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Cultural Signifiers As Exclusionary Barriers

I don’t think that most of us do this purposely, but this phenomenon is a universal human behavior. I’m referring to cultural signifiers that identify us as part of a group. These behaviors are ubiquitous and they are inescapable.

For example, most professions have their own language – sometimes it’s formal (like medicine) and sometimes it’s informal (like musicians). These specialized languages serve as a means of communication to other members of the profession, but they can also present a barrier to outsiders trying to understand what is happening.

Cultural references are liberally sprinkled in everyday speech – yet these references are generally designed not simply to signify who we are or what we like (a reference to an author, or an artist), they are also subtly designed to separate those who “know” from those who “don’t know.”

I’m not really making a point here, just an observation. Humans seem to have a need to separate into subgroups with which they can identify. Tribes if you will – hmmm