Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Accepting Differences

My present college, my earlier university and almost all b-schools in the country pride themselves on their student diversity. Infact, as an HR major I’ve read courses in Diversity Management, several hundred papers written about it, that I researched for own my paper. What rings true is even after so many of “I’m different” and “I don’t belong here”, I rarely meet someone I can hardly understand. All diversity means to people is races, ethnicity and languages. But that’s not all, there are economic classes, skin tone bias, accent bias, marital status bias, different schools of thoughts, acceptance of varied value systems, to name a few. And, are any of us skilled to handle that? Anyone ever taught us that? In our well thought approach of talking about everything in a politically correct manner, and our b-school’s proactive approach of giving us a brief on it, before we really face it, the question is we don’t yet recognize the real diversity and the fact that many of us lead our lives in our wonderful confiscated little cocoons, not realizing how royally we screw up in real lives.

Let’s start with a few. The distinction of people belonging to the smokers category. Worse yet, if you’re a girl. The sect cliché for the female smoker group goes: Females who smoke sleep around. Truly, people who smoke all know the health hazards of it already and still choose to do it, there is nothing else common between them. Infact, Smokers are less of a cult than MBAs. MBA league, so called diverse background are relatively a homogenous mix, as compared to smokers. Most smokers have nothing in common: timings, frequency, or even brand, let alone their sexual preferences. Girls who’ve atleast lived in the diverse arrangement once, and smoked would testify. They’re looked down upon, are judged about our relationship status, attitude towards the opposite sex (sometimes even same sex, really). Its more amusing to me than anything else.

Should I start writing about Marital Status? Broken marriages are scary, to anyone, and I don’t deny that. But most people are not equipped enough emotionally to handle it. They either stop talking to divorced people, or spread rumours about their sexual activities, or the assumed past sexual activities, without basis ofcourse. The funny part is, this is not even happening to them, they don’t have to face it. They do not have to face the agony of a past scar so deep that it almost always affects their present lives everyday, they don’t have to face social judgments, they don’t have to face awkwardness of not letting yourself be, the loud smirks your brain and your heart makes inside your head everytime someone mentions the M word. And still, even as an outsider they cant handle their world. And by experience, what have we learned, people who cant do it, stand out and curse it. And again, its more amusing to me than hurtful now.

How many of us are going to be man enough or more aptly woman enough to accept the skin tone bias? Ofcourse, it exists. Not just during love selection, also during roommate selection, while making work group, chum selections, class representative election, choosing Ms. Fresher. Apparently, logic and intelligence only come in handy when you have a skin tone fairer than the rest to go with it.

Language Barrier? Not the usual cross cultural slides we learn in OB. But the true language barrier we face in our country. Most of us MBA’s do not have to face it. Come on! We come through selection tests which marks us on an English scale of a far-fetched high standard, are interviewed and GD-ed and really what do you think are those communication marks for? English. Most of us, taking the worse case, know people who have bad grammar, and that’s all, this is our definition of a not-so-good education. Do either of us have an outlook open enough to know that someone in the present India, who does not speak a word of English is just as smart, or even more? Unfortunate as it may be, I even know people in my own class who think less of others cause they didn’t know who Dylan is.

This is still touching just the brim. There are spending power assumptions, believers are frowned upon more than the non-believers, introverts are taken as stuck up, extrovert females are tagged flirtatious, extrovert boys become Mr. Fresher’s and many more. Ironically, no one judges people with two boyfriends, or un-countable girlfriends, no one thinks less about people who abuse teachers who make you work, noone is held accountable for making stories about others, or about conniving morons who get back at you by asking implausible questions at the end of your presentation.

I’m just let down I guess. I thought elite education gives a certain sophistication of thoughts, and sensitivity in perspective. But maybe not. People are people, no matter what, and no matter where. Even still, does anybody else think it’s so uncanny that as individuals we hate them and as a plural entity we are them. We the people, suck.


Saurav Arya said...

I would like to take the issue that you have raised to psychological and scientific level.
Knowingly/unknowingly we all discriminate and we have failed to understand the real meaning of diversity.We think that we are thinking but we are just rearranging our prejudices. Elite education cant help much in changing our perception.We will have to rely on Biotech and make some changes in our genetic coding to understand real meaning of diversity. ;)
Don't be upset. You've a reason to celebrate.You have comeup with a thought provoking and inspiring post. :)


no matter how much we hate this , but we have to live in this....... ,so stop bothering about it and enjoy it !!!!!

Eternally Stupidified said...

To be very honest, there is no harm in accepting that people r judgmental, and discriminating. It’s hard to look at anybody without any preconceived notion, and that reflects the way we behave with the individual. It’s hard to blame any one aspect of our upbringing to for it, so we can either surrender to it or face it. One should have the soundness in thought to actually confront his judgments, to verify if it’s true. My parents were anxious to know that I will have to share my room with students who belong to certain section of the society, but five months down the line, after knowing more about them, their opinions changed.
The idea is to have openness in your thought, and the patience to validate your judgment, and the rest will be alright.
What say :)

Unknown said...

curiosity. when its not fulfilled people talk. It also has an elevated counterpart its called scientific enquiry. Is light a particle?..no way..the bitch must be a wave.

here's my blog http://deftlydaft.blogspot.com/

Unknown said...

