Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stereotypes and Assumptions

I hate stereotypes. I hate them with a blinding passion.

Why? Because I don't fit them at ALL.

This is a common problem within the people I hang out with, just because we're all a little... odd.

I'm a stay-at-home mom. Does this make me Suzy Homemaker? Anyone who's been to our house knows better.

I don't work. Does that mean I couldn't make a decent income? Not at all.

I live in Scottsdale and my husband earns all the money. Do I wear designer clothes and spend all day at the spa gossiping? No, I have better things to do and considering that I spent yesterday elbow-deep in the smoker designer clothes would be stupid.

I like my guns. Am I a far-right nutcase? No. But I DO love putting holes in paper and making things explode.

I listen to country music, run a bbq, fry chicken, and make cornbread. Does this make me a Southern redneck? No, I listen to what I identify with (country is the only music still written for adults after all) and I love to cook comfort food. I also make a mean creme brulee.

We send the kids to a private Catholic school. Are we elitist snobs or ultra keep-all-things-secular-away religious? No.

If you knew only ONE of these aspects of my life, what would you think of me and expect of me? What would you assume based on one little detail?

I'm lucky that I grew up in AZ, where there's relatively little real racism. When I see people I only make assumptions based upon how they present themselves. But I'm still guilty of making assumptions. And, let's face it, stereotypes exist for a reason. In most of our interactions with strangers we don't have the time to get to know the other person. Add in the old media and their portrayals of certain groups, and its hard to avoid making a few assumptions.

But just because I may be singing along with "Boondocks" at the top of my lungs in my Expedition doesn't mean that's not a Brighton Collectibles purse next to me, or that I'm not headed to pick up my fresh-roasted single-source coffee beans in Tempe. Or that I won't be stopping at BevMo on the way home for a couple of microbrews for Chris, or headed to the school to pick up the kids from their private school like all the other stay-at-home moms PV, Arcadia, and Scottsdale.

On the other side, just because I may be chatting on my iPhone in Scottsdale Fashion Square while shopping for a nice pair of heels doesn't mean that when I get home I won't get into my scrungy clothes and give our Rottweiler/Pit Bull puppy a bath or head to range for some shooty goodness.

Assumptions are occasionally useful. Just don't be afraid to throw them all away.

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