AWK FTW Yet Again

I’m quite a fan of Andrew W.K’s column in the Village Voice, “Ask Andrew W.K.”

He’s always given sound advice to those who write in with an even head, reasoned temper, and responsive pen, but here he knocks it out of the park when responding to a young man full of vitriol and hatred for his cheating ex-girlfriend.

Take a moment to read this article and give it the full weight it deserves, especially if someone’s ever been unfaithful to you.  There’s a lot of great insights here worth pondering.

In situations where we’ve been hurt by someone, our natural instinct is to lash out at everything we associate with that person. But we can quickly find ourselves “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”…

We must resist the temptation to lump everyone together and make sweeping generalizations and stereotypes based on our experience with just a few people, no matter how unpleasant those experiences were. When people defend this approach, they often say, “Well, stereotypes exist for a reason.” And yes, stereotypes do exist for a reason, but not because they’re accurate judgments of people’s character.

Stereotypes exist because thinking deeply and honestly is challenging and tiring, and it saves a lot of time not having to think that hard all the time. But when we decide to jump to conclusions about people without investing too much thought into our judgments, we get substandard results, and that’s what stereotypes are — low-level generalizations of impossibly complex things, i.e., people.

It’s nearly impossible to make accurate sweeping judgments about individual human beings. People are simply too complex, too layered, and too nuanced to be understood as a set of labels or classifications. To think of people as “types” dehumanizes them.

Have a great Thursday.  More to follow.


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