Stigma and the need for understanding

9 Feb

I’ve been contemplating how to approach this issue, as sensitive as it is, its occurence seems more and more frequent as I reflect through the last couple of years either through personal experience or watching by experience.  To be quite frank, stigma was branding or labelling.  Makes me cringe as I imagine a hot iron rod struck on cattle sssssss….thats gotta hurt.  Stigma-mental-health_54835I am talking about social stigma, how easy it was to judge or categorize an individual simply based on appearance or their actions by impression without taking to time to understand.  Why?  The notion of entitlement crossed my mind, in which an individual or a group of individuals label or stereotype as they can.  But guess what, no one is entitled.   In stricter terms, it’s basically discrimination….we were all equal.

Everyone had two hands and two feet and a face; as humans, we are all equal.  Human Rights Act also states that to…  Sure, one could be better of than another through stature, riches or car but that’s material and more importantly one could not bring it to the grave with them.   I had difficulty understanding why people took no time at all to know a person and labeled.  Was it really, the person being labelled or the individual doing the labelling own insecurities, beliefs or perceptions they project?

In my experience, very often than not it was the person that was labelling  that has issues or insecurities, but chose to ignore them and masked them.  200px-EbcosetteNonetheless, it was always painful for the individual receiving the projection.   As I read the acclaimed Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, it pains me to think wow, society has not really evolved.  Surely, by technology we came a long way, but in terms of actions, behaviour and conduct, there was still a long way to go.  Hugo was brilliant in describing delineations in social standing and perception through Fantine, the tragic heroine.  It was not her choice to be a single mother or a prostitute but society ostracized her because of her social standing nonetheless.  No one had the compassion and understood that maybe she had no other choice.  Uneducated, abandoned by her lover and continuously bombarded by demanding letters from the Thénardiers about Cosette, it was only out of motherly love she resided to prostitution to pay for the one thing most important to her, her daughter.  But no one would respect that or understand her except Jean Valjean.  Perhaps, he did as he too experienced such branding, such as the extrêmement dangereux on his papers when it wasn’t so.

Definitely puts into perspective of  Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, did the crime deserve such punishment?   Fast forward to present day, it was heart wrenching as I see around me over and over again same instances I read in a novel that had taken place nearly 150 years ago, nothing really has changed much….so stop judging, labelling and stigmatizing people for who they are.  Start getting to know the individuals or group of individuals and understand them.

stigma sucks t-shirtDeep down they very well aren’t the people whom we perceived them to be, they may well be the best people out there begging to be noticed.   Let down those barriers.   Not that I stigmatize, as I know how it feels to be labeled or slandered or categorized, let me stop stigmatizing and show understanding and respect first 🙂

For people whose gone down this road of being labeled because you’re different, love yourself.  You are who you are.


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