Weird and Wonderful would like to express why there seems to be a very pivotal situation happening across European countries and their neighbouring countries. I feel as a woman, I am being judged because I am not wearing a hijab – yes okay so, I am of a different colour; perhaps I look like I come from the middle east because I have brown skin? Of course they can see I am of a different culture. It is rather flattering that they can see I am different to them, however, I felt as though their eyes were perhaps, judging me based on my cultural differences and my appearance; at what point does this become from a weird glance to actual hatred or discrimination for those who are of a different culture? We all come from different parts of the world or have been to different parts. Weirdly enough, some cultures are more tolerant than others. This is not about a religion, this is about a culture as I will explain further below.
Goodness me Europe and neighbouring European countries. What are we becoming? Are we not regressing? Had the whole of Europe and the surrounding countries not been through a process of Human Rights and understandings? Of Course we did. So, why is it that I am feeling like my human rights as an individual are being opposed? When my rights are being opposed, then surely this is known as discrimination?
This is the question I ask myself because I feel as though I am being judged for being way too western: in a western society. I mean, I am an individual and I have walked into their area in which they collectively assemble, or live and I am the outcast. So, therefore I am an individual who is therefore in their neighbourhood and I am going in between. Maybe I am wrong to be there? However, this is just it – psychologically we need these groups to create society. This is for us to be more diverse:
Here is a statement made by Hofstede (1980):
‘Collectivism is a value more or less widely shared by members of a national community which has three components: A perception of interdependence with others; a belief of a collective ( or group) goals are either synonymous with one’s personal goals or should supersede personal goals where the two are in conflict; and finally a strong sense of in or out groups.’
What I am insinuating is that I am of a different culture and as Hofstede (1980) clearly states that once you are in a group or a community you have a strong sense of in or out groups. The question is when do we see that as more discriminating than weird?
Oh because I am dressed differently you are going to be offensive in tone or even body language.These are indirect discrimination or covert discrimination of which I actually feel intimidated by.
Yes, psychologically I feel that western cultures have more complex members of society and this may come across as weird to some cultures. For example, we have the gay community which has more rights than places like Pakistan, or Iran, or Iraq, or even Nigeria, or Uganda, or, even Brazil, or Columbia.
Another example, there is also the metal community whom wear a lot of facial jewellery and have tattoos, they are comfortable being themselves. It is okay to look but really not too long because you look judgemental. There is a fine line which can be crossed because looks can kill people – of course, if you saw a gay couple you would not want to kill them but, there have been cases around the world where people have been killed because they are seen holding hands.
When those people visit Europe you just stare at individuals whom belong to a different sub culture to them. Of course, those people may feel a little like they are lost in some other alternate world, because they are seeing people outwardly show affection; this may be deemed offensive in their own country, but, not to people in Europe. This is the culture clash problem which occurs in western society, where people are not able to understand their environment and their social interaction groups are perhaps too small for them to even be interdependent.
So this brings me to the social psychological debate of how intrusive groups can be on not only the psychological impact of themselves as individuals, but, impacting other individuals as well. At the moment, you tube are going through some changes., thinking they are tackling abuse. I feel that psychologically this could be quite an astonishing thing to admit when Capitalism turns into totalitarianism. We could be seeing a shift where things become a ‘Nanny state’: governments usually do this and they regulate how much you are allowed to drink and eating healthier – also, they are responsible for safety.
A lot of Americans do not seem to understand this regulation of taxes whereby the state takes money and then uses it somewhere else like healthcare or on other benefits like leisure centres or things which help communities become more coherent and obedient…. in a fun way. If you get the rich to pay more taxes this means the poor pay a little less and spend a little more on their families. This is the ideology of the collective coming together to pay taxes and improve the environment and their living conditions, or even educational facilities. To be honest, not a lot of countries around the world believe in a welfare system. So, this becomes a little bit of a shock to them as well, also, there a cultures whom have been accused of taking too much and not working enough. One too many cultures are accused of this unfair practice against the whole of society. However, when does this become known as discriminating the other parts of the cultures or individuals in society?
