Posted by: aboutalbion | May 7, 2013

End the discrimination of introverts

“Don’t call introverted children ‘shy’.”

“Second class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent.”

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

These are sound bites from Susan Cain, who seems to be emerging as a spokesperson for the substantial minority of people in western cultures who realise that they have an introverted identity.  I would position myself within the family of introverts.  Some say that the proportion of introverts in a modern population is a quarter, some say a third, and some would put it nearer to a half.

I have only just seen a reference to her influential book, “Quiet” (Penguin Paperbacks), in which she argues that introverts today seem to be much the same position as women a couple of generations ago – “second class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent.”

I agree with her view that there is some evidence that introverts have “been unfairly side-lined for too long.  Introversion … is regarded as less successful, less desirable and less worthy a temperament in our society than extroversion … quietness, shyness and solitude have come to be seen as second-rate, weak and almost shameful …”

I would add that in some contexts, the discrimination against introverts goes a stage further than ‘failure’ to become ‘illness’.  The opinion of some extroverts that introverts are in some sense ill, and that their ‘inhibitions’ can be exorcized by psychotherapy, needs to be re-evaluated

“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured” is another sound bite from Susan Cain.

[Cain, Susan (2013) Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.  Penguin.]


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