People tend to place others under stereotypical umbrellas. Talking about your faith, politics, morals and life choices is a great thing to do. I consider it wonderful that people are able to have respectable conversations with one another about such things. In doing so, we allow each other to voice opinions whether or not we agree with them. What is unacceptable is when people overgeneralize one statement and consider themselves experts on who the person is.
Too often, I hear people voice their opinion on abortion, or about how they disagree with a lifestyle choice and automatically the person they are conversing with saying, “so that must mean you believe…” What we assume about others is not always true. The fact that they hold one belief or one opinion does not qualify them for other supposed stances they “should” have. A person can live the life of a Christian and also support gay marriage. People don’t always belong in just one box. For example, if someone is voting for Mitt Romney, people may think the person must be completely against welfare. On the flip side, if someone voted for Obama, then others think that person must want the government to just hand out money to whomever needs it. We can bring this to a Whitworth level too. Someone may carry around a mason jar as a cup and they are instantly classified as a hipster. That overgeneralizes peoples’ lives based on one stance or life choice. I remember once telling someone I was a Christian, and they responded by saying because I am a Christian I must believe one thing, and live life this one way. People have made incorrect assumptions about me to my face, and it made me take a step back and realize that I have made boxes for others that I need to rid myself of. Respect each other when talking about different beliefs and opinions. Once someone voices their thoughts, don’t assume that the rest of their life, but rather continue asking them questions. Find out from others what else they believe and you might be surprised that they do not fit into the box you put them in.
Williamson is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications. Comments can be sent to hwilliamson15@ my.whitworth.edu.