Back to the weird.
So it has been bugging me lately…. I mean, I really am comfortable with not having to fit into the religious zealous slot. I am not a seven day adventist, I am agnostic and I like it that way. I am not an atheist, no – – no – – -but I will not be going to the pearly gates or sleeping with 100 virgins. I think I had fun with Wicca at one point. Now are you seeing how complex my story is? Which adds my point….so are several other individuals in western society as complex as mine because we have choices. We are not forced collectively to choose what we like and dislike; imposing on our rights as individuals, we have the right to choose and the right to believe in whatever we like. We have the freedom to choose.
So, the glance that I received from some lady wearing a hijab felt a little like she was unaware of other religions and cultures. Or perhaps, these choices and freedoms where not shown to her. A lot of people are beginning to say, this is discrimination because several communities are not being acknowledged due to some holy crusade which is happening daily in the media, across Europe and neighbouring countries . All you hear when you switch on the news for certain countries is Muslim and something about their behaviour as a collective. Really, has anyone noticed that if you keep talking about a certain group of people, then really you are discriminating against others by not talking about them also?
Thus, I feel sorry for all the other denominations of religious people out there who are really neglected. There is a long list which is mentioned in The Land of The Midnight Sun: “Fundamental Belief”, so, this is perhaps, creating a possible boundary where people are not even able to entertain the idea of other cultures……you tube has an array of sub cultures and individuals being able to have their own opinions and values in a world where it is okay to have that diverse way of thinking. We have the freedoms to choose what we like to do. Bullying people or being collectively bullying is discrimination and therefore, a lot of people are not doing something about their social issues which means, the dislike builds; in time this probably leads to hate. But when do we acknowledge that media is affecting our lives? When do we accept maybe it is making us paranoid, because the media are neglecting other social groups? Or when will it feel less threatening?
How does a person struggle to accept other cultures and when does that become discrimination?
I mean, in western societies there are laws even protecting me, as a person and my individual rights. However, as Hofsted (1980) argues:
‘Advanced capitalist societies are characterised by cultural complexities which means that its members have available to them a wide array of ingroups. This range of choice makes them less dependent on any particular group and hence more independent of the groups to which they belong ….’
So, Capitalism admits to it’s part on creating sub cultures. It is okay to be an individual as far as it is concerned. So, the lady who looked at me very strangely, perhaps was trying to distinguish what class I was? However, it did not feel like that to me…. if these looks we have are of curiosity then why not ask me a question? I am not a feminist, I am curious to know why I am singled out or bullied because I do not believe in the same things as some religious people. When does it become imposing?
As I continue to read more of Hodsted (1980):
This social independence is reinforced by financial independence arising out of affluence and hence the more advanced the society, the more individualist its culture.
So, I take pride as an individual to be individual. I dress differently, I do what I like but abide to the law. I like the law because it protects me from any of those zealots who turn their stares into something even more discriminating with an action. So, therefore it becomes a culture clash.
I realise through this painful process of answering legitimate questions on myself…. when I do not see a kind eye and I see hostility… I am presented with a problem. If I am in a situation where there are more judgemental people than myself, am I in danger?
It made me realise why people are now under so many investigation cases because they shroud themselves under a community or even a religion when, they are showing signs of extreme prejudice – they have become the extreme of that community; giving the ones who are good a bad name. I have the logic and reasoning to do this. Other people, take the law into their own hands. This is why there is another cultural clash.
Now with these crazy hair brained ideas of a collective, this is really going to clarify why collectivism of one group or another. From a right winged group who form to even some religious zealots, or even organised crime; I am stating that once you as a collective have these ideas of being an organisation – the government ought to get involved to state your intentions to not interrupt the individuals in society as McCarthy and Zald, (1979) proclaim through the resource mobilisation theory:
‘Collective action by a social movement requires the aggregation of resources, and that in turn requires organisation. An organisation must seek to involve third parties in its campaigns, as well as mobilising its own members by an appropriate mixture of costs and benefits.’
