A few years ago, the buzz word du jour was "profiling". Profiling refers to using the nominal characteristics of a group of people to make generalizations about an individual. Typically this was based on ethnic stereotypes. Profiling as a practice bubbled up into the national consciousness when law enforcement was found to be systematically targeting minorities for investigation of possible criminal activity. However, profiling is a more general action of acting toward someone based on our preconcieved notions and biases.
As much as I wish that I could pretend that I don't profile others, I must confess that this is a constant struggle with me.
- I tend to avert my eyes when passing by a homeless person on the street.
- I become more aware of my surroundings when I am in the presence of minorities.
- I can be dismissive toward those who are not particularly intelligent.
- I have been known to be disrespectful toward unattractive females.
- I draw conclusions about others because of how they dress.