I’m not ‘like them’ because I’m ‘one of them’

We hear a lot about “mob mentality” when it comes to protests and public outrage. You’ve seen the images of people taking to the streets and destroying communities to send a message.

It makes me wonder if people are individual thinkers or just sheep following the crowd.

There is a belief that if you “belong” to a certain group, that you have the same values and ideals as the others. For instance, if you’re a woman, you should support the Me Too movement. Ditto for people of different races. If you’re black, you should be part of the Black Lives Matter campaign. If you’re not, you’re a disgrace to the community.

I feel this mentality is dangerous. The words “stereotype” and “generalization” are far from helpful nowadays.

RELATED: Comments are fair game if you’re ‘one of them’

People are individuals. People have their own opinions. People should be able to make up their own mind and do, or not do, what they want to stand up for it… or not.

Because I’m a man, I should be ashamed by and apologize for how men treated women in the workplace. Because I’m white, I couldn’t possibly understand what it feels like to face discrimination. Because I’m gay, I should publicly support the LGBT community and wave a rainbow flag at Pride.

Isn’t grouping people together what starts the trouble in the first place?

All women are submissive. All black people are criminals. All gays have AIDS. Really? What year is it?

People criticized me for not defending Ellen DeGeneres in the wake of her talk show scandal where former employees said they were subject to assault and harassment in the workplace. Somehow people made this connection: She’s a lesbian – ding, ding, ding – Jeremy, you should have her back. Um, why?

What if Ellen were a child molester? What if Ellen were an animal abuser? What if Ellen were a tax evader? Suddenly it’s expected that because she likes the same gender that we have some sort of bond. Not even close.

RELATED: Not everything is a protest

In recent weeks, I’ve seen people on social media sticking up for law enforcement. It’s created a debate online where the usual underdog is the cops. Meaning, there are more cop detest’ers than defenders chiming in. (Is that because the mob outnumbers them and there’s no sense in fighting a losing battle?) But you know what happens: You say, “Hey, not all cops are bad. My son is an officer,” and suddenly you’re racist just like your son. Say what?

When you paint everyone with the same brush, you’re assuming everyone is guilty until proven innocent, depending on the scenario, of course.

Children are taught (or used to be, anyway) to be individuals and to stand out from the crowd. Remember being encouraged to celebrate your individuality? Now it seems like that’s counterproductive and can be incredibly dangerous in today’s world.

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