Why You Feel So Marginalized

by Andy Wood on November 9, 2015

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Esteem, Exploring the Possibilities, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle

Spring tulip fields in Holland, Netherlands

According to the experts in global culture, setting aside specific countries or tribes, you belong to one of 10 primary social groups: Anglo, Germanic, Latin European, African, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Confucian, Southeast Asian, Latin American, and Nordic.

One in 10 – that alone makes you pretty statistically insignificant.

Broadly speaking, again setting aside the ever-increasing labels for new “communities” springing up, three genders have been formally recognized at a government level somewhere in the world – male, female, and transgender. Factor that into the previous set of distinctions, and move over – now you’re one in 30.

While we’re at it, since it’s so much in the news, we should allow for at least four categories of sexual preference – heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, and asexual. That brings your statistical footprint to one in 120.

Though people debate what the word “race” means, 147 countries in the world classify people by race or ethnic group for statistical reasons, and each country’s classification varies. Living in the U.S., I’ll stick with the 19 classifications from the U.S. Census Bureau – relax, you’re somewhere in there. Listed in order from the form they are: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Other Hispanic/Latino, White, Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Other Asian, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander, Some other race. So factoring that in, you’re now one in 2,280.

Skipping the myriads of variations and sects and adding a category for “none” and “other,” there are 18 primary religions in the world: Christianity, Islam, Chinese Folk Religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, Sikhism, Judaism, Korean Shamanism, Caodaism, Bahai Faith, Jainism, Cheondoism, Hoahaoism, Tenriism, other and none. That incredible shrinking feeling? Yeah, now you’re one in 41,040.

Seen through a U.S. Population lens (do your own translation for your culture), there are six identifiable generations that have rather distinct characteristics: Pre-depression, Depression, Baby Boom, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and Generation Z. Uh oh. Now you’re one in 246,240.

You are part of a certain type of household, and again there are all types of ways to classify this. But let’s ask the sociologists and you’ll see categories like Single living alone, Single shared, Nuclear Family, Extended Family, Single-parent Family, Couple living alone, Reconstituted Family, Homeless, Institutionalized, and the ubiquitous “other.” Now you’ve shrunk to one in 2,462,400.

The World Bank classifies national economies by four categories, based on per capita income. If your per capita income is $12,736 you’re considered a high-income nation. I guess you could do the same math for your household, but economists in the U.S. calculate that differently for Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau defines the poverty line currently as an income below $23,050 for a family of 4. People are classified as poverty, working class, lower middle class, upper middle class, the “five percent” and the so-called “one percent.” Six broad classifications. Now you’re one in 14,774,400.

While we are all unique individuals, behavioral scientists like to classify people into patterns of behavior, or personalities. One of the most popular and well-researched is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which classifies people along four dimensions of behavior, resulting in 16 different personality types (ENFPs unite! INFPs untie!). Wow. Your world just got interesting. Now you’re one in 236,390,400.

Did you know that you have a unique communication style, either forged by nature or nuture? And you will tend to gravitate toward the style you prefer, both in giving and receiving communication. While there are certainly variations, let’s keep it broad: as a communicator you tend to be Visual, Auditory (that’s me), or Kinesthetic. I can still see you! But now you’re one in 709,171,200.

Experts in education and learning styles distinguish learners by the ways they tend to take in information (concrete or abstract) and the ways they process it (sequential or random). This results in four primary learning styles, and you fit into that somewhere. Now you’re one of 2,836,684,800.

Did you know that whenever you want to influence someone else to do something you have a preferred style for doing so? And while we can always imitate other forms or styles, as humans we tend to be creatures of habit or to continue to do what works for us. Experts suggest there are six influencing styles, and you’ll tend to be one of these: Analysists, Pragmatists, Preservationists, Catalysts, Strategists, and Idealists. Factor that in, and how you’re one of 17,020,108,800.

And did you know that some people are really upset because Starbucks has a solid red cup for Christmas? Some other people are riled up because the first bunch is riled up. And a third group just doesn’t care.

Now you’re one of 51,060,326,400. That 51 billion groups – and there are only 7.3 billion people on the planet.

Now you know why you feel so marginalized. It’s pretty dang lonely being you.

I guess knowing this you have some choices to make. You can forge connections with some people around some things and keep everybody else out. But sooner or later you’ll split and split and split again until you’re back on Offended Island.

You can stage some sort of accommodation campaign – like a sod farmer boycotting the Star Wars movie franchise because they never show any grass. Good luck with that.

Or maybe you could try having honest, respectful conversations, leveraging real diversity into extraordinary strength, allowing people with mistaken or underserving ideas a little time to catch up, and choosing to love others regardless.

Nah. That wouldn’t make the news.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando November 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm

And in God’s eyes, we’re all one family, loved by Him. Can we live and treat each other as children of the Most High? Wouldn’t that be awesome?
I think so, but don’t think it would make the news either, Andy. 🙂
Blessings!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Fingerprints of God

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