What is a Community?

During my day I am often in my vehicle driving between appointments and as I'm not a big music listener I tune into news or talk radio. One thing that drives me crazy is the media's use of the word community. The media reporter or host will often say things like "the gay community believes that free condoms are necessary" or "the black community supports candidate John Doe" or "the Hispanic community wants to open the borders". Another thing that drives me crazy is when one person or organization, so called Community Leaders, purports to represent one of these "communities" where membership is derived from birth, not by choice.

Many media sources will intertwine their usage of the term community to define communities where people join by choice such as a religion, political party, or service club and groups of people who they term a community due to an inherent characteristic as in skin color, ethnic background, or sexual orientation.

While it is perfectly acceptable for reporters and other media to take one person's comments as being representative of a community's position where membership is voluntary and the representative has been selected to speak on their behalf I find it misleading, dishonest, and devising by the media to represent one person or organization's opinion as representative of all members of an involuntary community. The same can be said about individuals or organizations that claim to represent an involuntary community. In their context of using the word community it would be synonymous with saying "all gay people believe free condoms are necessary" in the first paragraph.

I would suggest that media sources, professionals, and voluntary community leaders stop stereotyping, assuming or telling individuals what they believe based on their race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else. It is time to stop misusing the term "community" and stop assigning beliefs to people based on their birth characteristics.

All gay people, black people, short people, tall people or any other classification someone wants to use to stereotype and discriminate don't beleive or practice the same thing based on this classification. Stop acting like they do!