Some people like to jump on conveyed schisms. They lasso 'em, wrangle 'em to the ground, and declare victory.
"That's an ism you just said," and then: Discussion over. Don't say that ism exists anymore! Clearly, the issue is discussed and settled. Let's get on with our not-ism-y embodiment like proper humans... except that we are all ism-ed.
What's a good thing to do with an ism?
"That sounds ageist," is a message I recently received. I felt surprised. I thought my statements were true and not-offensively stated. A little anger followed surprise because the people who said my words were ageist appeared to dismiss my ideas with their words.
My perspective saw things happen in the following order.
Why didn't they show more curiosity in my opinion? Why did they just shut down my thoughts so quickly with a definition to which I didn't agree? I couldn't understand their actions because they weren't the same actions I would choose. Silently, I considered their statement and clarified my message. What was I trying to tell them before they dismissed my idea?
I tried again, "What if I phrase it this way,..." and another person commented, "I love that you're still on this." My mind quickly pondered whether the commenter was genuine with the expression. I reminded myself to stay focused,
"In my experience, I've found the following to be true..." Suddenly, other people opened up with agreement messages! Oh, they could totally see it when I phrased it that way, and they remembered times in their lives when they acted in a similar manner.
Very interesting. An ism observation declared in a generalized statement garnered dismissive statements. The same message delivered via inquisitive personal-experience statement elicited agreement statements and insight.
Isms are tricky beasts. They sometimes confuse and hysterize. Questions about isms may receive non-action in many forms. I may catch an ism in my mind and decline to verbalize it. Other times, I say ism-y items without realizing their ism-ness until words are out of my mouth.
Schisms divide. Classism, mental stateism, racism, ethnocentrism, jingoism, elitism. Do you perceive division in your statements? What do you say to yourself if you catch yourself in an ism? How do you proceed when you're in a group situation and someone defines your words as ism-y? Is an ism ever necessary or advisable?
Well hello there.