My major requires me to take classes in which we discuss brutal social and political realities, social stratification and our collective and separate identities. My class discussions become a plethora of random arguments, emotional sensitivities uprise and comparison between opposing groups create an amusing political theater. Every move in class, every statement is weighed into a heavy social, psychological and political theory. One can get stereotyped easily while the others get ready to compartmentalize you as a friend or simply “the other”.
So how could I have possibly expected to stay out of this political theater? Someone was definitely typecasting me and wanted to play my role on their terms and deliver what they expected. The story begins in the theater of “Global Politics Class” where my group mate thinks I am an “irrespective, irresponsible and egoistic” group leader and doesn’t wish to work with me inside and outside the class. The other group members called him out and believed that he was a sexist since all group members were male and their group leader was a female. No matter what the reason of his grievance against me was writing three long detailed emails to professor with full of complaints said something else about him. It could be him being a sexist, his negative impression of Muslim girls, his male ego being hurt, or his culturally conservative background. There you go, I stereotyped him and compartmentalized him into so many labels and to be honest some might define him quite justly. But why we are so impatient to know somebody and haste into stereotyping them so we can be under the impression that we know him/her and their problem. So this was the moment of resistance where my “sense of self as a leader” was impacted. Should I take his comments as a personal attack and become a defensive emotional Leader and drag the whole team into the conflict? or stay above this all because a leader is sublime and I am one now?
The reality is that a true leader always resolves the conflict with a true intention to attain a peaceful resolution without exaggerating or suppressing the conflict. Is watchful and thoughtful stays patient until the right time and thinks before acting. Nor my intention was to attack neither I wanted a conflict. So I took the matter to another leader (my Professor) in person and apologized for the petty conflict he has to witness and truthfully gave him the account of my side of the picture and told him to respect the choice and opinion of my counterpart and come to a resolution after consideration. Although the decision was in favor of my group, a constructive lesson was taught to someone for wrongly typecasting another and a lesson was learned to not let oneself typecast in another’s perspective. So, I learned that a leader represents all not just their identity, but the identities of others in the group and sticks to getting the job done for the benefit of all and resolves conflicts with understanding and thoughtfulness.