Seeing stories, not statistics

Warning: blanket statements below.

I think as Americans, we cling to the mentality of out of sight out of mind. In order to maintain this mentality, we result in turning stories into statistics. We tend to turn people into projects. We LOVE taking a crisis or a situation and assigning it a number such as the 100-day slaughter or the 60,000 people stuck in a refugee camp, and view it as just that; a number, not a life.

We dehumanize by making the value of someone numerical.(English)_FiguresAtAGlance_Infographic(4JULY2017)_StaffNumberUpdate

Granted, I think we sometimes do this subconsciously as a sort of coping mechanism for when a situation becomes too big for us to “fix.” When a crisis starts to run into the thousands,we forget that there are so many ones; so many littles in a drowning sea of big.

In a reading that I was assigned this week, we are shown that in a refugee camp there are many stories and many lives such as factory workers, students, shop assistants, so on. However, when we read about them, we usually only get the number, not the story. Instead of hearing the stories of those in crisis, we hear the number. Why is that?

Now, I don’t think its necessarily bad to view the refugee crisis as a project, because it is; however, when we view something as solely a project and not a person, we give ourselves permission to see it it as something that is without value and as something that can be abandoned or left to be finished later. The refugee crisis has value and can not be abandoned or shoved under the rug to re-evaluate on a rainy day. These people are more than an addition to a growing statistic and should be treated as such.

 

K.M.

 

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