What I am making perfectly clear is, if, a group becomes hateful towards another group; or a person becomes hateful towards another person….. surely, your ethnicity, your religion, your background does not really make you favourable? It is just plain hate. There is a fine line which is cross and now the police across Europe are doing everything in their power to protect individuals. It can be seen as intrusive, (as the police are doing their job) to those who are making people feel like they are not allowed to be individuals. This may scare the collective, I feel this is grounds to the argument. If the discrimination and the neglect becomes too much then how do the police contain the situation? Yes, there seems to be this ridiculous right winged notion sweeping Europe: you have to police the situation yourself and record the data. However, this does not stand up in court and as an individual you are not safe, you, are subjected to more unfair treatment. It is a police matter. No matter how much you would like to ignore it.
So how do we educate these people that it is okay to be an individual?
There seems to be a little problem because their prejudices have become so high they are not able to even tolerate people in society and hide away. So they are not able to gain the financial stability or make changes to their lives. Also, the media influence people with fear and loathing towards a certain group of people, which is also discriminating. If they were unaware before, now they know and really they should write to the media about it.
This adds to my further point – if your community is being attacked – the only logical way is to rebuild it by yourselves. Find different methods because no one else will do it for you. Sub cultures are influenced by more than one interaction, this more than families.
Families are just the primary connection as both Vytosky and Piaget explain, the basics of Social development and how people interact with one another. Human development is not an easy process, but, what both of these gentleman proved is; we all have the ability to learn – cognitively and we all learn at different stages. It is our influences which play a huge part on the way we think, also, the way we develop throughout life. Just looking at the diagram below and the factors which affect an individual.
Through analysing the diagram, I feel I am able to understand we as individuals are affected by so many things , which in turn, influence the way we behave and our values. Therefore, if people are able to be influenced in the workplace to think on a more diverse level, or they are even influenced by the laws which is the macro system of their existence – then perhaps, these people may be influenced to change their views and customs. However, if the work is not available to adults Interdependence the most important word in the world right now (2015), explains that if certain facilities are not available to people then they begin to feel negative. This negative interaction is mixed with hate and anger. So, when I look at these people from around the world who like to go without certain facilities which we all need – I wonder to myself, if, this is healthy for their development. Does it affect their co-existence and their resentment towards other countries? Are they able to understand that other countries have different customs? Are they able to be tolerant towards others without using violence or some kind of a threatening behaviour towards individuals because they are not apart of their collective religion, ethnicity or other sub cultures?
Then, I think about European countries and neighbouring EU are thinking about ending their health care services to make it less affordable to these people. Well, I think this is an extreme behavioural pattern in itself. Why would you want to harm yourself and others around you? Why not – create a better environment and enable yourselves to be healthy and trust in a government which will improve the lives of other’s by providing jobs for them because, they can be influenced for the positive good because of those things.
Maybe the lady with the hijab has to go through a process of interaction with interdependence. This is a positive means, to get her to understand that the environment she is now living in has several cultural backgrounds, several religions and is far more complex. I feel after reading Hofstede (1980) I am not being rude in stating that integration means a breakdown of your collective thoughts so you become socially independent. You can hold a job without being prejudice, or to even accept other’s and not be fearful of change. As the human development of cultures is questioned and the clashes of beliefs comes into focus, there is only one thing which has worried people of late which is the discrimination of every sub group.
I know it is easy to ask someone to be tolerant but, when it comes to people’s identification, Hofestede (1980) highlights without them being able to be individuals in society, there will always be this growing resentment. Then, we all have to fear when they become mobilised in their resources and begin to want an organised resistance against people. I feel, this is where I agree, with the whole imposing on the individual aspect – rather than specifically concentrating on the collective. If the law does not see you as an individual and only as a collective, then, you would be more dependent on the state. You have to be more interdependent in society to even have an individual thought process in a capitalised society; if – people are unable to appreciate an individual – then perhaps they are infringing on society? As they hide behind their sub groups of culture and then discriminate. Perhaps, they need to be taught some way? Perhaps, tolerance comes from both angles, but, it is always worth sharing thoughts so an individual feels empowered to make changes.