In order to coexist with others athome, work and the communities in which I have lived, I realized that the beststrategy is to let every person I interact with express himself or herselfwithout limitations or judgement.
With such an approach, I learn a lot frompeople, especially since everyone is usually honest and forthcoming withinformation if they know that no one is judging them for anything they say. Inmy personal interactions with people, I usually never care about their age,ethnicity or other demographic factors because I understand that all peoplehave the need to be treated with respect, humility and consideration. Thedescription I have for myself in my personal interactions is that I amanarchist whose principle is live and letlive. However, living this way has its challenges because, although I dolove treating every person I interact with fairly, like any other person, I doget into arguments and disagreement with the people I have interactions with inmy day-to-day life.
One time, I was having aphilosophical argument with a friend on one of the most important lifequestions; the very meaning of life, and if there is a purpose to existence onthis world. During this argument, we took opposite sides, and, in sucharguments, people usually never make concessions because one would have toadmit that his or her religious beliefs might be incorrect. As we were having anintense argument, I started to realize that, although we were on opposite sidesof the argument, my friend was making a lot of sense in his argument, and Iagreed with part of it. Instead of accepting that my agreement had everythingto do with the quality of his agreement, he indicated that the only reason Iagreed with him is that I am an anarchist. This experience showed me that,regardless of how a person perceives himself or herself, the perceptions ofothers are usually guided by presumptions made about a person in order to classifyhim among a set group of people. Sociocultural and Political Economic Connections of My Experience As a person of Indian descent,whenever people interact with me, they make assumptions based on my physicalappearance regardless of my personal beliefs, life perspectives and livephilosophy. Generally, the assumption is that an Indian looking human beingalways behaves like the stereotypical and prejudicial beliefs that people haveabout Hinduism and other related cultural aspects (Hunsberger & Jackson, 2005). In this regard, the religionin which most of the members are of Indian descent determines how everyone isperceived and treated regardless of his or her interaction with others with whomhe or she shares an ethnic background.
Since I am fairly well travelled, I haveinteracted with people in areas with varying degrees of cultural diversity,which determines the perceptions that people have towards me. When interactingwith people in places where the most population members are Indians, my placein the community is determined less by my physical appearance (Robinson, 2005). In these settings, myposition in society is determined by other factors like socioeconomic class, ofwhich I belong in the upper middle class based on the economy and othervariables in the place in which I live. However, as I change my location,my status adjusts in line with my position in society relative to the place inwhich I live, as well as the socioeconomic and ethnic characteristics of thepeople with whom I interact. In multicultural places like major cities, Iusually find myself among the minority ethnic groups, and my physicalappearance plays a greater role in how people see me and interact with me. Inthese settings, the assumption is usually that I am of Indian descent, so Imust share all the stereotypical and prejudicial characteristics that areshared by other Indians. The difference between how I am perceived, and thechange in my social status as indicated here is as a result of changes in thedemographic composition of the place in which I am staying (Zarate, Garcia, Garza, & Hitlan, 2004).
These perceptions areusually not conscious, whereby people do not usually make a decision to bediscriminative or presumptive, but the subconscious process leads them tobehave differently regardless of how they feel about me. My understanding ofthe basis of how people behave towards others depending on their ethnic orracial background serves as one of the reasons I have taken a somewhatanarchist approach to life. My experience with my friend, who isof Anglo-Saxon descent, was affected by how a person changes in social statusdepending on the people with whom he or she interacts and the context in whichthe interaction occurs. Since the interaction occurred in a setting in whichthere are no political or economic reasons to be discriminative, I understoodit to mean that my friend’s subconscious is driven by ideas that he has butcannot express about people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Forinstance, due to religious and cultural reasons, Indians are usually assumed tobe pacifists, with the most popular pacifist Indian being Gandhi who used a nonviolentapproach in leadership (Ojwang, 2005). Based on this assumptionabout people of Indian decent, by approach of taking an anarchist approach todiscussions and arguments, it seems like I am confirming and propagating thestereotype.
Instead, I am usually just trying to be reasonable and avoidunnecessary disagreements whenever possible, although I do have my fair shareof disagreements.