Individualism and the road to progress

I love Where’s Waldo. I always thought it was incredibly hard to find him because most of the people in these pictures are different from each other as well. They’re each so individual in this fairly homogenous landscape. I couldn’t even find Waldo before I posted this. I like this picture because it is a chaotic circus themed scene that looks like fun at first. Then you look a little closer and there are a lot of people getting smashed in the face and people walking all over each other and then there are some areas where people can stand and talk. It’s a little how I imagine all kinds of activists in a room would look. They don’t exactly group together though still show identifying patterns,  but, there is probably bickering within groupings. Which then calls attention to that people need to change, not just laws.

Last week, I posted on internal biases and I hope that people grow to realize their baises and where they come from. Without changing these biases on the individual level, laws will never matter much. There have been political campaigns, protests, and rallies that have brought us the world that we live in today, but so has awareness and the individual choice to not be a party to whatever oppressions are being campaigned against. We can change all the laws that we want to up in Washington D.C., but if people don’t put into practice these new laws, then women continue to get lower pay anyway.

What I have enjoyed about Lean In, specifically, has been that it urges women to be aware of some individual choices and insecurities that may be contributing to their lower pay or job assignments It also urges those involved in hiring and promoting practices to be aware of their individual baises and choices. Before I go on, I would like to make clear the difference between fault and responsibility. I don’t like to point out fault or to blame. I don’t find it to currently be the specific  fault of any one person that women are getting lower pay, but it is everyone’s responsibility, including women ourselves, that we not continue to do so. That goes for all issues, women’s, men’s, LGBT, etc.

There are many articles and books that assign blame. That is not my purpose here. I don’t really care who is at fault. I believe that individuals should take responsibility for the part they play in each of these things. Individuals could take a look at their own practices when hiring, negotiating and giving out job assignments and see if their own actions continue the problem or work to disestablish it. People may not like to see or admit that they are part of a problem, but something this big indicates that there are some problems with each of us.

Individual awareness and choice lets the change actually begin in society itself. It does involve law and politics, but it is not dependent on them. It is dependent on people realizing their biases and making the choice to discredit those biases in their actions.

Disclaimer: I do not believe that people should merely do the opposite of their bias without any more consideration than the bias itself gives to those who would benefit from it. It is meant to urge people to ask themselves if it is the bais talking or rationale.


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