Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On differences.

  We live in a world of perceptions, it's true. To you, an ant is tiny. But to something, say, a virus, the ant would be enormous beyond believe. (For visuals, view this.)
  In all ways, this is how we live. We adore some people because of the way we see them, and dislike some because we give our own reasons as to do so. We learn to create some of our own perceptions as we are lead through experiences in life, but many were also put into our minds by others -some intentionally as well as some subconsciously.

  We were having a discussion/debate once in class, and that touched upon the subject of skin colour, race and appearances. Now, I feel really really fortunate to have the opportunity to be in a class with multinational people, all from different countries scattered across the very surface of our earth. I realised that if I had once thought myself to be open-minded, I had not known the possibilities of how much wider my mind could stretch, and now, I just keep learning. It is interesting to learn so much, and it truly is wonderful how each person can show us new ways of thinking because even if in minimal levels, our original cultures from the environments we once lived in have at least influenced us a little.

  So, we were asked to brainstorm reasons why a 'white' security guard might have had the certain amount of prejudice against a 'black' customer, and although I believe that we in that class might not have such a discrimination, we did agree that the customer's appearances would probably have been one of the factors. Now, you see. The problem with this is what the masses have a tendency to do -stereotyping. My whole life, I've been trying to break away from that so for anyone who tries that on me, would soon find out that they were wrong -if they actually do bother to find out. However, I realised just a little while back how this works. It was a pretty sad realisation, though I was suddenly aware of the fact that it is actually because society has moulded so many people into cliches that stereotyping have seemed to work.

  In the end, my friend stood up and demanded, "So, what you are saying is that they are judging that man because of his appearances (and indirectly, 'skin colour')? Is that right for them to do that?!" To which I knew I had an answer to so I spoke up, "It isn't right, but people still do it." I had interrupted, but I had to, and my friend fell silent for a second. Among all the voices, my teacher had heard me, and she requested that I repeat it. "It isn't right," I said, "but people still do it."

  I have never understood why and how people could judge and discriminate other people just because of the pigments in their skin. The way those layers of colours that wrap and protect our internals, that were passed down from generations and which one has never had any control over. I remember one of Bob Proctor's talks from the set of motivational audiobooks which I had purchased, and he was talking about something of this sort. He said something along the lines of, "Do you know that we actually look through our eyes? Not with. Through. We see with our minds. How we see a thing is actually the end result of the light reflected off the object, which travels through the tunnels of our iris until they reach the nerve endings in our brain. That is where the image is 'seen'."
  He quoted an example: "I was pointing out at a seminar yesterday, there was a person that we would refer to as a black person in the front row. I had black shoes on and a white shirt, and I said so, 'People refer to you as black, and me as white. You're not black, and I'm not white. My shirt is white, but I'm not the colour of my shirt. My shoes are black, but I'm not the colour of my shoes. Why do we say that you're black and I'm white? It's because we've been programmed so it gets those reflectors working, goes into our memory. How did it get into our memory? Someone put it there! That man or woman is not black and this man is not white. So we not only see through our eyes, we're seeing things that aren't true, that are programmed into our mind."
  "It is with this inner eyes of understanding that we see. And so if we believed in the testimony of our eyes, we would accept many conditions that are not true. For example, if we looked down a railroad track and observed that at a certain distance, the two tracks converge at one point, we know that that's not true. So our eyes deceive us. Don't be deceived."

  What he's saying is that we see with the amount and capability of our understanding; what we have already known. It is required, to make the most out of this thing we call life, to expand our understandings, and by this very way, ourselves.

  Before coming to the UK, I'd thought that I didn't belong to 'my' country. After living here for a bit, and having such a magnificent blend of internationality as social peers, I realised something. That is, I don't belong anywhere. Which if you are able to believe in paradoxes, it also means that I belong everywhere. Or at the very least, I could.

