Today, I’m feeling a little daring, so I’m going to go right ahead and talk about a rather sensitive, even taboo, topic.
That is racism and segregation. More specifically, I want to get into the question of how they still exist in our so-called modern day and age.
On my ride to school, I had an epiphany in regards to this. Actually I would like to look at it as my personal interpretation of our current situation that seems to be getting worse, instead of better. After all, we are the superior human race compared to our fellow ancestors, right?
After asking myself why racism and segregation still exist and hitting against numerous metaphorical walls, I came to this (mind you, reductive and simplistic) conclusion: could racism and segregation be our modern day version of the concept of survival of fitness (though not in its strictest traditional sense)?
Although it is obvious that today’s lifestyle is very different from that of our ancestors (the hunter-gatherers), we can easily establish similarities between the two, particularly in terms of competition. As opposed to the context of competition from our hunter-gather ancient friends that is revolved around the survival of their genes in the generations to come, our version of competition is more complex, even artificial.
In today’s society, our competition stems from material manifestation (objects, money) for power and prestige, from beauty comparisons (desire to look better than others) for mating privileges, and from happiness levels for a sense of simply trying to look like one’s living better, hence happier, than others (even if it’s all fake).
To complicate the situation even more, in the modern world, there is no longer so much emphasis on how physically fit one is. If one is sick, technology and medicine have the magic power to prolong and sustain one’s life or make one’s disability less of a burden. It’s almost like everyone has an equal chance to live a great life on Earth.
Yet, this is not the case.
Certain races (without getting into disabled people) are discriminated for absurd reasons based on unethical standards. They often don’t get the benefit of doubt because others judge them immediately from the onset of seeing their skin colour or reading their names. Like the mother from Two and a Half Man once wisely said: “You know what they say about people who assume? They’re a bitch.”
After many centuries of industrialization, technological and intellectual advancements, we’ve managed to uproot the concept of the survival of the fittest and replace it with a culture of absurd standards, norms and expectations.
Our needs have been distorted as well.
We can all agree on the fact that we all share the same basic needs to be happy (or at least satisfactory): food, water, home, a social network, and opportunities to grow and learn. However, today’s society has warped these needs: for example, exaggerating the importance of having an excess of food, or changing what it means to have a social network.
As a consequence, we live in a world of confusion, depression and unending anxiety where we sometimes eat when we’re not even hungry, where we feel lonely even though we are more connected than ever, where we are trying so hard to be someone we don’t even like, where we do things we actually hate, and where we don’t even understand what living means.
We’ve lost sight of our purpose as beings that can breathe and create amazing things in the limited time we are blessed with on Earth.
In face of this disoriented reality and culture, I wonder if our way to dealing with it is by blaming other people? Like someone who is insecure, but believes the problem (and solution) comes from an outside source. For example, portraying a certain race as being threatening, then getting everyone to focus their efforts on protecting the dominant race from that dangerous group.
Perhaps racism and segregation still exist because of an avoidance on a global-scale of an insecurity and discomfort towards our flawed and unsustainable culture, felt deep down by everyone.
When violence becomes the go-to remedy to the situation, we can only expect more violence to ensue as a protective mechanism. This can explain why infringing acts, related to racism, continue to get worse rather than better, even though we are more aware than ever of the importance to respect one another and not base judgements solely on skin colour or ethnicity.
I believe it’s time to deconstruct the concept of race and stop identifying ourselves and others according to their skin colour or cultural background. Everyone deserves the benefit of doubt, even the ones who have once committed a violent act, to prove themselves again. It’s time to start basing one’s worth on one’s character and personality rather than “where they’re from.”
Let us break loose from ideological labels and put a wedge in the cycle of hatred. Let us focus on what’s most important: rebuilding a culture of love and respect not only for each other, but also for the natural environment that needs our attention more than ever.
Love bravely, believe greatly.