Maybe if we focus on the person,
we may come to see the packaging in a different light.
“They’re nice but, you know, they belong to that political party.”
“She’s a retired teacher. So cheerful. Just don’t understand how she could support that candidate.”
“Don’t talk to them. They don’t look like us.”
“Did you see that t-shirt? Didn’t know they cheered for that football team. Makes no sense.”
“You go to what church? OMG!”
We’ve all heard variations of the above. Probably with a lot stronger language. We find ourselves captured by the labels. Race. Sexual orientation. Spirituality beliefs. Political affiliations. Sports team allegiance. Neighborhood choice. Types of cars or trucks we drive (!). On and on.
Example: Two (of the, what would you say, bazillion?) labels in political diatribes: socialist and fascist. The descriptors are thrown around with little regard to meaning—actual definition. They become shorthand to slam a person of the other political party. Little thought given to the continuum on which they lie. Rather than attempt to understand the person or group, we toss a label. Draw the line. Easy.
And prone to error as the labels miss the nuances, the similarities between two (supposed) contrary ideas that could never share (so the reasoning goes) a thought or value.
The packaging becomes more important than the person in this context. An easy way to avoid critical thinking and remain “loyal” to our tribe.
An episode of Schitt’s Creek highlighted this using wine as a metaphor. Daniel tells Stevie that he is “Into the Wine. Not the Label.”
Into the person. Not what we call him.
Into the character. Not what moniker is placed upon her.
Into the totality of one’s life. Not that her preferences may differ from ours.
Into the Person. Not the Package.
Of course, when the person’s life, his totality of actions and interactions IS consistent with the packaging, then we can have a different conversation. Until then…maybe if we focus on the person, we may come to see the packaging in a different light.
Video recommendation for the week:
From Schitt’s Creek, Season 1, Episode 10.
Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.
My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.
Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.
Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.
In the meantime, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
- Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.
You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Many of my friends, especially those online, have views radically different from mine. So, I have taken to heart your wisdom here: Look as the person, not the package. It makes ALL the difference. Thanks, Steve.
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Thank YOU, Marian, for your critical thinking skills.
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