Generalizing and Individualizing

Too often in my life I have generalized rather than individualized an outcome or an event, and I learned recently that these actions are much more racist than anti-racist. We seem to be guilty of this behavior most when an outcome or event does not include our group or tribe.

Take the killing of George Floyd and the events that ensued as an example event. When the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes which ended up killing him, what was your gut reaction? Did you immediately individualize the event and see it as just one bad cop, or generalize the event to the entire police force?

And when Black Lives Matter began protesting, with a small proportion inciting violence through riots, were you quick to generalize this to the entire movement, or were you able to individualize these acts to those rioting and recognize the movement as a whole as a necessary and good one? One that is anti-racist?

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