With our documentary film interview coming up with Kipling D. Williams, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, social exclusion and ostracism is on my mind. What is social exclusion anyway? An excepted definition is:
“Social exclusion is the process in which individuals or entire communities of people are systematically blocked from (or denied full access to) various rights, opportunities and resources that are normally available to members of a different group, and which are fundamental to social integration within that particular group (e.g., housing, employment, healthcare, civic engagement, democratic participation, and due process).”
And there’s more…social exclusion has many contributors. Major contributors include race, income, employment status, social class, geographic location, personal habits and appearance, sexual orientation, education, religion and political affiliation. Okay, with all that said, how can social exclusion effect you and your family? And does being treated as a “social outcast” affect my emotional state?
The short answer is, we’ve all been treated as an outcast in one way or another, some more serious than others. Being treated differently and being excluded from groups, opportunities and resources does affect your emotional and well being in various ways. Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control. Physically, too, rejection takes a toll. People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections. Through his research on social exclusion, Williams has verified the link between being ostracized and aggression. Williams’s student Lisa Zadro, PhD, now at the University of Sydney in Australia, interviewed 50 people who were either ostracized or perpetrators of ostracism. Those who’d been ostracized reported depression, eating disorders, promiscuity disorders and even attempted suicide. Almost all said that they would have preferred physical abuse to ostracism. In addition, researchers find that all you have to do is relive a past ostracism episode, or even imagine a future event, and you will feel psychological agony. So intense is the pain of ostracism that even being rejected from a despised group makes people upset. Observing ostracism distresses even bystanders.
We can dive deeper by studying Abraham Maslow and the famous hierarchy of needs model. Maslow and other theorists have suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation. According to Maslow, all humans, even introverts, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy. Diving deeper is where we would find peer rejection in childhood and the connection between ostracism and violence. An analysis of 15 school shootings between 1995 and 2001 found that peer rejection was present in all but two of the cases (87%). The documented rejection experiences included both acute and chronic rejection and frequently took the form of ostracism, bullying, and romantic rejection.
So why do we sometimes go against what is recommended by numerous theorists when relating and socializing with friends, families, co-workers and even strangers? A little history of human nature may help to clarify. Some researchers think belonging to a group was probably helpful to our ancestors. We have weak claws, little fur, and long childhoods; living in a group helped early humans survive harsh environments. Because of that, being part of a group still helps people feel safe and protected, even when walls and clothing have made it easier for one man to be an island entire of himself. Basically, social rejection and ostracism is part of human nature, according to researchers. It’s when it goes to far (as we have seen throughout history) when it becomes a problem not just for the ostracized individual, but for society as a whole.
As we interview Williams for our upcoming documentary, NOT FOR RENT!, we will be focusing on the effects of social ostracism on individuals with criminal records and the rejection these men and woman face in the community, especially with rental housing. In addition to social exclusion, ex-offenders sometimes carry a “social stigma” because of their past crimes. We’ll also talk with Williams about Cyberball, an open-source virtual ball-toss game that can be used for research on ostracism, social exclusion or rejection. It has also been used to study discrimination and prejudice (free download).
I could write and write all day about this very important subject. Today, I covered only a brief look at social exclusion and how it affects everyone on earth in one way or another. Please like our blog and our Facebook page to stay updated on our interview with Kipling Williams and our documentary film, NOT FOR RENT!, due out spring of 2017.
–Matt Duhamel Metamora Films
What is the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation? Beginning with the 2008 groundbreaking for Reconciliation Park, which was Dr. John Hope Franklin’s last public appearance before his death in March 2009, the Center’s Board of Directors has created an exciting vision – to transform the bitterness and mistrust caused by years of racial division, even violence, into a hopeful future of reconciliation and cooperation for Tulsa and the nation.
Please join documentary filmmaker, Matt Duhamel and Metamora Films at this year’s national symposium. The Center is focusing on several areas of conversation. These include:
Our feature documentary, The Forgiveness Journey (watch the film for free on YouTube) will also be part of this amazing symposium on May 28th in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are also very excited to be working alongside Dr. Forrest C. Crawford as we both embark on “Courageous Conversations” that cover important discussion on forgiveness, compassion and more.
Other keynote speakers include: Isabel Wilkerson, award-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns and “Hate Crimes in the Heartland” documentary film screening and national-local discussion panel featuring Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Rachel Lyon.
Please join us in Tulsa, OK on May 28th. If you are unable to attend, please watch for our talk on our YouTube page in early June.
We are proud to announce that we have released our third film, The Forgiveness Journey, a 73-minute documentary on the process of forgiveness on YouTube for everyone to watch.
The Forgiveness Journey is a feature length documentary exploring the issues of forgiveness, compassion and second chances. In the film, you’ll meet people who are struggling through their own personal forgiveness journey. Read more about the film here.
You can still purchase the DVD with exclusive bonus features through Amazon at anytime.
We wanted to make the film available to all people across the world in hopes to bring hope to people’s lives. The stories featured in the film, we believe, our powerful and speaks to all faiths, societies, and cultures. Thanks again to the brave men and woman who shared their inspirational forgiveness stories for our cameras.
Enjoy the film. Comments? We would love to hear from you.
Our latest installment on MetamoraTV is Utah actor, Ethan Roth. Ethan recently moved to Utah and is pursuing an acting career. He is currently working on a new indie film that is being shot locally and has a few potential modeling “gigs”.
I spoke with Ethan about his passion for film and his upcoming auditions. While speaking with Ethan, I could sense his true passion for acting and the film industry. He gave me and the viewers audition tips which will help any newcomer interested in acting/modeling.
In addition to acting, Ethan gives back to his community. He actively donates to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Every 38 minutes Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories. Above is MiaBella who received the gift of life with a donor heart. After going to the doctor’s office for what she thought was the flu, Mia was diagnosed with Giant Cell Myocarditis. Read more about her story.
Do you have an inspirational story? Do you enjoy giving back to your community? Be on MetamoraTV! Contact us for more information.
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