Assumptions vs Facts
To an essay entitled: 10 Behaviours People Find Condescending - (presented in LinkedIn on February 15, 2020 from the website: Entrepreneur)
I offer this response:
More often than not, the behaviours described in this essay (when they are actual negatives) are basically rudeness born of a lack of upbringing or the consequences of a social integration gone bad.
(Note: I will not comment on those points made which are obviously basic social no-nos. Why? They are universally accepted as such.)
Rather I will refer to those areas within this essay which caught my eye. From the very beginning, phrases such as: “everyone knows” are presented as statements of fact. Generic comments, in general, (no pun intended) cause my ‘wary radar’ warning signs to flash wildly. Why? The conclusion is immediate: the contents of the essay presented are not reflections of scientifically based information on social behaviors. In essence, pointing a finger at, under a generic “everyone knows” position, is always an assumption of grandiose proportions.
Also, making emotive statements such as: “if you walk away from another person feeling worse about yourself, there’s ‘a good chance’ you’ve been condescended to. . . .” is, again, a dangerous assumption. If accepted as a statement of probability, is it then possible to assume that there is an equal and opposite chance that ‘we could be somewhat, possibly, maybe, very, if not overly sensitive?'
We do live in an era of blended innuendos - where bullying insensitivities, micro- aggression sensitivities, victimhood, authoritarianism, right and left wing extremist actions and reactions strive to cohabit. All of these must be taken into account if we seek to establish credible terms of reference re human actions and reactions, thoughts and feelings.
The first described example of a behaviour considered by "people" to be condescending is: Explaining things that people already know.)
Why is it we assume another person knows we already know something? How do we conclude that their insistence on informing us of what we already know is a 'calculated' annoyance? How is it that we automatically determine this behaviour to be condescending? From an opposite viewpoint, is it possible. . . that it is we who are incapable of differentiating this purportedly calculated annoying action from the passion / awe being expressed (as in the reference example re Mandela)?
The very idea we assume someone is saying or doing something purposefully,without objective proof, is both arrogant and condescending. Does this not automatically self-elevate our perceptions of who and what is actually superior/annoying - and this should be the baseline for all?
The idea that everyone can read cues is a rather generalized expectation. It assumes we are all knowledgeable in the monstrously huge realm of psychology - and this in an area and time in which there is less and less direct contact among humans due to our digital attachments and virtual reality proclivities.
The generalized statement: “Anyone with a shred of self-awareness” falls into the generic category (again) of assumptions; if not superiority of perception. Self-awareness, self esteem, etc. are seriously important considerations - not because they actually are but rather because they are “in” - they determine who "fits in" and who doesn't. . .
What, in our era, is self awareness, self-esteem? It is the determination of who and what we are and how we should be based upon the determination of others within our society.
This is more a submissive consumerist stance than it is a valid self worth evaluation. It ignores, if not denies, the importance of self-respect which is a more accurate measure of our true worth as it usually would stem from a hopefully rigorous personal review of our own capacities and determinations in light of personal and societal commitments.
As for #7 : Demeaning nicknames like “Chief” or “Honey”
Yes. Chief may be a guy word and honey and sweetie a gal thing. . . That these are terms deemed to be condescending and/or dismissive is a rather dubious contention.
So, I'll stick to my primary argument. I remain wary of phrases such as "most people" know this or know that. Why? Because, at best, it is a rather flawed assumption and, at worst, a conceited perception. And objectively or factually, "most people" means nothing.
More to the point. I've experienced being called sweetie and honey many times in both my personal and professional travels. It is an endearment which I would consider odd in certain areas of the world and "oddly missing" in other circumstances. Such "different" verbal signs of recognition and acceptance are part and parcel of specific environments and how we perceive them is often a matter of our own over-sensitivities to, judgments of or reactions to "difference".
That being shared, I would suggest we should never determine such endearments as negatives in geographic areas such as the south of the United States or Bermuda (especially in regards to women calling someone “honey” or "sweetie"). We just may get our snooty duffs kicked out of the offended areas for “assuming” a superior perception of a warmth which at times openly flows from the heart of one motherly person to their closest relatives and at other times is a warm welcome or response to a stranger considered worthy.
Cultural practices are not universal and should not be treated as such by those who consider their viewpoints holier-than-thou. And in our era, where many cultures share common ground, we should be careful as to how we impose "our " considered superior communication habits.
Essentially, an evident “judging” of men who do this wrong or women who do that wrong is, in and of itself, an arrogant assumptive stance; a “they” should change their ways attitude, born within a realm of anxious perfectionist times. As previously stated, this is a dangerous proposition. It implies (appears to be) a demanding of others of that which we would never impose upon ourselves.
Bernard Poulin. . . I paint, I draw, I write