BLUF: In today’s world there is no excuse for discrimination of any kind. What’s worse is always believing you’ve been discriminated against when things don’t go your way.
It is disheartening to see a room full of strong, intelligent and competent young women transform into victims due to the professors repeated assertion that they are in fact, victims in today’s world. I will never deny that discrimination exists, but I would argue that attributing everything to discrimination is more detrimental than discrimination itself. We can see this happening in every in-group category (Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, etc). Maybe it’s just me, but as a hispanic man, I don’t see myself as a victim even when a blatant act of racism rears its ugly head, and trust me, having grown up in the south, it happens a lot more than you’d think…
To be clear, I’m not always a victim. I remember an occasion where I held a door open for a white person, I mean I would have done it regardless of race but his race is important for this story. As he approaches the door, the man comes to a stop and looks at me with disgust and says, “I don’t need help from a wetback,” then proceeds through the opposite door. In that instance, I was the victim of racial discrimination, but I didn’t let that deter me in my goals because at the end of the day, that man goes to bed with hate in his heart and I, with love. I think I come out ahead in that instance.
I am against the victimhood mentality because it will keep you down through a little thing known as a self-fulfilling prophecy or, in short, believing in something strongly enough that it begins to manifest itself in your life. This is due in part to a psychological concept known as behavioral confirmation. For example, if you think a person is a racist when in fact they aren’t, you are more likely to treat them as you would treat a racist. This can make you come off as cold, callous, rude or stubborn and directly influences how that person treats you. Because this person is now treating you in the same manner that you subconsciously treated them, you attribute their behavior to your preconceived idea that they are racist and confirm your own perception of being racially discriminated against thus reinforcing your victimhood mentality. The reality could have been different had you not entered the situation with your own bias. I know this isn’t the case in every situation, but understanding a person’s true character prior to passing judgement is essential in combating behavioral confirmation and the victimhood mentality.
Here’s a few tidbits regarding the victimhood mentality, it’ll be more efficiently stated in bullet form.
- It is a learned behavior that can be corrected. Combat the victimhood mentality by removing the negative filter you may view the world and other people in, not everyone is against you.
- Victimhood will tell you that you have no control over your life and that others will dictate the quality of your time on earth. I would challenge someone to take charge of their destiny and not let discrimination, perceived or actual, deter them from living their best life.
- Don’t expect sympathy, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. No one can go it alone in this life, build a support group based on the ability to motivate and empower one another, not show sympathy and reinforce negativity
- Take criticism with a grain of salt. Not every criticism, even if it is unwanted, is an attack. Maybe there is something about yourself that others see but you don’t. Reflect on criticism and decide what action to take regarding it, remember you are in control.
- Don’t put yourself down. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, mom, daughter, son, etc… don’t ever say it to yourself. Be confident in who you are and what you can bring to someones life, a workplace, or any setting you may find yourself in.
- A final note, if you believe someone is truly victimizing you be direct and humble in your approach, but do approach them regarding it. Clear any confusion up in the moment and don’t let feelings of negativity turn into something that is damaging to you and the other person.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are a victim. Understand that you are a strong, intelligent, competent, and wonderful person who can bring your own unique qualities to any situation. Even in the face of discrimination, keep your head high, and most importantly, learn to lift up others instead of reinforcing their own “victimhood” mentality. Let’s continue to grow together.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think.