Tag Archives: stereotype

Teleworking week 4: view from home – online safety

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The above is a humorous perspective. Yet, joke aside, we massively moved on-line, we must surf it ever more cautiously. Europol and law enforcement agencies warn us of cybersecurity threats and ill-intended minds.

Ever more, children’s exposure is to be watch with constant care for their well-being. Take a cybersecurity basic course and be equipped. Check permissions on your PC. Close the camera with a sticker. Talk gently to kids about it.

Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 1

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The closest pharmacy to my place is on the ground floor of my apartments bloc. The other day, as I was waiting outside for my turn to enter, a seniour citizen in his late 70s “approached” me:

– You are not wearing a mask…. Why?, he asked, a bandana in his hand.

– I do not need to. It serves those who are sneezing, coughing…, I answered summoning all my empathy.

– You know, he replied, I am terrified. I watch the TV and see all that….

– I have no TV for ten years now.

– You may be right, he said,…about the TV.

– Would you like to go inside the pharmacy? I can wait, I offered.

He gladly took my offer. I could hear their conversation. The pharmacist assumed he had hearing problems so he was yelling his answers. The gentleman was clearly scared. He did not buy anything. He needed human interaction and hypeless communication.

There is no right or wrong way to react to all around in these new circumstances. It’s one thing to watch a SF movie and another to be here and now. This is one of the reasons I never liked SF movies and apocalyptic views.

Back to the story of this gentleman. He is one of the millions, indoors, with a TV only as a company, probably, his loneliness brought at another level… . Psychologists already noticed it. Too many bad news and little information on recovery is dangerous for the human psyche. Psychologists around the world keep encouraging to try to look for positives and share them when you talk to others. It is demonstrated by research that a stressed mind diminishes the immune response.

Some countries and regions have installed services for people to call and talk to someone. Some of us are doing it at personal level – through baskets of solidarity or food ordered and delivered to those who need it. I see it in my country, enabled by charities joining forces with the business, like Diaconia and Kaufland.

Again, on a personal level one can read a book by skype/phone or start a virtual book club. Or put together a list of online entertainment: free opera streaming, concerts, movies, virtual museums visits etc. Little gestures which bring a human voice and touch to a lonely human heart … .

I loved Daniel Kaufmann’s article of this week “Caremongering – random acts of kindness” https://www-brookings-edu.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/19/caremongering-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-random-acts-of-kindness-and-online-enrichment/amp/

Here is to caremongering – random acts of kindness today and everyday.

Biases

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I was traveling from Strasbourg to Frankfurt by bus last Summer. When I arrived at the bus station, there was a huge crowd with luggage, strollers and bags everywhere. Children, elderly, women, men. 50 percent Arabic. A vivid crowd.
My math skills are not great, but I could easily see that one bus will not fit us all. Half an hour later a second bus arrives. The Arab group of passengers rushed to load their luggage into the bus. Once in, children, elderly and women boarded. Men went last. The doors of the second bus are still closed and the Dutch driver is adamant: until the first bus is full, no one gets on the second bus. He says there is one more sit in the first bus. No one moved.
I took my travel bag and moved to the first bus. “They will not blow their own people” my mind reassured me and started designing contingency plans. “Well, done, human rights trained lawyer!”, my heart responds. There it was, a bias I did not even suspect I had. Once in, my brain slowed down. Kids, women were sited in front sits. All men took their seats in the back of the bus. Five minutes later, another white young lady entered the bus. She looked scared screening faces in the bus. She spotted mine and immediately relaxed.
Throughout the two and a half hour trip, there seemed to be a certain unspoken harmonious structure. I sat next to a ten-year old girl who learned German from a grammar book. Her mother and brother sat behind. She was constantly apologizing whenever her children would be louder than usual. An hour into the trip, snack time seemed to be a family meal. Everyone shared with everyone food they had. A baby was crying. All women around would hold him in turns to help the young mother. Where was the danger my brain warned me about?!
“Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we’ve seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how.” Verna Myers http://www.ted.com/talks/verna_myers_how_to_overcome_our_biases_walk_boldly_toward_them

Labeling: too human to give up?

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I was once called greedy. At a break, in a workshop meant to entertain us the moderator made us draw pigs. I drew one in the middle of a folded sheet. She declared it ‚ a pig made by a greedy’. I would have called it ‚a pig made it by an environment conscious person’ :)– same sheet had many uses, before going into recycling.
I was taken aback by this labeling in a moment when I was fully voluntarily involved in a shelter for single mothers at risk of abandoning their babies. Humanly natural, this comment hurt my feelings and my ego asked for revenge.
Behind that story my mind raised a more essential question: what makes us jump into conclusions and judgments about people we barely know and even people we know or we think we know. Is it the internal confused, deprived of self-approval, self-critical dwarf that makes some label others? Is it prejudice, stereotyping? the ability to jump into conclusions? a misjudgment? Is it the temporary short-lived pleasure of feeling ‚better’ that is triggered by ‚i know it all’ perspective? Is it a past experience of a bullying’s victim seeking revenge now as an adult?

What I know is that critique attracts critique and misunderstandings. Misunderstandings are counterproductive in building healthy relationships. And we need healthy relationships to grow into better human beings.

A Dalai Lama or Osho will almost certainly never use labels of any kind. The reality is as such that we do not always communicate with dalai lamas and oshos in our daily lives.

There always be people who would try to fix you with a label. It’s their choice. Your choice is greater: if you do not want a label or feel it is not just, nothing makes you stay near a labeling-person. It’s the loss of labelers who, preoccupied with labeling, miss great opportunities to learn about themselves, to build positive institutions, to bring out the best out of themselves and to engage  with potentially someone great as yourselves.

Do you remember your first kiss?

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I do. Soft, tender, sweeter than anything earth-ish, which left an unforgettable taste of a Philippino island.

Then there was another first kiss: demanding, wild, absorbing, exhilarating which left a taste of the savage North sea on my burning with desire lips.

Then there was another first kiss: blissful, full of gentleness and giving promises of forever young under a Southern sunshine.

Then there was another first kiss: shy, gently asking if ok to go forward, paving the way for an unbelievable make up sex in the midst of a marriage rebirth.

Then there was a silent first kiss where two craving mouths have never met and still experienced a feeling of ecstasy mixed with the fine taste of chastity and fidelity …

Some of us grow up with the stereotype that there is ‚only one first time’, incomparable  unforgettable  ‚the one and only’. I find it to be such a limiting perspective… My first stereotyped kind of kiss was a disaster I still laugh about.

My heart opened to terrific memories of other first kisses. Each of them is a first.

Each of them gets that award – The One and Only.

I have a strong inner feeling other Firsts will follow, anew, to renew my commitment to love and life.

Do you remember your first kisses?…