A=A=A (Anything = Anything = Anything)

Let’s take a look at another group of people. These are the “-ist” people, starting with racists. Racists of any color think that those of another color are ALL __________. You have to fill in the blank with what you’ve heard. Pick any adjective—stupid, mean, whatever.

I hope you’re seeing the theme here. To be any of these things, you have to ignore individuals and just put all the people of a group into one category. How lazy can you be?

L. Ron Hubbard has a concept that is one of my favorites. A=A=A (Anything = Anything = Anything). I’ll give you an example. You meet Sally and take an instant dislike to her for no logical reason. Upon investigation the A=A=A computation went this way, deep in your head: Sally looks a lot like an old math teacher you had who used to smack you with a ruler when you got something wrong. Sally = the math teacher = pain = I hate math = I hate Sally. You can see that this could be a problem in your everyday life.

This can be an even bigger problem when you do the same sort of computation on entire portions of the human race. Bill (whose ancestors are from the Middle East) = a terrorist = someone you should harm and drive out of our country. Several years ago, I met a very nice Persian man who was Jewish. His family was driven out of Iran because they were Jewish. Then in America he experienced a great deal of discrimination and bullying because he was from the Middle East. Both of these actions were merely an expression of A=A=A.

(Mikhail Leonov / Shutterstock)

The media feeds this mental confusion by announcing gleefully whatever group they determine should be held responsible for an individual’s behavior. What catches your attention more—Joe Schmoe, a member of the Holy Moly church, killed someone, or Joe Schmoe, local landscaper, killed someone? Either addition (landscaper or member of a church) leads you to believe that not only is Joe bad, but implies that there’s something wrong with the group he belongs to as well. A=A=A on his group is just weird, no matter what group you mention.

What does it matter what group Joe belongs to, unless that group has a stated purpose of wiping out other people or groups? Does it matter if he is Russian, Mexican, Christian, Jewish, black, white, tall, short, red-haired…? No, because most of the other people in that group are fine. This headline would be more sensible if you feel you must include a group. “Joe Schmoe, landscaper, killed someone today. 1,293,549 other landscapers did not kill anyone today.” That’s the truth of it.

People are individuals. Most are good, some are evil. Don’t be lazy and just paint everyone of a group with the same brush.

I invite you to actually look instead of just going the lazy route of being an “ic” or an “ist.” If Joe is a jerk, don’t just assume that all of the people in whatever groups he is a member of are the same.

WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. People are individuals. Most are good, some are evil. Don’t be lazy and just paint everyone of a group with the same brush. You close yourself off from some pretty amazing human contact if you do that.

Deanne Macdonald
Business consultant and student of life.