Assumptions, Biases & Irrational Fantasies

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Assumptions category.

Peripheral Assumptions

So, before I looked, this is what I thought I saw:

Woman with long black hair, pouffed up in front, arranged into a tall, spiky style.  Wearing: blue nylon jacket with Adidas stripes on sleeves, and tall tan-colored boots.

What was actually there next to me:

A woman with long, wavy brown hair, clipped up away from her face, with blue and white extensions around her neck and shoulders.  Wearing: blue quilted jacket with a fur collar and grey sweatpants.  Dark colored shoes.

 Where does this invention of peripheral vision come from?  How did it get to be so detailed?  I’ve been doing this for years – I imagine lots of people do: thinking I see one thing when someone sits down next to me and realizing that something entirely different is going on.  Because how can you see if you don’t look?  I’ve had people sit down next to me and find myself surprised to realize that they are a woman, not a man, or that they are white, not black.

Sometimes, I’ve judged someone and am constructing all manner of ideas about them in my head, only to look and realize that they look nothing like what I imagined them to be.  And then I feel silly.  Embarrassed.  Kind of dumb.

 Partly it seems like a kind of trick of the light.  Partly, it’s me being complacent – falling back on the stereotypes that have served me in the past when I don’t need them.  This is lazy and careless.  I’m trying to curb this habit, to be more vigilant. The more I make it a part of everyday living, the easier it gets.  And I do feel like teeny, tiny parts of this journey are getting a little bit easier.  That’s encouraging.

 Until next time…