In our society lawyers and used car salesmen as a group have been given a reputation as dishonest. An old joke goes that “99% of the attorneys give the honest 1% a bad name.” A common insult said behind someone’s back would be “I sure wouldn’t buy a used car from that guy.”
Stereotypes, whether they be about racial groups or about occupational groups, are sometimes based, at least in the remote past, in some form of truth. Maybe only a grain of truth, but still a gain. Of course we know that stereotypes do not hold for every or even the majority of the members of a group about whom it is bandied about. Not all whites are racist, not all blacks are dumb, not all Jewish people are tight fisted, not all Irish are drunks, not all policemen are on the take or are brutal, not all politicians are crooks, etc. But all these stereotypes ARE based on someone seeing at least one person who was in those groups behave in that manner.
People tend to, be like animals, they put other groups of “animals” into catagories. Cats are generally naturally afraid of all dogs, that is until they get to know at least one dog and that that dog is not a danger to them, but then, the cat generalizes that “dogs are actually okay” to ALL dogs, so when Brutus-the-cat-hating Mastiff comes along, Kitty is not prepared to be CAUTIOUS around strange dogs because all the dogs she knows are nice, so she sidles up to Brutus in a friendly manner and BAM!@!! She is grabbed and shaken to death.
Just like “Kitty,” we humans try to make sense of our environment about what is safe and what isn’t safe and might hurt us. That includes trying to decide which other people are safe to be around and which are not. We use different characteristics about people to make these decisions. One of the first ones is “how does mommy and daddy feel about this kind of person?” I have noticed that even cattle and their calves use this same method. If a cow is afraid at the approach of a human, the calf will run away from the “danger.” But if the cow is tame and stands there, the calf will eventually creep up to sniff my hand and become calm and unafraid around me because it observes how “mom ain’t afraid of that creature so I won’t be.”
Our parents are tasked with KEEPING US SAFE in the world. Protecting us from accidents, nurturing us emotionally and physically, and when we cry they should come to us to reassure us that they are there to take care of us, thus giving the child a sense of being loved, cared for and heard. It doesn’t always turn out that way though…as some parents neglect and abuse, or even kill their children. The early needs for attention and love are not met for the child, later leaving an adult with “issues” related to early deprivations. Sometimes these needs to be loved are met by not having boundaries around people, even abusive people.
Of course, not all children who were abused or neglected become abusers or neglecters of their own children in turn any more than all children who are sexually abused by adults become pedophiles themselves, but some percentage in each category do become like the people who abused them.
Some families seem to produce more alcoholics than others, some more drug users, some more violent, and some cultures seem to produce more violence and lawlessness (by western standards at least) than others. Some religions loudly condemn the lives of others as sinful, hateful and degenerate, while other religious groups embrace these same people and warmly welcome them to the pews of Currently, the world is viewing on news shows and in newspapers, Muslim factions fighting and killing each other and fighting their governments and the US presence, giving the world a “stereotype” of ALL Muslims in general as evil suicide bombers.
Stereotypes grow from our minds trying to put people and things into broad categories and yet, somehow, we must make sense out of our universe, otherwise we would be on HYPER ALERT AT ALL TIMES, continually stressed and fearful.
I watched a rabbit grazing in a field, his ears scanning his environment as he ate….as I walked up in his direction, the birds in the area made squawks, and from experience and observation, the rabbit stopped grazing and looked around for danger. By then I had stopped and stood very still, and the birds stopped their squawking, so he went back to grazing, but not panicked, but simply wary and keeping an eye and ear out for predators. Being aware of his environment. Not worrying about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow, but observing and acting on what was happening. As a rabbit, with few defenses except to run and hide, he knew that his life depended on being able to find food and to running if a predator was near and hiding in a thick pile of brush that a predator couldn’t penetrate.
Many victims of male offenders tend to lump “all men” into to one “group” that can’t be trusted, or vice versa with men who were victimized by women. If your abuser was black/white/Jewish/Muslim/Christian then you might become prejudiced against whatever group or religion they belonged to.
