It is apropos that names are called handles. We prefer to have an easy way to categorize one another when we deal with individuals or groups. Sometimes we apply or even devise nicknames for others in a subconscious effort to shift the balance of power in our favor. Examples might be: “girl” or “boy” when dealing with adults we wish to hold back. Of course, we try to make our efforts subtle and often accompany them with a smile.
But it is with groups where our need for domination is strongest. We sometimes seem to be unable to assume the best in others or to believe anyone else acts from altruism. We ask, “What’s in it for them?” The forbidden subjects of politics, sex, religion, ethnicity and race raise their specters here. Heck, let’s dive right in.
In dealing with women, some men sometimes dump them all, but their mothers, into one group: broads, bimbos or b…..s. This enables those men to con themselves into a sense of superiority. In like manner, some women sometimes categorize all men, especially their husbands, as deaf and dumb except when talking with other men about other women or sports. Women often say about men, “They just don’t get it.” As a man I have no idea what that means. However, it does allow “the girls” to deal with “the boys”.
The national news media has hard and fast rules for dealing with public figures, especially politicians. According to CNN, MSNBC and Fox, there has never been an honest politician or one who is motivated by public service. They are all engaged in a conspiracy to feather their own nests while driving America off a cliff. The media relishes such handles as “corrupt”, “ignorant” and “greedy”. There are worse appellations applied also, but this is a family newspaper.
In the area of religion I have no fear of the general debate between the faithful and the doubtful. Those of us who live in New Harmony, Indiana have an ongoing dose of Father George Rapp’s religious utopia and Robert Owen’s secular one. The pious say they are spiritual while the Owenites tag them as superstitious. The Rappites say the atheistic Enlightenment adherents are lost. Each group has to have its handles for the other. For me, this represents the general debate between believers and skeptics. Of course, there are many variations of both. For example, some atheists and skeptics may see “agnostics” as hypocrites or simply bet hedgers. Christians may see Jews, Muslims and Pagans as damned and vice versa. However, there are plenty of divisions within each group which denigrate even their fellow travelers and have names for each sect.
But we humans really strive to get a handle on others when it comes to racial or ethnic groups. Some people sometimes call Germans Krauts, Irish Micks, Hispanics Spics, Japanese Japs, French Froggies, Chinese Chinks, homosexuals Queers, Arabs Ragheads, American Indians Blanket A…., Negroes N……, Italians Dagos, etc., etc., etc.
Thanks to political correctness, a good thing in my opinion, many of these handles for women, men, nationalities and races have almost disappeared. Unfortunately, some still think it is okay or even comical to denigrate individuals, groups and occupations they are not related to or a part of; moviemakers and television drama producers come to mind.
Perhaps we just need to get a handle on our insensitivity and ignorance. Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday to us Americans as we proudly proclaim all people are created equal in our great country on July 4th!