Last semester, I was working on a project with a school that is specialized in special needs’ education. I had a wonderful experience by getting exposed to such a pure world that’s full of faith and determination. The project’s objective was to change people’s schemas and construal toward kids with special needs. We wanted to change those looks that are full of pity; we wanted to tell people STOP DISCRIMINATING. Those kids have different needs than that of the others, consequently, they have different abilities that are nevertheless brilliant. Therefore, we wanted to show the world that those kids are capable of things that we are not. So why the pity look? Why the prejudice against them. Most of us think that we empathize with those kids and their families. And that we appreciate their different needs. In fact, most of us hold a modern racism and in reality people actually sympathize and not empathize. Moreover, they have some stereotypes that lead to prejudice against them. Unfortunately, one of the most prejudice behaviors that I’ve witnessed is that I saw mom’s trying to take their kids away from playing with other kids that have special needs as they want to “protect” their children from them. For me this is the rudest thing anyone could do. Children are socialized and primed to perceive the other kids with different needs as “out- group” this is a result of the institutional discrimination that is present in most of the schools in Egypt. Schools either have a special needs section that is usually full of corruption or they don’t even accept them. You don’t find classes that integrate special needs with other students. Therefore, according to the social learning theory, children learn this social behavior by observing their school teachers and others around them and imitate them. While the injunctive norms dictate that we should not discriminate those kids and that we should behave in appreciation for their different abilities. Yet, the descriptive norms don’t match those injunctive norms and people act differently toward those kids regardless of it being disapproved. People’s automatic thinking makes them judge people for their disability before getting to know who they really are. They automatically make the discrimination and behave accordingly. This video portrays the fact that even if some people have different abilities they can still live like others. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StwSnjtMkxQ I believe that the extent of the support and respect that the people surrounding them show them and treat them as being alike without showing any kind of discrimination the more likely that the differences are eliminated. Or else self-fulfilling prophecy will take over and they won’t be able to see that they are capable of living like everyone else on this planet they will conform to the stereotype threat and will live their lives as different and isolated.
This part in your life when you live an inside struggle whether you’ll take a decision based on what you really want or what others want. when you always have to compromise for this thing you really think that it’s what you want only because everyone around you convince you that it’s not the right thing for you. Not only this, but also the mere thought that others might blame you for your decision.
Almost all of us came across many situations where we had to believe that others know us better than we know ourselves. whether you’ve heard it from your mom, dad, or even your best friend. we tend to belittle from our own sense of who we really are and start questioning our abilities instead of questioning others.
I could relate by very simple experience I went through when I was entering university. Throughout my high school years I was planning to be an engineer. I took courses accordingly and I always believed that that’s what I want. going through the usual family talks regarding what I want to do and so forth. Almost everyone used to give this look ” what the hell are you going to do to yourself, at the end you are a girl; engineering isn’t for girls” same response from my friends. Everyone kept telling me how he/she sees me, of course regardless of the differences they all had one thing in common. They saw me as anything other than an engineer. And now I am a junior, majoring in business and I actually have doubts in what I really want to do. I feel that I’m not in the right place sometimes I feel that I belong to engineering but at the same time the construal I have and that was fed into my head for engineers keeps me thinking that no,no, maybe engineering wasn’t for me. I’m kind of lost I don’t know whether I shouldn’t have listened to them or I did the right thing. What I want to say is that.
Most of the times we feel lost because we’re living in this inner battle between what stems from you as an individual and how your social environment influences you as being part of it. Many end up conforming with their social environment to avoid putting themselves in a situation where they have to face the majority. or even because the power of social influence outweighs your power to take control of your OWN life.
Keep in mind everyone is busy with their own lives and struggles. No one will live your life. we need to be aware of “everybody’s” influence on our lives before it take charge of our lives.