To some people, 'not-the-same' means 'different'. To others, 'not-the-same' means 'inferior or superior'.
For years, I have searched for a particular word;
a word that describes the human tendency to assign flawed behaviors to people different than us.
I remember decades ago, when another driver did something wrong,
I realized I would look for a flaw that caused their bad driving.
Then, after becoming a Christian, I realized I was searching for something about the driver that was so unlike me,
that I couldn’t possibly share the flaw.
Then I had 'permission' to look down on that driver for being from different people-group.
Sometimes it was skin color or age, sometimes it was their sex, or a license plate from another state.
I wanted to separate myself from that behavior, so I could criticize without feeling like a hypocrite.
If we are at a gathering and hear of someone eating pickles and ice cream, we usually think, ‘pregnant woman’,
which allows us to categorize this mildly deviant behavior, and draw a discreet line between us and them.
The term finally came to me in June, 2020:
‘A’ = not,
‘synonymous’ = like the other,
‘metrics’ = measurement
Asynonametrics: Specifically, the practice of attributing deviant behavior to specific people-groups, other than our own.
Unfortunately, this also lets us project negative expectations onto everyone in that people-group.
This is the source of a lot of ‘ism’s.
There are two beliefs I hold and will happily go before Jesus, expecting He will agree with me:
1) Every people-group has struggles that no other people group can completely understand.
2) Every people-group has particular flaws that others can plainly see, but they themselves will deny or excuse.
(look at how men and women point-out each others' flaws)
Though people are people, our sex-type, our skin color, our personalities, our family and cultural histories, make us vulnerable to flaws (within the boundaries of our free wills), which makes us act differently than other people-groups.
So, when we see unfortunate differences in others, we look for the reason.
A natural medical example? When we see someone using crutches, we wonder why. So:
1) If the person is elderly, we suspect an aging-fraility or a fall in the shower.
2) With a scruffy young man who also has black eye, we think he lost a fist-fight.
3) With a well-groomed young man, we might assume a sports injury.
4) If a dwarf is using crutches, we assume a genetic condition.
(One of my daughter's best girl-friends in high school was a dwarf, and I did maintenance on her crutches).
Why do we look for differences and try to identify the reasons for misfortunes or deviant behavior?
Ego-based self-protection, I suspect.
Some human instincts are immediate and apparent in newborn babies, like the fear of falling.
Some instincts we mature into.
Babies are generally scared of no one when newly born.
But fears develop, as babies are able to discern between people they know and people they don't know.
We also have moral instincts; we guard ourselves from blame, though how we do that is sometimes very immoral.
And Asynonametrics, though possibly a natural instinct, can be perverted.
Yes, we can learn inappropriate prejudice, declaring certain people groups inferior or dangerous.
(though there are appropriate prejudices, like avoiding a naked man waving a knife on a street corner.
All naked men, waving knives on a street corner, SHOULD be avoided).
Justifiable and unjustifiable prejudices can grow and twine together like oak trees and mulberry trees in a fence row.
They are difficult to separate.
And what happens when no obvious physical distinction can be blamed blamed for another's person bad behavior?
Well, men tend to blame the other man's economic station in life, or his mother, for the flaws.
Asysnonametrics is what separates and segregates us from others, so we can criticize others without sharing their flaw.
I’m going to leave this here; you decide if Asynonametrics affects the way you look at other people-groups.
Eric J. Rose