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Guest Column

An abnormal man's definition of normal
By Jim Fabiano
Aug 1, 2014 - 1:20:33 AM

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Webster defines normal as: the regular or normal kind or as average intelligence and sound in body and mind. After that definition one is pushed toward Webster's definition of average that is something usual in a group, class or series. In other words, average is being ordinary or normal. With this in mind why would anyone want to be normal?

Normal shouldn't have anything to do with statistics. In other words, if 90 % of where you live is blonde hair and blue eyes does that mean this physical description has to be normal. If this was true does this mean that anyone who has black hair and brown eyes should be considered abnormal? I'm bald with gray eyes, which would make me even more abnormal.

There are many examples of what we, as a society, think as being normal. Most of the people living in the United States are Christian. Does this mean that anyone who is not Christian is abnormal? Do Moslems or Atheists believe they are abnormal because they are not part of a majority? I am saddened to say many people in our nation believe this.

Most of our society is heterosexual. Does this mean that homosexuality; trans-sexuality or asexuality has to be abnormal. Does the majority always have to define what is normal? Lets go back into our history. Women were always supposed to be inferior to men. If a woman believed she should be equal she was said to be abnormal. African Americans were inferior to their Caucasian counterparts because they were in the minority. Those of Spanish descent were also said to be abnormal or part of the mainstream because they were in the minority. Statistics are now showing these same people are becoming the majority so does that mean White America is now becoming abnormal?

The problem with this concept of normal is it causes stress with both the majority and the minority. The normal people of the majority feel stressed because they believe the abnormal minority is threatening them. The minority believe they are threatened because the normal people have a tendency to fear what they believe is abnormal.

As a teacher I hate this concept of normality. The standardized tests of our present want everyone to be the same and thus be normal. The people who produce these tests are part of the majority that wants to remain the majority. If a student shows attributes that are not part of the majority they are immediately diagnosed as being abnormal and put into programs that exist in order to make them normal.

Are artists considered abnormal because most of the other students in the school can't draw? Are musicians considered abnormal because they are not part of the majority that can't sing or play music? Should students who think differently be considered abnormal because they don't follow the school philosophy that all students should achieve the same thing and thus become part of what they consider normal.

Everyone lives with anxiety. This is part of all our lives. Normal people experience feelings of disappointment, doubt, and sadness. But, if you express these feelings you fall away from the population of what is considered normal and fall into markers of not being normal. Normal society tells us to express these feelings but as soon as we do we are considered special or in other words, abnormal. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

What about people who contract a disease? Most of our society is considered healthy so does that make people who get cancer abnormal? I've read most of our society is over-weight so does that make people who are the "right" weight abnormal? Most of our society is in the middle class. Does that make the super-rich abnormal?

Normality is the basis for discrimination and segregation. Fear fuels these concepts because if someone isn't like you or whom you know then it has to be abnormal. It also becomes a threat to all you know as being normal.

Webster defines normal as: the regular or normal kind or as average intelligence and sound in body and mind. After that definition one is pushed toward Webster's definition of average that is something usual in a group, class or series. In other words, average is being ordinary or normal. I am proud to state that I have never been or will ever be normal because the term and definition scare the Hell out of me.

Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine


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