Virtual social identity is the category we place people when we meet them based on appearances. Our actions with strangers are so driven by our perception on people that we tend to forget that at the end of the day we are all equal. In big cities such as NY and many others around the world, we adopt the “blasé attitude” in order to protect our emotions and avoid becoming overwhelmed by the fast paste life around us. But when is this “blasé attitude” not so “blasé”? Let’s suppose you are rushing to school or work and on your way you encounter, what looks like an “ordinary” person, perhaps with worn down clothes, lying on the sidewalk asking for help. Would you automatically assume this is a homeless person and ignore him/her and go on about your day? I would guess most of us would probably adopt this “blasé attitude” and ignore this person who we have already categorized or labeled as “homeless”.
Consider the same scenario, this time however, with a suited up man who looks like he could very well be a CEO or some top executive, would you pass him by and ignore him? My guess would be perhaps not. How much of our actions are driven by appearances? Are we willing to help strangers on the street based on what they look like and who we think they are? Unfortunately, most of the time and most of us do. Is it fair? What if this happened to you? Would you want help from others even if you didn’t look like a CEO of a top company?
I came across this very interesting video that shows the scenario I just described only that I don’t agree on that one simple action will change the world, it’s not enough. We need to start by educating ourselves and children on equality, only when we learn this concept will the world be a better place.