Thursday, October 30, 2008

“NI**ER PLEASE! It’s called the White House!”

I saw this quote on a T-shirt on the Internet.

Mimesis was defined to me as the act of a group of people "picking on" or "bullying" the least of the group. Think of the football team chastising the geek. Think of the rally team sneering at the fat girl.

It's not pleasant, especially if it happens to you. It means you're out – you don't belong.

But it means more than that. It means that there are people who are willing to act as a group to make themselves more than someone else.

Our social psychology is complex. Mimesis has to start somewhere. And then others follow. There's safety in following because it means you're not the one singled out. You get to be part of the "in crowd".

We learn this behavior as kids, probably by watching adults. It's so prevalent in our society that we have a term for those who follow; we call them Lemmings. You can see it in a current TV ad for Fed Ex, where the followers crawl out of the leadership class.

We can't afford to be lemmings. We can't afford to follow stupid bumper stickers or racist T-shirts.

Michael Arnold

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