Of generalization and bullshit


Or should I say, of generalization bullshit. I just read an article on Observer, talking about the "blatant racism" in Estonia. The article was called "Estonia Wants More NATO Troops—But Only If They Aren’t Black". I understand that a headline like this will get noticed, it will get clicks, and after all, that's what today's journalism is all about. But it's awful to see how much generalization is being used. Not to mention the fact that the article mainly talked about Latvia and Lithuania. But that's just a minor unimportant detail.

The main problem of the article lies somewhere else - it pretty much says that all Estonians are racists. Which, well, if you're someone with even at least some brain function left, should understand, is a claim that should be looked into, and not believed blindly. Then again, many people from the US commenting on the article, let's be honest, they don't know much about Estonia, if anything at all, and their ignorance can partly be understood. What couldn't be understood is if they actually believed it in blind faith that everything you read and your subconscious accepts as being true, is in fact, true.

I remember a year ago when I was drinking in a bar, and there was a fight between two local idiots, who also happened to be drunk, an a bystander who went to stop the fight, also got hurt a bit. Sitting next to me was a girl who had been living in UK for five years. And her comment was - "what has happened to my town? It's my first night back and I don't recognize my hometown anymore." It was her experience from the first night back, and that's what it *looked like*. However, I had been living in the same place, visiting the same bars, for close to 15 years. Over that time period I had witnessed fights like that probably around 3-4 times. And I go out, I go out a lot. The experience for me and her, while neither of us liked it (after all, what's there to like about a street-fight), was totally different. For me it was a very random happening. For her it seemed as if that's what the town was like now. Yet, we were at the exact same place. The conclusions, however, couldn't have been further away from each other.

Generalization - if it happened the first night, it has to happen always. Period. The article in Observer was written as if the author was that pretty girl who actually didn't know what he was talking about. Yes, there are people who are racists in Estonia. Yes, there are people who are arrogant assholes. There are also arrogant assholes in the United States, and well, anywhere else in the world. But do we really want to generalize? If we wanted to do that, we could say that ...

- all politicians are corrupt (because, you know, one of them took a bribe)
- police in the States likes to shoot black people (because, you know, a few have done that)
- small bananas aren't good for you (because, you know, one scientist told us that)
- if you see a fight on the street, it must be a dangerous street/town/country (because, you know, you saw a fight there)
- all Trump's supporters are idiots (because, you know, you met one)

...and so on. Okay, none of us can be sure about politicians, but still, we shouldn't generalize.

It is true that in a country with 99,99% of its population Caucasian there might be a few xenophobes. It's true that some black people have had problems there. It's true that it's not right. But to generalize and say all the people are like that - people, please, just think.

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