This is a bit of a sensitive subject. Even writing this has been extremely challenging. Normally I simply put all emotion aside and try to use logic. Whereas in this case, anger, frustration, shock and amazement kept clouding my mind. This is my fifth attempt, so hopefully it works this time. I suppose this post in itself is an exercise in futility, but it is something that I feel needs addressing.
Why is it that we as people presume to know what is best for others? We are so happy judging others by our personal experiences. We feel entitled to judge and discriminate against others because they do not conform to our ideas of normality. Before I continue, I’m sure all of you can without a doubt say that this does not apply to you. Right? Wrong. It is exactly you that I am talking to. Unless you actually took some time to contemplate that. Unless you actually paused and tried to look back in your life to assertain if you are indeed guilty of it, then you are exactly who I am talking to.
We cannot know with absolute certainty that we do not do this, unless we question ourselves. Unless we question our motives. Did you treat that waiter any less than you would like to be treated? Did you get a little more angry than you should have at the aashole that cut you off in traffic? There are so many possible moments that we simply shrug off as reaction to ciscumstances. The only way to break the habit is, to take a long hard look at ourselves and they way we treat people… ALL PEOPLE! Remember, you can’t stop doing wrong if you don’t know you’re doing it… and you will never know you’re doing it unless you take some time to look at yourself and how you react to what you see.
We are so quick to react to what we see, often we couldn’t be bothered to check if it’s true or not. Pot smokers are drug dalers, homosexuals are (believe it or not, I have actually seen this argument on social media) pedophiles. Black people are criminals. Muslims are terrorists. Jews are selfish. Before you judge, try to remember that there are often circumstances that we are unaware of. Unfortunately, there is always three sides to a story, and we generally jump to conclusions that suit us. Regardless of all the facts. We pesume to know the full story, and get infuriated by whatever it is we think has agrieved us. When in fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with us.
Of course, we are inundated with media that is designed to play on our emotions. It is our responsibility to sift through these, and only share what is true… what is necessary… what is kind. Any idiot can spread a message of hatred and bigotry, we have a duty to make sure any half truths or judgements die with us.
In all fairness, it is by no fault of our own that we have this mentality. We were raised to be law abiding citizens. Taught that the law is always right. Is it really? Or are we merely being complacent, following blindly, unquestioningly. Doing what we are told.
In this day and age, we have not only the right and capacity, but the responsibility to question everything. Many people have died for everyone to have that right. Use it! In fact, abuse it. Question everything. The worst that can come of questioning, is education… and that’s not so bad.
Something to remember, is that laws are not always necessarily right. In fact, if we were to look back through history, Apartheid was legal, inter racial marriage was illegal! Women had no right to vote! Slavery! Even Christianity at some point was illegal. So many forms of bigotry and hatred all tolerated for many years because of complacency. Because people refused to question the morality of the law at the time. Anyone can manipulate a belief system to justify hatred for self gain…. and we as sheep follow blindly because we presume to think that they stand for what we believe in.
Don’t misunderstand, I know very well the importance of laws, I unfortunately also know the importance of people questioning those laws. I will use apartheid as an example. For many years, people were brainwashed into believing white people are superior. Not at all their fault, they were just law abiding citizens. Following the law unquestioningly like good citizens. The problem arises when that law changed we were left with a bunch of people who have been taught all their lives that black people are inferior. People who had no way of knowing better. Yet we are surprised when racism rears it’s ugly face. More than that, we get angry with them and try to force them to change their way of thinking. How would you feel if you were forced to change your way of thinking? We all need to reach that realisation on our own accord. Trying to force someone will only get retalliation. We need to be shown a better way through kindness, patience and understanding.
Law enforcement also plays a major role in perpetuating this bigotry. Unknowingly of course, they are merely doing their jobs. I understand the need to distance themselves emotionally from criminals to ensure mental stabitlity, but that in no way excuses the lack of questioning these laws. Is it not possible to enforce these laws while maintaining respect and humility? Questioning the laws you enforce does not mean you don’t need to enforce them, it will just change the way you approach people. And when the laws change, it will make the transition for you that much easier. I am in no way saying law enforcement needs to join a cause, but at the very least, they can stop being condescending towards people who are.
Instead of spreading videos of stupid people saying stupid things, and trying to get them fired, or imprisoned, should we not instead be educating the them? Showing them that their past experiences are not necessarily a true reflection of a specific race, religion, belief or anything else. Teaching them that there are people of all races, religions and beliefs that are capable of love and kindness even in the face of adversity. When you approach people with this attutude, they have no option but to respect what you have to say. They have no option but to understand that they may have a right to an opinion, but so do you, and it’s ok to have a difference of opinion. As long as those differences do not impose on each other.
Before you say or do anything… especially if you feel an emotional connection to a topic, try to find some facts. Not just facts to support your side of an arguement, but neutral facts. You could go even further, and try to find facts supporting the opposite side of the arguement. Try to understand where they are coming from, why they might feel the way they do…. ask yourself, how would you feel if you were in that situation. That way, not only will it give you time to cool down, but it just might educate you on things you aren’t quite willing to hear in heated discussion…it will give you time to actually process and understand from the other point of view without getting defensive… and at the very least, it will calm you down enough to talk with respect and understanding.
Most major world issues are all just ordinary people trying to force their beliefs down onto others. Trying to tell others what they can or can’t do with their own bodies, lives, beliefs. Every argument against homosexuality, gender equality, racial equality, but to name a few, is based on a single point of view. “You are wrong and I am right. You have no right to do what you want or need to. Even if it is with your body,or even your life… you must do what I say. ” You know who else has this kind of outlook? ISIS. And YOU have the nerve to call them terrorists. Execution might be different, but idealogy is the same. Whatever happened to live and let live? Whatever happened to do unto others? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have enough to worry about in my life. How is it possible to focus on the challenges in your own life when you are so busy trying to control lives of others?
No matter what you have pre concieved notions about, before you judge, do some research. Educate yourself. Understand exactly what it is you are talking about. Be careful of becoming a bully, and you might finally find peace and understanding. Peace for yourself. And understanding your place in this world. It is very important to remember, you will never learn anything if you already know everything.