Pseudopsychology 101



I thought we discussed this. Eye color and star sign have absolutely nothing to do with your personality. Nothing at all. If you want to learn about somebody’s personality, the best way is to talk to them.

I know these memes are just silly diversions, and in some ways they’re fairly harmless. They certainly don’t encourage you to hide your guns from the government or try to shame you because you were disappointed with the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. But there is a hint of something insidious here. It might not be intentional, but it needs to be addressed.

What if you posted a meme that made broad generalizations about, say, black people, or white people, or gay people, or Asian people, or Hispanic people? Even if the generalizations were mostly positive, people might think you were dabbling in stereotypical thinking. We have to avoid that. We have to avoid making blanket statements about entire groups of people. Any label you can apply to a group of people – black, white, gay, straight, Asian, European, liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, and so on – is going to emcompass a diverse array of personalities, some of whom will disagree – often vehemently – with other representatives of the same group. It’s just not fair to try to lump us all together, and even less so when the criterion by which you are lumping us is a genetic characteristic over which we have very little control.

Now I’m not trying to overreact. I would never reproach the author of these memes or any of their reposters, nor would I accuse them of racist thoughts or actions (although I will openly mock the silliness and lack of evidential support for the memes themselves). I just want everybody to think about what they share. That’s all.

Don’t think I’ve gotten soft. I’ll be around to dissect much more horrible memes later.


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