Stereotypes are insulting, not to mention dangerous since they’re usually completely wrong. One idea gets into someone’s head, and they stick with it despite all evidence to the contrary. Of course, generalisations of any kind are a bad idea, because everybody’s different, even when there are similarities in their outward appearance.
Personally I blame the movies. I’ve seen my share, hard not to when they’re being broadcast willy-nilly, and I have to say I’m not impressed with the way people like me get depicted.
Really, it’s quite upsetting. I mean come on, use your heads; we’re not all little green men from Mars, or little grey men for that matter. If you haven’t noticed, Mars in uninhabitable and always has been for anything more advanced than the odd amoeba, and trust me when I say they’re VERY odd.
Come to that, we’re not even all MEN as humans understand the term! Sexist much? Naturally some of us are male, and some are female, but others are of indeterminate gender or none at all. Just because humans come in two main genders doesn’t mean everybody does. In fact, humans are just now starting to realise that they have more genders than they’d previously thought. We probably shouldn’t be surprised; self-discovery is a slow process, and some races take millennia to figure themselves out.
The universe is a big place; plenty of room for every conceivable variation in shape and gender to evolve, and a few that you humans would no doubt consider inconceivable. Many of the younger races have a tendency towards narrow-mindedness, but that’s only to be expected with the young and inexperienced so we do our best to tolerate such childish notions. There is more variety in the universe than you can begin to imagine, sheltered as you are on your one little planet.
Take myself, for example. If you met me in my natural form, you’d have me pegged as an alien right away, I’m sure, and you’d probably kill me on sight because everybody knows from the movies that all aliens are hideous monsters that abduct humans in order to perform horrible experiments on them. Either that or they’re bent on taking over the planet, stealing its resources, and enslaving the population, right?
Wrong, that’s another blatant example of stereotyping.
For one thing, there’s nothing on your planet that we can’t get elsewhere cheaper and with a lot less effort. Well, except for coffee, which doesn’t seem to grow as well elsewhere, cans of squirty cream, and zip fasteners. Can you believe no other race has ever invented those? Quite remarkable things, and they’re very useful, so many of us, myself included, are willing to overlook human eccentricities and live among you. I make quite a good living exporting luxury goods to several worlds. The latest must-have commodity is action figures. Everyone seems to want little human dolls they can pose in improbable positions. Many people find them quite endearing.
I seem to have gone slightly off topic, now where was I? Ah yes, stereotyping all aliens as cruel, violent, or tyrannical monsters, to be feared and destroyed at all costs. Honestly, if anything it’s the other way around; we should be afraid of you, and many of us are. It’s a hazardous business living on a world where many of the inhabitants are intolerant of minor differences in their own kind. If you people knew how many non-humans live among you… Well, I can only hope you never find out.
The truth is that most of the people you would term aliens or extraterrestrials are peaceful, civilised beings like myself. Of course there are exceptions, some very nasty species have evolved out in the universe, Daleks, and Cybermen for a start, and then there are the more unsavoury elements of certain other races. Even the most advanced societies occasionally produce a few bad apples, as you might describe them, criminals of various kinds. On the whole though, we’re interested in fair trade, and scientific study, and no, that does not mean we carry out invasive experiments on people. It’s far easier to do a quick, unobtrusive scan of select individuals to gather data without them even being aware, and if biological samples are required, all anyone has to do is ask the nice people of Torchwood. They’re always willing to help out by exchanging scientific information with the scholars of other worlds. Everybody benefits, even if most of humanity will never know.
Torchwood are also the ones who provide people like me with the identities and the camouflage technology that allow us to live among humans without anyone else ever being aware that we come from another planet. Not all of us are lucky enough to have natural shape-shifting abilities. Torchwood protects us, provided we obey their rules and don’t break any of the local laws.
I expect you’re wondering what a real alien looks like. Well, it varies; there are thousands of alien races, after all, but I can tell you right now that I am neither little, nor green or grey. I’m six feet tall, purple, completely hairless, and I have what you’d no doubt term tentacles rather than arms and legs, four for walking and two for using tools and so forth. My four eyes are on stalks, and I hear with antennae rather than ears. Stuff that in your stereotypes and chew on it.
There’s only one generalisation I agree with; people are people, no matter what shape or colour they might be, or what planet they may come from. We all deserve to be treated with respect and consideration. I hope someday humanity will learn that lesson. Until that day, we’ll have to rely on Torchwood to keep everyone, humans and aliens alike, safe by whatever means necessary. Here they are now. Too bad you’re not going to remember this conversation.