By Nathan, on August 6th, 2013
I have always thought of myself in the margins of society, in the minority in my beliefs, on the edge of the majority. This is a myth. A myth perpetuated by what we see and hear on the television, radio, internet and in the movie theaters. What we read in the newspapers and magazines. The reality is that we are all in the margins if those sources are to be believed. We all have our own perceptions, albeit somewhat common perceptions.
I am a Taoist, and therefore I look at things in a mostly Taoist manner, but that is no more unique than being a denominational Christian. Different, yes. But not unique. I don’t really listen much to the current hits on the radio, some, but by no means close to most. We all have music we like that isn’t overly commercialized. And so on. I could go on forever. We like to think of ourselves as more “in-the-know” than our peers. As individuals, but not too individual. And that is where marginalization is a useful tool for our placement in society. But it is also damaging.
We all are different, if ever slightly so. Media has to reach the broadest range it can to get its message across, so it focuses on the broadest similarities we have. Media will never reach everyone and those it doesn’t reach feel marginalized by the message that didn’t fit their beliefs or perceptions. This is inevitable. It is when the media is deliberately trying to marginalize a section of society than it becomes destructive and a bigger problem than just missing a few people. That is when the myth becomes a weapon. All of us are in the margins somehow. The popular among us are just as much a minority as the rest of us. The “popular” people have perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs that are just as marginalized as anyone else, because they are unique people with unique thoughts. But they can find common ground with many different people. Not all of us can see over the edge of our margins, I know mine are pretty deep. But for good or ill, marginalization is a myth.
Knowing that marginalization is a myth is important. Know that everybody is both an individual and an integral piece of the great human web. Know that there are enough people out there with similar enough views on those many different things that you are and you love, that there are always people to talk to. Know that even though we sometimes need those margins, we are all people and people are a social animal. I am an introvert, but I still need human interaction and it helps to be in the company of people that understand my thoughts, even just a little.