Prejudice! It Has To Stop...NOW!
Nelson Mandela said “People must learn to hate, and if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
No one is born to hate.
Hate is learnt.
No one is born racist.
Racism is learnt.
No one is born homophobic.
Homophobia is learnt.
We all have a choice about how we behave and sadly some people choose poorly. People choose to oppress minorities or people who are different from them. Sometimes they even mock a person for their fashion choices, hairstyles, tastes, beliefs and ways of life. People will use any excuse to cause harm to another person; they’re tall, they’re short, they’re male, they’re female, they’re fat, they’re thin…and so on. I use the term harm as all encompassing word to include the physical and mental harm.
It is time to stop this attitude, this way of life; and it starts with you.
As we enter Pride Month people from all walks of life within the LGBTQ+ community celebrate their sexuality and normally this would happen with big events taking place worldwide. Of course due to the Coronavirus, this isn’t happening this year but that shouldn’t stop you celebrating who you are and acknowledging (or starting to) who you are. Okay, so some of you may struggle to see people dressed as unicorns waving their rainbow flags next to a person in silver hot pants and a bondage vest covered from head to foot in glitter…but is that any reason to mock them or hate them? Live and let live. Is it actually causing you any harm? Is it actually hurting you? No. If you don’t want to see it skip the news item or the photos. Do not judge someone based on their life choices especially as it’s not actually causing you any harm. Phobia is a fear of something…just what are homophobic people scared of?
I said there that you shouldn’t judge people based on their life choices. However, being gay (and I’m using this as a blanket term) is actually in the DNA. While there isn’t a single “gay gene” there are a number of genetic factors that all contribute to someone’s sexuality, so being gay isn’t a choice any more than being born with blue eyes is choice. And yet people still think it’s acceptable to judge someone for their sexual orientation. Granted, there are some religions that use their dogma and doctrine to give people the excuse to incite hate against homosexuals and yet the irony is that they’re the first to defend their rights when they’re accused of being narrow minded and homophobic and yet their religion IS a choice.
Why have a march in the first place? There isn’t a heterosexual march. Correct there isn’t and be grateful that you don’t need one! Pride came about because homosexuals had been tormented and tortured for many years. People have been murdered because they’re gay. So the fact that there needs to be a march in the first place is tragic. However, it not only serves as a celebration of acknowledging who you are it serves as a memorial to those who weren’t able to enjoy their freedom of sexuality. It’s the same with the marches for racism and equality. The very fact we need to have a march to raise awareness of these issues is very upsetting.
The tragic (some may even say brutal) death of George Floyd has sparked a movement and outpouring of Black Lives Matter. People all around the world have been marching in protest (often ignoring the Social Distancing laws) and posting blackout pictures on social media. This feeling of outrage crops up every so often with people wanting to demonstrate their support and solidarity. But is it really going to make a difference? Yes, it will have an impact for a short time, but will it make a difference? In and of itself probably not. While following the crowd and hash-tagging “Black Lives Matter” or posting the black picture is showing support or demonstrating you care about the situation (or in some instances just jumping on the bandwagon because you’re worried what people will think if you don’t) is all well and good, it’s not enough. Action needs to take place. People need to be educated. You won’t change a person’s mind unless you educate them. So rather than just blindly posting the hashtags because you support them…see if you can do something more. Something proactive. Something that means we don’t need to have the hashtags any more but until that day arrives - #blacklivesmatter!
When Martin Luther King was assassinated, a school teacher by the name of Jane Elliot conducted an experiment in her class whereby she segregated the students with blue eyes and the students with brown/green eyes. The blue eyed students were deemed as second class citizens and the brown eyed students were seen to be superior and more intelligent. The brown eyed students were given extra break time, allowed to go to lunch first while the “blue-ies” had to remain in subordination. Eventually what happened is the brown eyed group started to poke fun at, make jibes and generally be nasty to the blue eyed people, some even picking fights with them. The following week she reversed the experiment whereby the blue eyed students were now the superior ones and the brown eyed pupils were the underlings. However, this time the blue eyed people were not as condescending or mean as the their brown eyed counterparts had been. When asked why she was told that “[the blue eyes] had felt what it was like to be on the bottom and they didn’t want anyone to feel like that ever again.” This handful of students learned that prejudice is stupid but rife, as did her classes for the next nine years.
Jane has since gone on to give talks and conduct the experiments all across America. She’s appeared on TV talking about how “…judging people based on their skin colour is as ridiculous as judging people based on their eye colour, gender, religion or sexual orientation.” When Barack Obama was president the level of hatred about race seemed to die down. Fewer people were demonstrating their ignorance. But all that happened really was that it was suppressed. That presidency comes to an end and under the “new” regime, the lid has flown off Pandora’s Box creating a shit-storm of racism rearing its ugly head which means it didn’t actually go away.
Prejudice is learned…therefore it can be unlearned. But sadly many people are scared of what it will mean for them. They fear that by losing their prejudices they’re going to lose power. Power over what? Another human being? Why should anyone have power over another person? How do we stop this atrocious behaviour? I firmly believe that we all need to take responsibility. Whenever we witness discrimination (and I’m talking about ANY kind of discrimination not just racism) we need to take positive action. We need to educate people how it’s ignorant behaviour. We need to help people learn that discriminating against a person is wrong on so many levels. We need to stop being prejudice ourselves. We need to accept everybody for being what they are…what we all are. HUMAN!
Watch this - The Pentatonix with their version of John Lennon's "Imagine" - powerful stuff!