Sumiko Saulson talks about the biased perspective that people tend to view themselves as “the norm” and perceive others like minority in a excerpt from the article When We First Become Other. First, the writer indicates that such biased perspective comes from a personal vantage point which we are born with. While when we get contacts with multicultural groups, we start to realize we may not be “the norm”, and the writer illustrate the point with personal experience of being biracial. Second, the writer propose that we perceive others as different usually because of ethnic heritage, disability or gender presentation which are different from ours. Then the writer points out that there is no true equality among diverse population if we stick to the idea that we are “the norm” and others are not. In addition, the writer present that “ the norm” could be a statistically wrong with the example that white people often perceive themselves are “the norm”, but actually they are minority for only accounts for 18% of the global population. Sumiko Saulson suggests people to be careful about the notion of others and hopes that we could achieve true equality in diverse population by not clinging the idea that we are “the norm” group.
I agree with Sumiko Saulson that we can not achieve true equally if we keeps clinging the idea that we are “the norm” group and others are not. According to scientific research, humans genes are basically identical, the similarity is more than 99.9%, and the idea of different ethnic group is actually created by human themselves. Basically, we are the same. The need of differentiate ourselves from others comes from the need of self categorization. While the self categorization is the start of racism and prejudice. With that we can never achieve true equally.
Self categorization is the start of racism and prejudice. People distinguish their own family members from those of other ethnic groups, assign themselves to a community-based social identity and incorporate social identities into self-concept. Such categorization is ubiquitous and people tend to take on different social identities in different contexts, such as women, young people, or Chinese. Tajfel et al. (1973) argue that the most basic categorization is enough to cause discrimination. One of the important reasons is because of self-esteem. One of the ways in which people generally have the need to maintain their self-esteem and achieve self-esteem is to compare their own ethnic group with other ethnic groups and improve their ethnicity and belittle their ethnic groups.
The similarity of human genes is more than 99.9%, we are the basically the same, the notion that we are “the norm” does not hold its ground. Just as the article shows, we tend to have misconception regard to how “default” we are, although white people often perceive themselves are “the norm”, actually they are the minority for only accounts for 18% of the global population. We often judge things from personal vantage point, but statically shows we are the same.
There is a speculation that black people are intelligently inferior than white people. While Scientists are constantly trying to find genes that are associated with high intelligence. However, the largest and most rigorous study of human cognitive genetics to date has yielded no conclusive result. The genetic difference only accounts for less than 0.1%.
In conclusion, the need of seeing themselves as “the norm” comes from the need of self categorization, self categorization is the beginning of racism and prejudice. Self categorization does not make sense because we are basically the same. The humans genes are basically identical, the similarity is more than 99.9%, and the idea of different is actually created by human themselves. So With the notion of we are “the norm “we can never achieve true equally.
Billig, M., & Tajfel, H.Social categorization and similarity in intergroup behaviour. European Journal of Social Psychology, 3(1), 1973.