Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Small People? The Nerve!

"I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don't care. But that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people."  BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg

I start this edition of the Critical Thinker in a similar vein of my June 6 submission where I began with a question. I am sure some critical thinker out there reading this can tell me who the small people are. I am sure it is just me who could not figure that one out.  Just as I asked on June 6th “Who is ‘That Nigger?” (with the emphasis on “that”) in today’s edition I question, “Who are the small people?”

Sadly, I guess BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg didn’t realize that as soon as the words “small people” came out of his mouth, that bloggers, reporters, journalists, news anchors, and comedians around the world began having a field day. I am sure the writers for Leno and Letterman started doing cart wheels. Similar to the lob in volleyball or tennis, his words were just ripe for a slam. We small people ought to send that big person a thank you card. (Gee, I wonder how BP’s profits would look if the “small people” were to stop buying BP gasoline?)

The really sad part is the chairman had not a clue. What’s even sadder is he is not the only one. There are people right here in the United States who subscribe to the “small people” ideology as well. Don’t believe me?………Custodian; security guard; secretary; garbage collector; bus driver and countless other “just a” titles have the “small people” connotation in far too many minds. I say “just a” because I am sure you have heard…. oh he’s “just a” custodian, or she’s “just a” secretary, or that’s “just a” security guard and if you have not, I have. Those “just a” statements and thoughts are the same sentiments that Mr. Svanberg verbalized. Oh yes, make no mistake, many of us who are not struggling with English as a second language, also see people as big and small based on income and popularity when the truth of the matter is we are all just people. There is no such thing as big people and small people. That’s why I do not get carried away over “celebrities.” A celebrity is a person just as I am. You will never find me fawning over a singer, actor, athlete, author, etc. because I do not see him/her being any different from myself. The only difference is the fact that they are seen by more people and make more money; certainly two attributes that do not make them “Big,” in fact if you critically think about it, if there were no small, how could there be big? In other words if it were not for fools (uh I mean fans….(small) there would be no celebrity (big).

I have met many “celebrities” during my lifetime due to my travels, affiliations, and career moves and have yet to go berserk over any of them (Oh the stories I could tell of what I have seen people do and say when they are around “celebrities”). I am not impressed. I have taken photos with them and chatted with them (acknowledging my appreciation for how they have developed their craft), but never awestruck or to the point where “I’ll never wash my hand again because I shook the hand of……” or screaming and crying and all of that nonsense. They are people; however, because of this worship of people who have money, position or are seen by millions of other people, we get this phenomenon of big and small people. Have you ever really wondered why people get star-struck? I don’t ask for autographs, however, when I see people particularly children asking the so called “star” for his or her autograph and he/she blows them off as if they don’t matter, I am disheartened for the child. I guess they were too small of a person to sign their baseball or autograph book. Give me a break, please!!!

So in reality, Mr. Svanberg really just verbalized what many of us right here in America do every day, and that is to judge and label people who we feel perform menial, un-noteworthy tasks. I tell you this, let the “small people” stop doing what they do and watch how far any organization or culture progresses or succeeds. Let the custodians, security guards, secretaries, trash collectors, bus drivers, etc. etc. stop doing their work and see how far the organization goes. I leave you with a metaphorical fable that I am sure you critical thinkers can figure out. Just in case you can’t, I have labeled the representation of the “big people” and the “small people.”

All the organs of the body were having a meeting, trying to decide who was in charge.

The brain said: "I should be in charge, because I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen." (BIG PEOPLE)

"I should be in charge," said the heart, "because I pump the blood and circulate oxygen all over the body, so without me you'd all waste away." (BIG PEOPLE)
"I should be in charge," said the stomach, "because I process food and give all of you energy." (BIG PEOPLE)
"I should be in charge," said the rectum, "because I'm responsible for waste removal." (SMALL PEOPLE)
All the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him,(BIG PEOPLE) so in a huff, he shut down tight. (SMALL PEOPLE). Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, (BIG PERSON) the stomach was bloated (BIG PERSON) and the blood was toxic (BIG PERSON). Eventually the other organs gave in. (BIG PEOPLE). They all agreed (BIG PEOPLE) that the rectum (LITTLE PERSON) should be the boss.

The moral of the story is: We are ALL important and there are no small people; only small minds. As always, I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog.

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