The world seems to be falling apart at present. Every time I look at the news, Twitter, Facebook or any sort of social media there is some sort of death, destruction, fear-mongering and spread of hate. Hmm, I dislike using the word hate in such general terms. It really is more suited to specific incidents and even then should be used carefully. Yet it is a word that fits for the purposes of this blog.
It crossed my mind, more than once, that we as a society talk far more than we take action. We are all on about equality, rights for all and every other social justice that we tend to spout all sorts of things. When the time comes for action we are usually seen doing the opposite. I’ll make my case in a moment, but I see this not just in politicians. It is visible in every day folk that I talk to all the time. Actions are not forthcoming, no matter how much we protest that we want to change the world.
All of us has some phobia. Before you protest think carefully. There is at the minimum one thing that scares you for no apparent reason. You cannot be around it, and no amount of education can change it. You are marrow-deep afraid of it. I have a phobia too – not relevant here – and no amount of education and knowledge changes that I have this deep-seated fear. I live with it and attempt not to place myself where I would be uncomfortable, yet at the same time, if confronted, I deal with it.
Some of our phobias have to do with skin colour, sexual orientation, lifestyle choice and religious choice etc. We don’t understand and we have some deep-seated fear and therefore assume it must be bad. We wouldn’t be scared if it wasn’t bad. Yet no amount of education will assist in diluting the fear. But here is the little epiphany I had last night. We perpetuate the phobia ourselves and we broadcast this fear and in so doing incite those who have similar fears. I’ll use skin colour as an example because I have grown up around apartheid and segregation.
I was part of those who chose to vote to end the segregation. We opened our country to a whole new world. Now as I sit in a first-world country and watch as the hashtags trend, I realise that we ourselves are to blame for still seeing colour. Even back in my birth country – we cannot let go and see people. We are still seeing people through a lens of colour, sexual orientation, religion etc. Until we let go of the past, we cannot move forward into the future.
Before I am shot at noon for my thoughts, let me say this. I know that certain people have been given a bad start – I think of all those who were captured and sold into slavery. It wasn’t just those with dark skin. I think of all those who have died at the hands of dictators and corrupt leaders. I think of all those who were annihilated in the pursuit of progress and war. It isn’t those just with dark skins. I am aware that some folk feel they are entitled due to the colour of their skin, yet it is fear that motivates them at the core.
The sooner we stop seeing and promoting colour, the sooner our children will do the same. The sooner the world will change. When we stop judging based on ethnicity, on religion, on country we will start seeing the change we want in this world. We ourselves are promoting and prolonging the fear. When we finally stop shouting our phobias from the rooftops and instead see, it will become better. This peace that we seek so vehemently is not coming because we cannot still that beast inside us and we blurt it out to everyone. When we stop choosing sides and instead look at people, we will find the change in this world we so desperately want.
I have learned much from my phobia by confronting it and then not blurting it out. I have learned that life is better and more peaceful when I look at people and not their choices. They have their paths to walk as do I. All it takes is a little respect and a lot of being quiet to see people and not the outside. That old adage “never judge a book by its cover” is really something I feel we should all take to heart.
But I am just an idealist. Wishing and hoping that one day people will see people and stop forcing a decision to take sides.