… but remember that we are all the same.
Just this morning, I was walking down the sidewalk, trying to take as little space as possible so that more people could pass by and no traffic would form. However, other people walking in groups do not seem to care about anyone else but themselves, taking up the whole sidewalk, completely ignoring the single passerby. I was taught that if I am walking next to someone, and there is someone else approaching from the opposite direction, I am to make space by abandoning the horizontal wall of people for a short while. Let the other person pass. The majority does not own the sidewalk. We are all its users, we need to share the space.
A man was sitting on one end of the bench, when I approached it and I sat down on the other end. There was ample space between us for anyone who wanted to sit down next to us. We did not have to wait long, before a couple came by and sat in the middle. I picked up my belonging and placed them in my lap, and then scooted over to the side, making more space, so the newcomers could sit comfortably. And oh, how comfortably they sat… The guy, who was sitting next to me, spread his legs so wide that I did not think was possible. He also spread his arms like an eagle getting ready to fly. And then he inching towards me. Suddenly, I found myself on the very edge of the bench, uncomfortably clinging to my seat, which in turn prompted me to get up and just leave. No, the bench was not my property, but do not go pushing someone, who made all the accommodations for you, off the bench!
We live in the world of “ME”. A world in which individualism is being rewarded. You take a bunch of selfies, you can become an Instagram model, acquire sponsors and earn a nice living. You might try to become famous through YouTube by documenting your every move. People like having a hero; a person they can look up to; a person, whom they can relate to. It seems that wherever I turn, I see articles on transgender people, articles on black women, etc. It is trendy to feature testimonials from minorities of all sorts. There is a racial storm in the U.S.A, greatly involving the media of all shapes and sizes. While it is those racially motivated articles in the papers and on the Internet that motivated me to write this blog post, different minority groups contributed greatly to my feelings on what I call: “See ME”.
We have developed this coping mechanism, that is now doing more harm than good. In order to console our children (and ourselves), we have learned that we are all different and therefor we are all special in our unique little ways. (Does unique always mean useful???) Myself, I have never felt like I fit in. I am not going to try and compete for “Who Had It Worse?” trophy (unlike some of the people in the spotlight), but I will say that I know the feeling of being different. This notion of “inclusion” was not popular/ known back in my days. Some kids did not want to hang out with me, prompting me to find others that did. When there were times when I felt like I was all alone, I figured out a way to hang out with me, myself and I. My parents were supportive, but they also knew other kids would not change just because I wanted them to. It was up to me to toughen up and make things work for me. It was up to me to create the best opportunities for myself, rather than expect others to do it for me. Life is not fair, and expecting others to roll the red carpet for you, just because you demand it is plain silly.
For the longest time, I was under the impression that African-Americans, feminists and members of the LGBTQ+ community wanted equal rights. It was my understanding that they were fighting for fairness and equal opportunity. However, I now doubt that a tiny bit.
You might think it is cliche, but I will say it anyway – I see you for what you are – a human being. Any further relations that we might have will be based on your character and its compatibility with mine. If we meet in a workplace, I will judge you based on your skills, not the color of your hair, or the pattern on your tie. I absolutely detest when people hide behind the fake racism/ sexism/ homophobia/ whathaveyou card. An example can be found here, where a female politician accuses a male politician of being sexist and racist, because he thought another male politician would be better suited as a representative than her. It seems like the most normal excuse. It is like the Joker card – it trumps all other arguments. Because I am not a psychic, I do not know what the man was really thinking, but the black female is not either. Maybe there were other factors considered (other than race and gender)? *Mind blown*
Ultimately, this post is not about race. It is about people who are “different” from the majority, who claim to want to be treated like the majority, but who rub their differences into our faces any chance they get. I understand they are trying to gain traction, trying to speak out about their hardship, trying to pave the way for others. In the meantime, what is really happening is that THEY are widening the supposed gap between “them” and “us”. I am not saying you should be ashamed of yourself. On the contrary – own being yourself! Celebrate your individualism and differences (if you want to)! But, if you want to be treated “normally” and fairly, stop telling us that you are different and therefor should be treated accordingly. If a young kid (without any experience and prejudice) sees all this media coverage presenting racism and homophobia, he/ she will grow up thinking that there are differences between races and sexual orientation (which there are, but you catch my drift?!), prompting them to treat all these different people differently.
We are one.
We are all humans.
We are all different.
One of a kind.
So, if we are unlike one another, can we expect to be treated the same?
If we are individuals, do we really want to be treated like everyone else?