@ Arya

I like how you say it, we think we are thinking but we are merely rearranging our prejudices. As I said, we're still merely touching the surface. There's a lot more from where this is coming. I'd like to read your thoughts on it too, knowing that you've probably faced a lot more than me. Write and share :)

Unknown said...

@ Al-Haqu Murun

I'm not bothered, I'm more towards the surrender stance actually. But I cant help but notice, and then I cant help but write.

Unknown said...

@ AM

I am not saying that I have the full openness in accepting people either, nut I know that I try a lot harder than just taking what comes my way. I try to give chances.

Just how you mentioned your parents and their notions, similarly, I feel too that people should rather give chances and step out from their complacent boundaries, just that, give chances. But the problem is, most people dont, most people stay away and reaffirm the beliefs, ignorance, which later gives way to indifference, and then its like people who're different dont exist.

On a lighter note, remember how Barney said it on his Penguin Poster? "People who're different, get left out in the cold".

Sonia said...

My husband-to-be studied in a Hindi-medium school, but he made it to NID and has a great career. I don't know who Dylan is! I still believe we're both good people - no matter what the prejudiced league would think of us!

I agree with your chance-giving approach to life. I would rather go by experiences than sayings!

Sonia said...

haha....btw I love the 'Nainy meets Barkha Dutt' ending :

"We the people, suck."

Unknown said...

people will never stop speaking and we shouldn't bother about that.always beleive that your life is a gods gift and that nobody can ever spoil it..love yourself and be an example.

Rahul Rathi said...

Lifez nt merely a coin with two conventional aspects, on every degree of rotation u find new experiences, some bitter some sweet, some expected some unexpected, some covered n some uncovered n gettng face to face with all such aspects make u EXPERIENCED . . I truly stand by the thoughts of the affable 'LIL' author

AJ said...

so true

Unknown said...

i very well understand why u chose to pour your heart out at this matter coz i feel the same.its really sad to come across incidents which reflect the immatured behaviour of a host of people and more so coz of the time and energy spent on brooding over them...but the truth is u need to accept the double faced and pseudo attitude of people around u...its reality...make urself so much immune to these occurances that u never bat an eyelid for them...im trying to do that..but then dear there are people who will always be like a ray of bright hope and thought,who'll feel the same, if possible take initiative to bring about a change and will not let life suck...justlook around..they are there!!!

P.S-what about forming a "BRING A CHANGE" club!!!

Aditya Dubey said...

I've seen and experienced a lot of what you write about. There is definitely a propensity towards labeling and classifying in our society and even the so-called elite educated class. However, I have found that its more a question of an inability to understand the other person's point of view. From a purely liberal democratic basis, it seems outrageous that there should be intolerance, bias or prejudice of any kind. However, what is said in theory, doesn't always work in the real world.

I've found that people revert to stereotypes because that's the easiest way for them to deal with anything which is outside their usual realm of experience/knowledge. Also, such stereotyping/labeling is more on a mass basis. I have often found that dealing with even the most seemingly prejudiced/biased person on a personal basis for some period of time, does bring about a change in thought. Anyway, this is getting too long now.

Shailesh Mishra said...

Been a long time since I've been around here - So have to read the past few posts to catch up.

But I'm curious. what could be the trigger for you to right er... (to put it in a non-delicate manner) explosive post?

Yeah, these are the things people discuss and talk about but there seem to be a more aggressive tone than being just disagreeable.

I can agree/disagree to the points above but then it always have been a debate and probably will continue if not eternally but at least for the next decade. A nations' sociology doesn't change immediately. Of course, I guess the GenX is made up of us so we're do decide the course of flow of events and the new acceptable norms of belonging to the society.
There will always be a group of people and probably a bigger one which will disagree but content yourself by make belief that we're the elite and hence few. Let the mass argue and disgruntle - till the time I'm leading my mini-world, I don't care.

And of course, there's the point of "Without evil, there can be no good." So in a way it is them who make us see the better among the crowd and it's them in a sad but acceptable way which brings balance and Excitement in our otherwise perfect mini-world.

Unknown said...

@ Sonia

Yehi toh. What I am rings so fucking loud, people hardly hear what I'm saying.

@ Nidhi, Bunty, AJ

:) Thanks.

@ Manpreet

:) Yeap. And well, thank god for that.

@ Aditya

I agree to what you said. Matter of factly, saying is easy too. The deal is, when expectations weigh so high, its damn easy to conform too? With me, so far?

And.. I like big comments. Maybe there are things I overlook, and I like other's point of views. Feel free.

@ Shailesh

Like I've said before, every word I write is very sentimental. Infact, I cant write anything I don't feel for. The main reason, I cant be working for print or any other media to script. Injustice is omnipresent in the world, maybe it neutralizes the omnipresent god. Validating your without evil point. Anyway, this going haywire now. So I'll stop. I liked reading your thoughts but.

Shailesh Mishra said...

We don't have to agree - Isn't that all what Free thinking is about? :)

Keep Writing - It's something which stimulates me and since I know it's something which you write because you feel, it makes it even better

Raj said...

"Stirring" is the word, I personally hate, because its makes u inquisitive about things which should not in general be given due importance. Long after I have got this stir. Being philosophical sometimes fetches a good afternoon sleep but not every time. A good vision always finds out the beautiful shell within the muddy, shabby sand or mud. All that matters is "Perception"...Its da time of ur life rawk on!!