Yes, I’m a stereotype. A Prius driving, NPR listening mom. But not so fast with the cliches.
Yes indeed, I’m a stereotype. A sun ripened Southern California cliche in the flesh. A Prius driving, NPR listening mom. And a vegan on top of it. I can see your eyes rolling from here. Yes, this is me. I’m sure you can probably ascertain other things about my profile by that description too. I’m an animal lover, a dog rescuer. I read the New York Times, I listen to the BBC.
I look “nice”, if not benign. Milk toast. White bread. A pushover.
I’m that person who can discuss the benefits of a whole food diet, or probiotics, or the latest exercise trend, riff an hour or so on social justice. Oh, and botox. Well, because I do live in LA and I love me some botox.
Some other things you’ll probably assume correctly about me.
- I recycle.
- I work out. (Yes, that does sometimes include Yoga).
- I spend lots of time in that Prius, here’s a post I wrote about some of the slightly bizarre things I now do in my little Toyota hybrid, that I never in a million years thought I’d ever do, but sitting in traffic is one of my all time favorite pastimes.
So far I fit the cliche pretty well don’t I? I’m exactly what you’d expect. But there are parts of me that don’t quite fit. Some things you might not expect from that mom cliche.
- I adore R&B and Hip Hop.
- I’m learning to play the drums.
- I love cowboy boots (looking for a vegan leather brand, so if you know of one hook me up!)
- I enjoy shooting and going to the gun range with one of my BFF’s.
- Sometimes I’d rather drink a Bud Light than an expensive Sauvignon Blanc.
Maybe not what you’d assume if you saw my milky white momness sitting in the carpool line at school.
This is where the danger lies.
We look at someone and believe we can categorize them from a few simple facts. We believe that we can define a person by the car they drive. The part of town they live in. Or even more dangerous, by where they were born. Their accent. The shape of their eyes. The color of their skin.
We think that those things add up to a certain “type” of person.
It’s far easier to assume you know what someone is like than to take the time to get to know them. Up close and personal.
Cliches and stereotypes are so easy. They’re society’s shorthand that keeps us at arm’s length from whole groups of people. People who don’t look, act, think or vote like we do.
But the more I’m alive the more I realize that those shortcuts to understanding so often lead me in the wrong direction.
- That old white man in the dirty track pants? A Vietnam veteran.
- That young black man in the hoodie? Straight A honor student.
- That woman covered in tattoos? Master’s Degree.
I’m not getting all preachy, I’m just saying easy with the assumptions.
So the next time you see a bland, blond mom in the carpool line, don’t assume she’s listening to Kenny G. She just might be jamming to some Feddy Wap. You just never know.
So, let’s stop judging each other from a distance, from a checklist, and instead try to judge people by the reality of who they are.