For years, I have searched for a particular word;
a word that describes the human tendency to assign flawed behaviors, to people different than us; different people groups. Like birds spot enemy-birds by the shape of their wings.
I remember decades ago, when another driver did something I didn’t like, I realized I would look for a reason for the flaw that caused the bad driving.
One day it became clear to me that I was searching for something about the driver that was so unlike me, that I couldn’t share the flaw.
Sometimes it was color or age, sometimes it was their sex, or a license plate from another state.
For some reason, I wanted or needed to separate myself from this behavior, perhaps so I could criticize it without being a hypocrite.
If we are at a gathering and hear of someone eating pickles and ice cream together, we usually think, ‘pregnant woman’, which allows us to categorize this mildly deviant behavior, and draw a discreet line between us and them.
The term finally came to me in June, 2020: ‘Asynonametrics’.
‘A’ = not
‘synonymous’ = like the other
‘metrics’ = measurement
Asynonametrics: Specifically, the habit of attributing deviant behavior of others, to specific people-groups, other than our own.
The unfortunate cascading effect of this process, is that we will project expectations of those behaviors of everyone-else in that people-group.
This is the source of a lot of ‘ism’s.
There are two beliefs I hold and will happily go before Jesus, expecting He will agree with me:
1) Every people-group has struggles that no other people group can completely understand.
2) Every people-group has particular flaws that others can plainly see, but they themselves will deny or excuse.
While people are people, our two types of sexual hormones, our personal and aggregate cultural histories,
make us vulnerable to flaws within the boundaries of our free wills, which makes us act differently from other people-groups.
So, when we see flaws or misfortunes in others, we look for the reason.
A natural medical example: when we see someone using crutches, we wonder why.
1) If the person is elderly, we might suspect a fall in the shower.
2) With a scruffy young man who also has black eye, we think he lost a fist-fight.
3) With a well-groomed young man, we might assume a sports injury.
4) If a dwarf is using crutches, we assume a genetic condition.
Why do we look for differences and try to identify the reasons for misfortunes or deviant behavior?
Instinctual self-protection, I suspect.
Some instincts are immediate and apparent in newborn babies, like the fear of falling.
Some instincts we mature into, but are instincts nonetheless. Like our sexual-selves, I believe some of our instincts mature into us as we age.
Babies are generally scared of no one when newborn. But fears develop as we age, and as we experience life.
And we also have moral instincts; to guard ourselves from blame, though how we do that is sometimes very immoral.
And Asynonametrics, though a natural instinct, can be perverted.
Yes, we can learn inappropriate prejudice, declaring certain people groups inferior or dangerous.
(though there are appropriate prejudices, like avoiding naked men waving knives on the street corner)
Justifiable Asynonametrics and unjustifiable prejudices can grow and twine together like mulberry and green ash trees in a fence row; they are difficult to separate.
And what happens when no obvious physical distinction is apparent to blame another's bad behavior on?
Well, white men tend to blame the other man's mother for his flaws.
Pardon my language, but the term 'son-of-a-bitch' is probably Asynonametrics in action.
It separates and segregates so we can criticize others without sharing blame.
I’m going to leave this here; I leave it to you to decide how Asynonametrics affects your life and the way you look at other people groups.
While blacks are black, most black people do not hate whites.
While whites are white, most white people not wish ill toward blacks.
Think out the particulars of your life, and see if your brand of Asynonametrics is healthy for all.