I can’t quite remember where I was rushing to when I bumped into an acquaintance that wanted to ‘see’ me. I told him to call me later as I was in a hurry. The next day we ran into each other. With a smile he asked sincerely and seemingly harmlessly “ Please, were you ever a Muslim?” .I laughed casually. At this point I knew the reason for his question was my frequently full and rather scruffy facial hair. He concurred with my conviction. I told him I wasn’t a Muslim. The conversation ended with him saying, “Maybe you should shave”. He wasn’t being rude to me nor was he to Islam. His subconscious had been fed with this pattern.
Why is keeping a “hairy face” being attached to a religion? Even more hilarious; My Dad, while we were having one of our many shave your beards conversations said to me: “people would think you are a Muslim”. While most stereotypes are harmless and subconscious, they are often the cause of many unfortunate circumstances. Here’s a rundown of many stereotypes.
1. All Hausa’s are Muslims
2. All Igbo men worship money
3. All quiet people are kind
4. All Politicians are corrupt
5. All Yoruba people have the “H” factor
6. All Warri boys “No dey carry last”
7. Children from very wealthy homes are spoilt brats
8. You’re an “ajebutter” if you can’t speak your mother tongue
9. There’s a look and sound linked with your culture .I once a had lengthy conversation with two people on whether I was Yoruba or not. Apparently I didn’t give the Yoruba boy “vibe”
10. Every unexplainable situation is spiritual.
The list is endless. Did you notice most of the listed stereotypes are linked with culture? I’m not implying that these things are not true but having an “ALL” state of mind is just wrong. Imagine my excitement on meeting a Hausa Christian. Still waiting on an Igbo Muslim though. The point of my jabber is this: We are all guilty of subconsciously/consciously putting people into groups based on race, religion, culture, sex, wealth, fashion etc. Never assume anything, get to know people first. Expand your reasoning box or think outside it every once in a while. Educate yourself for your self’s sake don’t be limited to school books. Assumption is basically ignorance.
On an ending and completely unnecessary note, I do not shave regularly for three reasons:
1. My subconscious has somehow stereotyped people who shave regularly as “old” and married of which I am neither.
2. I often don’t mind looking that way.
3. I really can’t be bothered to shave.
Again, while it’s often harmless, stereotyping is potentially dangerous and offensive.