The truth is though, that people of all colors, all nationalities, all occupations, and all groups of whatever kind, have predators among their numbers. But also true is that many offenders in the “higher levels” of society such as politics, military, and other professions where there is power, seem to have a higher level of those whose consciences are low or missing entirely. Predators love power and control. We only have to look at history for that information. Some people have always been willing to hurt others, either personally, or as a nation, in order to achieve their goals of money and/or power.
In order to keep ourselves safe, on a personal level, though, without being in a hyper vigilant state, always in fear of attack, we must look at our own prejudices. If a man abused us, are we distrustful or afraid of ALL men? But not distrustful or afraid of ANY woman? That would leave us open for abuse from a woman because we would not be reasonably cautious with her because she was not a man.
Part of the problem with our thinking is that if one or two or more of a certain race , profession, or sex are known to us as abusive, irresponsible, etc we tend to lump all people of that group as predatory or dishonest . but the truth is that there are offenders of EVERY race, sex, sexual preference, religion, nationality. And as far as that goes, I don’t know a single family group that doesn’t have some kind of offender or abuser counted among their number. Sometimes the “normal” family members continually try to fix the offender (against his/her will) and other times they shun them, as my two sons and I do Patrick, and his dupe, my mother, when it became apparent that she would never give up on Patrick’s “reforming” and continued to support him while I believed, and still do, that he sent Ken Hamilton to kill me and to take over the assets of the entire family.
Frankly, I am prejudiced against REPEAT offenders of the laws, and ex convicts in general , as well as people who lie, manipulate, are irresponsible, or offensive to the laws of God and man in general.
As for Lawyers and used car salesmen, I’m cautious of doing business with them, or with anyone for that matter. I’m like the little rabbit, I try not to get in a position where there is no escape, and no way to not have a bolt hole in which to hide.
Our culture’s idea that “there is good in everyone” I think is because of good people trying to feel safe in an unsafe world. They quote a partial verse from the Bible (out of context) where we are told “Judge not” but yet, Jesus also told us that we should look at people’s actions just like we would look at a fruit tree….”by their FRUITS (actions) ye shall know them.” If people have behavior that is “rotten fruit” on a continual basis, we need to cut them out of our lives before they infect us.
As much as we would like to believe that “there is good in everyone” that just is not true. There are those who have no conscience or desire to do right, who will use and abuse anyone that they can trick by using the processes of “the love bomb” or the “pity ploy” to hook that vulnerable person into not watching or seeing what their real intention is.
We need to learn that the world is not “100% safe” and neither are all people in it. We need to learn to watch for the signs that someone is “love bombing” us and become wary of that individual. We need to watch, look and listen to people before we become too intimate with them. And even then, OBSERVE people’s behaviors OVER TIME…and if you see dishonesty, irresponsibility, or manipulation, be prepared to confront that behavior. To make our boundaries clear and respect those boundaries ourselves by eliminating anyone who does not respect them as well.
Our fear of abuse or more abuse may be reinforced when someone else of that group does something bad, we then label the entire group as bad and not to be trusted, which is usually not true. So being aware of our own prejudices, whether it is against people of other races, or against one sex or the other, or against people of another religion, or people without a religion, we must not let it keep us from realizing that we are dealing with (in general) INDIVIDUAL offenders, regardless of what group they belong to. So we must use our “spidey sense” and watch how people behave, towards us and towards others for some time before we can allow them to EARN our trust (to one extent or another), if you observe the “love bomb” or the “pity ploy” or dishonest behavior, abusive behavior or any other RED flag, BACK AWAY quickly, but don’t blame every member of that class. CAUTION against attack is always a good thing, whether we are a rabbit or a human, there ARE predators out there, and we don’t know what they look like so we must be OBSERVANT of their behavior before we let them come too close to us. Even a rattle snake which is very venomous can’t hurt you if you aren’t too close to it when you realize what it is, so you can back away and get a safe distance between you and the danger. We must do the same thing with people. Not all snakes are venomous, and not all people are psychopaths, we just have to learn the signs and respect them