ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ugly Duckling or Unicorn?

The Wall St. Journal published an article recently about the lack of non-politically liberal faculty in our colleges and universities. In the article some Professors were quoted as saying they felt like Unicorns - and others admitted to lying and hiding their political points of view in order to maintain their status.

I like the phrase Unicorn - it sounds so much better than Ugly Duckling. Yet, whatever you term it; it is exceedingly difficult to be the only one in the crowd that thinks the way you do.

I've been both. I grew up as the Ugly Duckling - a tall, skinny, Jewish redhead in a neighborhood where all the girls were shorter, dark haired and had darker complexions. I didn't look Jewish and as a young child experienced discrimination because I was different.

I've been different too in how I treated people as a teenage girl. Unlike my contemporaries who seemed to get great pleasure in ridiculing and humiliating those less popular than themselves, I never felt that need and it bothered me to witness the verbal brutality. I often lashed out against it - and so I looked and acted weird.

We all want to feel as though we belong, as though we are a welcome part of the group.  Yet, all too often some of us are the lonely voice in the crowd. We get punished for it.

Yet, to not speak out, to not be who you are and share your beliefs, does far more psychological damage to yourself than if you are the lone voice - the Ugly Duckling or the Unicorn.

So, I say be who you really are - and be proud to be a Unicorn. Also, remember, the Ugly Duckling turned into a beautiful swan.

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