I’m sure some of you reading this will be able to relate in some way or another to my experiences. How such experiences can somehow shape us into the people we are today. And how sometimes if we keep any feelings of bitterness or hatred within us, we can still carry the slight stigma along with us; whenever we are faced with certain conflicts that are based upon us feeling somewhat ‘different’. A prime example of this includes our race, ethnicity and religion, which throughout the years, has contributed a great deal to the regulation of an oppressive society. Historical events clearly indicate that due to such ‘differences,’ many individuals have suffered from unjust treatment, physical/psychological harm, slavery and even death.
Speaking from my own experiences, growing up in the 80s did have its challenging moments. I remember a time when my family were the only ‘different’ people living in the neighbourhood and when my mother would return home – a match stick was always clogged deliberately within the keyhole after she picked us up from school. This was of course intentional so that we would eventually move out of the area.
I remember another time which involved my father’s teeth being smashed into for simply being the only ‘different’ looking person in the supermarket aisle. Other times, I was spat on, called very degrading names, ignored by fellow class-mates, punched, kicked and threatened with the use of violence; all because I looked ‘different’ or because I ‘failed’ at their ongoing commands to ‘go home!’
As a child, I never really understood why some would behave in such a way. For a long time I was left feeling lost, empty and confused. Never could I comprehend how so much hatred could exist in another human being until I grew up to realise how hatred towards another can become so easily ingrained within society.
This is by no means a hatred blog post targeted at others nor is it a representation of me having a ‘racial chip’ on my shoulder. Rather I feel it is important for us to safely reflect upon such personal experiences and not allow them to grow into feelings of bitterness or hatred towards others. In my case, they have made me into the strong and compassionate person I am today. A person who wishes to see a world that is not as divided as we still see it to be the case at this present time. To instead embrace the togetherness of living in peace – in the one world we call home.
I partly thank my mother for indirectly encouraging this peaceful stance, as when she acknowledged that it was her next door neighbour who would intentionally stick a match stick into the keyhole, she would respond by remaining kind during all her interactions. A lovely friendship eventually resulted from this and the neighbours realised that we were not that ‘different’ from them after all. Who would have thought that acts of kindness could prove to be so effective. Children are able to learn and recall a great deal of things from the caregivers they cherish most while growing up.
Does this mean I condone what happened to me or to my family; or to many others around the world who have experienced similar forms of discrimination? No. Does this mean I think we should all have to go through such hardships or that we even deserve to? Absolutely not! I just feel that in order for us all to fully move forward in a civilised and peaceful manner, one way is to allow any hidden emotions or feelings of animosity to re-surface so that we can safely deal with them; without the need to harm another human being including ourselves. In my case, I felt a strong sense of relief and peace from just acknowledging what happened, and learning to let go and even forgive those whom I felt victimised by over the years. I did not want to feel deep resentment and hatred within my heart but instead I wanted to free myself from it all.
So to really move forward peacefully, it appears crucial that we also educate ourselves and gain a deeper understanding of how discrimination and inequalities exist in society; whilst also gaining more of an understanding of the profound impact it can have upon the lives of those who become victim to such discrimination. What are the underlying factors? Is it due to societal divisions? Or is it due to people’s own personal experiences of feeling victimised?
I also speak of the many other forms of discrimination that exist in society today; based upon our gender, sexual orientation, mental/physical capacity, hair colour, body shape/weight to the way we dress, speak and earn our income. A lot of which is intended to keep our minds fixated on the false ideology that we are all separate from one another when in fact we are actually all one!
It can be said then that race and ethnicity has had much of an impact in the world over the years. Whilst as a nation we have moved forward in a positive way in terms of the Equality Act legislations and being open to appreciating diversity in our personal relationships with others, there still remains to be elements of the hidden remarks and discrimination in society today. This appears to have escalated more so since the terror attacks.
In the midst of what we are all seeing and hearing in the media, it is understandable that we are surrounded by negative emotions. I have witnessed this myself by sensing all kinds of ill feeling amongst others. However, it is important for us to remember that many of us want to live in a peaceful world; a world where our children can grow up to feel safe and loved; where there is peace, equality and justice.
Compared to the whole world, there are only a select few who engage in sadistic violence and hatred. If we begin hating all those whom we feel represent these groups; simply because of their religion, background or colour of their skin then we too will be drawing ourselves in to that same hatred. It is unfortunate that the media has the propensity to encourage this through negative reporting and almost always fails to mention the positive things that are actually taking place in the world today.
I feel that it is important that we each be very mindful of what we see and hear; to take an objective and peaceful stance towards all matters. Let us show the world that we wish to surround ourselves with love and peace. A step closer to achieving this is by not allowing our hearts to feel the hatred and fear that we so easily have the tendency to cling on to if we are not careful.
I leave you all now with the inspirational words of the late Nelson Mendela, as I feel that his words beautifully express what this blog is all about. Love & Blessings to you all.
Blogger: Amana Y.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
– Nelson Mendela (Long Walk to Freedom)