“Most people” is a trigger phrase for me. It usually precedes a sweeping generalisation based on second hand knowledge. I try not to do it myself but fail regularly. It seems to bolster our own confidence to make such all encompassing statements. We feel safer if we have been able to label a large and often challenging group of people or troubling aspect of our lives.
But these statements are second hand. We can’t have met “most people”. We are taking some received cultural norm and passing it on. This unguarded amplification is dangerous. It is a small step from most people to “all remainers”, or ” all Tory voters” or worse still ” all Muslims”, or allJews”, or for that matter”all men”or “all women”.
Parroting mythologies is dangerous. We should try not to.
2 thoughts on “Parroting mythologies”
As an aside, but on the subject of generalisation, my parents, who, amongst other things, were marriage counsellors, used to say that two words that should never be used in a marriage were ‘always’ and ‘never’. As in, “You never do X…” or “You always do Y…”. They are almost never correct, and almost always hurtful.
Totally! Such phrases can be used aggressively and we get far too used to it.