AKA: Bifurcation, Black-And-White Thinking

Viewing or putting everything into strict binary categories - right or wrong, positive or negative, black or white, good or evil, them vs. us, either/or, with no possible third options, nuances, or options between. Polarization takes many forms.

For example, Pedro says that he was annoyed by the misuse of the word "energy" The Avengers. Kim immediately concludes that Pedro must hate the entire movie with every fiber of his being. In reality, Pedro does like the movie overall; he's simply mildly annoyed by the misuse of the word "energy." (Because things can't be "made of energy" any more than they can be "made of shove.") People can and do find parts of works irritating or annoying while enjoying the works overall.

Or, a celebrity says or does something that Patricia approves of (eg, speaks out in support of a social cause she supports), and suddenly that celebrity is a HOMG PERFECT HUMAN BEING who ought to be loved by all. Same celebrity does something that Lydia disapproves of (eg, endorses a charity with questionable ethical practices) and suddenly that celebrity is TOTAL SCUM WORSE THAN HITLER who ought to be hated by all. Never mind the third - and infinitely more likely option - that this celebrity, like most people, has both virtues and flaws and is neither a saint nor a demon.

Another example of polarization is how certain Christians assume that various non-Christians must literally and knowingly worship Satan. Because they don't worship Yahweh/Jesus and have no interest in converting, then they are clearly opposed to Christianity, which means that they have to worship the Devil, the enemy of good Christians everywhere. Similarly, they believe that because these people were opposed to Christianity, they must endorse everything Christians oppose, and vice-versa. Christians don't believe in sacrificing and eating infants? They must be all for it. Christians believe in freedom and peace? They must want tyranny and oppression. (This kind of thinking has more than once lead to a KILL THEM BEFORE THEY KILL US!!! attitude.) You can see a similar kind of thing with people who decide that countries who don't want to fully embrace the "American Way" must hate and want to destroy America, so therefore we should head on over and destroy or forcibly convert them before they destroy us...

On the flip side of the coin, you have people who assume that because someone is Christian, xe must be a narrow-minded gun-toting bigot who wants to forcibly convert everyone xe meets and thinks everyone who believes slightly different than xir is going to Hell, which isn't any more accurate, or helpful.

Or, Susie states that she is a feminist - so Bob assumes that she must hate men and wants to make them subservient. Or, Bob states that men have certain issues with equality as well, so Susie assumes that Bob must hate women and want to make them subservient. In both cases, one party immediately jumps to the most extreme conclusion without stopping to ascertain whether there is any real evidence for that conclusion.

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