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Interactions with People: Categorizing Schemas

In consideration of different schemas to categorize people, bias takes an essential place. I prefer distinguishing people by relation or importance circles. In the closest circle reside family members and close relatives, next circle is filled with friends and acquaintances, others are excluded from the two circles. It is also possible to not categorize people by importance but rather specific characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, and interests. However, while recalling the people belonging to a particular category, we may unconsciously start from those closest to us, pointing again to people’s biased attitudes.

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Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish various schemas of interaction with these individual categories. Most men try to be delicate with women, which can be connected to their instincts and a wish to protect. Simultaneously, women often act fragile in front of attractive male partners. Although lately, this type of behavior is transforming into a stereotype in various parts of the world, it reflects local realities. The behavioral change may also address code-switching as with family members, higher-ranking officials, or older people. We try to use more polite or formal language with friends. Although, the situation may escalate to the use of profanity. This behavior towards these categories also reflects expected outcomes or responses from such people. Family members limit their language to a polite tone, and colleagues abide by business culture and maintain the corporate language.

At the same time, the language tone reflects typical dialogues that may occur during the interaction with such people. Colleagues commonly talk about work but occasionally allow some discussion of matching hobbies and family health. Older people are often expected to initiate the conversation, and if the dialogue receiver represents a wide age gap, he or she might get a sense of discomfort from the difference of values. Family members represent dialogues that encourage each other towards achievement, appreciation, and health; while being supportive in general, certain types of discussions that may be initiated with friends are being regarded as a certain taboo within the specific household. This way, quite regularly, teenagers refuse to discuss themes such as romance, sexual relationships, secrets, shameful acts, and various other mishaps that can be considered inappropriate.

These schemas or expectations in language are primarily biased and cannot be considered as absolute truth. It is possible to meet various exceptions from the schemas mentioned above. The origin of such biases is my experience that was reinforced by friends. Interestingly friends often act as advisories of/for people and represent a particular respectable community that holds a specific friendly authority to encourage or discourage certain actions. Good friends would not discourage the initiatives of other friends completely but may express specific concerns. These expectations also belong to the role schema of friends.

Schemas could be critically assessed by considering a set of questions to discuss their worth. These questions may require a self-inquiry about the origin, trustworthiness, usefulness, and moral virtue of the schemas. This can be transcribed into questions: “Why or how these schemas were developed?”, “How often these schemas were proven to be right?”, “Is it morally acceptable to apply such schemas?”, “Is it beneficial to continue utilizing such schemas?” It should be noted that morality is the factor of decency that is formed by personal values and does not represent a universal approach towards morality and ethics.

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