ZODIAC SHAMING

BY: VAIBHAVI MENON

If you’re the type of person who thinks astrology is garbage, this entire line of thinking is your personal hell. It’s bad enough that people believe their personalities are based on the planetary alignment at the time of their birth. Now they’re casting off whole groups of people based on that same deranged paradigm? If you’re the type of person who thinks astrology is garbage, this entire line of thinking is your personal hell. It’s bad enough that people believe their personalities are based on the planetary alignment at the time of their birth. Now they’re casting off whole groups of people based on that same deranged paradigm? In China, zodiac discrimination is a well-documented problem. A 2017 study found that 4.3 percent of college students surveyed reported suffering employment-based discrimination because of their astrological sign (Western and/or Chinese). Constellation-based recruitment has its own entry in Baidu Baiku, otherwise known as Chinese Wikipedia. Close to 30 percent of Americans now believe in astrology, a number that’s been rising steadily. Who knows how long it’ll take before zodiac discrimination becomes an institutionalized problem here?

Not all forms of labelling or grouping are bad. You can still use the zodiac to make judgements about people, R but they should be holistic, non-prescriptive observations — ones that take people’s whole selves into account. Instead of writing people off because they’re Scorpios or Geminis. People are their sign, but they’re also far more than their sign. Behavior exists on a spectrum. Just because Virgos are thought of as anal doesn’t mean they all want a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. Writing anyone off without taking time to know them isn’t just unethical, it’s a boring way to live. Obviously discrimination based on, say, racial lines, is far more pronounced in society, not to mention negative. Most astrology signs don’t outright call people stupid or lazy, though they do imply weaknesses and temperent as well as strengths. But both are arbitrary categorizations for personality that utterly lack evidence or rationale. If you believe in astrology, and truly believe that the month someone was born in determines their personality, you are prejudging people based on when their birthday is. And as ridiculous as that sounds, there are still people who pay money to see their horoscopes and make life decisions based on them, including having their perspective and behavior toward others adjust based on each person’s signs. The basic premise of astrology is that people who were born at certain times and places share distinguishing personality characteristics. Libras, for example, are said to be diplomatic, refined, idealistic, and sociable; Capricorns are responsible, disciplined, hard-working, demanding, and so on. Tens of millions of people know something about their sun signs and read their daily horoscopes. There are some interesting parallels between racism and astrology. For one thing, in both cases a person is being judged by factors beyond their control. Just as a person has no control over his or her race or skin color, they also have no control over when and where they were born. In both cases, there is a framework of belief that says, “Without even meeting or knowing you, I believe something about you:   I can expect this particular sort of behavior or traits (sneakiness, laziness, arrogance, etc.) from members of this particular group of people (Jews, blacks, Aries, etc.)” When an astrologer meets a person and finds out that person’s astrological sign, she will bring to that experience a pre-existing list of assumptions (prejudices) about that person’s behavior, personality, and character. In both cases, the prejudices will cause people to seek out and confirm their expectations. Racists will look for examples of anti-social behaviors in the groups they dislike, and astrologers will look for the personality traits that they believe the person will exhibit. Since people have complex personalities (all of us are lazy some of the time, caring at other times, etc.), both racists and astrologers will find evidence to confirm their beliefs.

What is trying to be conveyed here is that zodiac signs or anything else that can be used as a form of discrimination should be avoided. No one deserves to be treated in this manner for these reasons. It definitely shouldn’t be acceptable.

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