Read more about Shared Targets and Shared Bad Identifications

Being the Target

by Jalen Guichardo

A present might look un-enticing because of its wrapping paper, but a thin layer of paper doesn’t tell much about what’s on the inside– the present may have a certain shape which could give you some idea of what’s inside, but you will never fully know until you unwrap it. We should treat people as well as we treat our presents. According to Sigmund Freud “a joke is never just a joke” because people joke about things they may feel anxious about. My sense of humor often isn’t understandable because most people don’t share my anxieties.

According to psychologists, people who have a “heavy” sense of humor “make what they think are jokes, while remaining oblivious to the fact that no one is laughing.” I mean, honestly, lots of people I’ve met (myself included) make jokes about literally anything. Does that mean we’re anxious about everything in our lives? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that putting myself under a microscope helps to show how this applies to society. While people question peers with intense senses of humor, they neglect to understand that our exteriors shield what is within.

Friends who know me well tell me I’m a great person but society seems to make assumptions about people like me without trying to assess our intentions. Sometimes I feel like people judge me by my exterior before getting to know me. Although lots of people may seem one way on the outside, you won’t know them intimately until they let their guard down.

Many people develop deceptive exteriors because we live in a society that uses our insecurities to bully and belittle us. People spend a lot of time projecting an image that is acceptable to the status quo, but this image isn’t actually an accurate portrayal of their self It’s an image born out of a yearning for acceptance. Some of the people I admire the most today didn’t appear the way they do now before I got to know them. I would want people to learn that we should judge people, by who they are once we get to know them, not by some presupposition that we have about them upon first glance.

Commentary by Bernice Arricale

Jalen identifies himself as a “target” in this essay because he feels judged by people based solely on his superficial behavior and encourages us to approach each other openly and without preconceived ideas. What does this mean when we all have some sort of group identification? What’s the difference between having a “shared identification” and a “shared bad identification?”

How is Jalen’s argument related to Safia’s ideas in On Fear