  I know of many people, especially back home, who have these ideas of 'a country of perfection', where there are technological advances, everyone is 'smart', and basically, an almost 'heavenly'-like place which they would take for the Western countries. I have known since the very beginning, that that couldn't be true. And now I can tell them for sure that I was right -if they still hold such beliefs. I am still able to be satisfied, and to say out loud that I am truly satisfied, that this was the right choice, coming here because I have one thing that overrides all these itty-bitty imperfections like the streets which aren't always littered free. And that thing is language. English, to be precise.

  Maybe at first sight, many would 'mistaken' me as being 'non-English'. And I wouldn't really want to say that I resemble one or something like that. However, I believe that deep inside my heart, it is all these words that fabricate the worthiness and the soul of my being. This isn't, as well, to 'boast' about the 'greatness' of this particular language. Nevertheless, it is the most beautiful one to me, personally, for it is my first language and when these words are produced through me, I know that they are the truth of what I know. This was the reason, a really really significant reason, that I knew that I had to live in an English speaking country.

  Going back to the idea concept of what you see is what you believe, I would say that I have not felt that I have faced discrimination here, despite the appearances that my ancestors have bestowed upon me.

  Having said that, there was one occasion, which I would like to share here.
  It was five in the afternoon, and me and two Chinese friends of mine were walking back from an early dinner. Along the way, I noticed three figures from afar, who looked barely like they were in their teens. Two were sitting on the ground, the other, on the dented road divider. Nothing really that suspicious, I thought.

  However, when we walked right past them, the boy sitting on the divider started calling out, 'Ni hao!', which basically means 'hello' in mandarin, in this derogatory manner and the other two started following suit. Unsure how to react, I tried to maintain some degree of friendliness towards them, smiling wryly, not wanting to offend people of such. It wasn't till all three of us had finally passed them all by, when the boy shouted, 'You're Chinese, bastards!'

  To be honest, I was a little stunned. However, I kept walking. If I should have been offended, I wasn't. Couldn't. Instead, it set me thinking, the wheels of my mind swivelling, and whatever emotion I had in me very quickly turned into pity. Pity towards them. I had never for once, even for a fraction of a second, felt like a victim. No. Instead, I pitied them because it was rather clear that they hadn't really been taught to respect others. They had not been taught to it doesn't matter what race you are, how you look like, and what is important is the sense of respect and dignity you have for all of life. They lacked that, and all I could do then was to hope that they might learn one day or that may the society improve for the better. No, they were the ones at the losing end. Not me. I knew who I was and I understood things. I could have a wonderful life. Would have a wonderful life. Is having a wonderful life. Society could definitely do without those kind of attitudes; and this makes me wish so hard that it could be that people learn to understand and be responsible before they become parents, seeing as how absolutely vital it is to the passing down of 'sights' and perceptions.

  I think I've read somewhere before, that nothing else really matters except for having respect towards all things in this universe. Showing them kindness, understanding them and if possible, assisting them to be the best that they can be.
  Also, give without the expectation of a direct return. That's one of the best things you can be. I have learnt to know how much better it feels to give and in return, accept the satisfaction of the pleasure of giving. Being able to lend a hand in times of need and in turn, inspire others, has been truly amazing.

  Maybe this sounds crazy right now, but I dream of a world one day where all the races have been mixed in all ways -places that they live in with no more countries with concentrated, homogenous races; genes, where children all have bits of various DNA in them; and friends. Friends who love one another because of each others souls. Which are the threads that weave the whole universe into its existence.

"If you're lucky enough to be different from everybody else, never change to be the same."
— Taylor Swift

*all images belong to others except for the last one. :)

Lots of love,

1 comment:

  1. If I were in that situation with that guy, I'd probably have laughed and said, "What an astute observation! Maybe now you can finally graduate kindergarten...hopefully."
    Even though it sounds like I'm being rather nasty, it just seems like a very fun thing to do that I never seem to get the chance to. :(