as⋅sume (as defined by dictionary.com) /əˈsum/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [uh-soom] Show IPA verb (used with object), -sumed, -sum⋅ing.
|1.||to take for granted or without proof; suppose; postulate; posit: to assume that everyone wants peace.|
|2.||to take upon oneself; undertake: to assume an obligation.|
|3.||to take over the duties or responsibilities of: to assume the office of treasurer.|
|4.||to take on (a particular character, quality, mode of life, etc.); adopt: He assumed the style of an aggressive go-getter.|
|5.||to take on; be invested or endowed with: The situation assumed a threatening character.|
|6.||to pretend to have or be; feign: to assume a humble manner.|
|7.||to appropriate or arrogate; seize; usurp: to assume a right to oneself; to assume control.|
|8.||to take upon oneself (the debts or obligations of another).|
|9.||Archaic. to take into relation or association; adopt.|
|10.||to take something for granted; presume.|
I look back on my life and reflect on how often I was judged based on false assumptions. As a child, I went through a "heavy" period. People assumed that I was lazy, but they didn't take into account that I played soccer, danced, swam and down hill skied... yeah I wasn't lazy!
I "developed" on the early side compared to my peers, and began dressing in baggy clothes. Again it was assumed that I was heavy again. When ski season came around and I dressed in more form fitting clothes I was teased for being "busty". As a 13/14 year old, you have no control over things like this, but that doesn't stop people from making assumptions based on these changes.
When I went into teaching, people assumed that I choose this field because I couldn't "hack" anything else. If I had not choosen teaching, and gone with the field that all the teachers and most of the tests said I should have choosen what would I have done? I would have gone into engineering... yes I know I would have made more money. I proably would have got a lot more respect too, but that wasn't what I wanted. And, I didn't choose to teacher kindergarten over another grade because I thought it would be "easy"... just wanted to dispel this assumption too!
When I was in my late 20s and not dating, never mind married, people assumed I was destined to be single my whole life. The image of the schoolmarm?? Well, you know that assumption was false.
People make assumptions about people based on perception, but more often based on stereotypes. They base it on the things society wants you to "see" as "right". I look at people and see potential.
Am I guilty of making assumptions? Yes! Who isnt? You watch the news and assume that they people they are discussing have wronged before and will wrong again. You assume they are a "product of the system". But, when I meet someone in person I don't assume what they can or can not do. I do not assume what their personality will be like or their character flaws and strengths will be. I do not try to fit the person into the stereotype that society has established. I want to see who this person is as a person!
I love to people watch (you've heard me talk about this before). But, I don't try to assume what the person's story is. I don't try to judge their character or personality... nope I do it to judge their sense of style.
It really bothers me when I hear people speak ill of a group. It especially bothers me when people discuss it in front of children. Children need to learn that not every person is good or good natured, but to teach them this based on stereotypes? Who are you to say that one group is better than another? To say that the color of your skin, the language you speak, the religion you follow, the area you live or any other broad characteristic determines who you are as a person? Do we really believe that these are the determining factors of the content of a persons character?
We have enough wars, now and in the past, based on these factors. We have had enough hatred based on these external and often uncontrollable characteristics. Why would we want to continue this trend?
Why are we teaching our children to assume?