Diversity in societies is an ordinary phenomenon. Societies, all over the world, are full of different types and groups of people. This diversity can open up a space for hate, despise, intolerance and other inhumane ways of looking upon others. It is more than important to realise that despite all our differences, we may unknowingly share things in common. Those common things cannot be grasped with eyes; one needs to overcome this barrier of judging people based on what he sees and take a deeper look. Our vision will remain limited as long as we judge people based on traits they have no or little control over such as appearance, race, economic class, etc.
When you cross that barrier, you will find yourself able to sympathise more and you will be able to relate to others in ways you didn’t expect. You will be more human and less shallow-minded. Not to mention it will teach you how not to humiliate or bully others only because they seem or appear different.
“It’s easy to put people in boxes. There is us and there is them.. The high earners and those just getting by. Those we trust, and those we try to avoid. The people from the countryside, and those who’ve never seen a cow. There’re those we share something with, and those we don’t share anything with. And then suddenly, there’s “US”. We who believe in life after death. We who’ve been bullied, and we who bullied others. We who are broken-hearted. And we who are madly in love. We who feel lonely. So maybe there’s more that brings us together than we think.”
This beautiful quotation is taken from an ad which depicted the diversity in society and the apparent differences among people. Notice there’s a great message to deliver at the latter half of the quote. After the narrator labels people and splits them into boxes based on their apparent shared traits (i.e. the similar traits they share such as economic status, place of living, etc.). Suddenly when the narrator starts asking personal, deep questions, people start getting out of their boxes and they get into new ones with diverse people. It turns out people can share things with others without knowing, things that are beyond the salient characteristics we notice in each other. And this in fact makes us feel more connected to one another.
History has recorded discrimination towards multiple groups of people. Among them are the Black Americans and Hispanics in the US, gypsies and travellers still struggle with discrimination, people with mental illness are marginalized and discriminated against in various ways, LGBT community and many others. All happens in different parts of the world and some discriminations were brutal. Discrimination is fatal. Racism is fatal. They can lead to hatred and bullying. They can traumatize people and trigger psychological problems.
In a meta-analysis conducted in 2015 on racism, it was found that racism is twice more likely to affect mental health than physical health. It was also found that BIPOC (i.e. black, indigenous and people of colour) who reported experiences of racism also experienced mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, posttraumatic stress disorder, stress and emotional distress.
Next time you find yourself hating or discriminating against someone, think of the consequences ahead. It is not difficult to sympathise and embrace diversity, it’s the right thing to do, it’s humane!
Lewsley, J. (2020), What are the effects of racism on health and mental health? MEDICAL NEWS TODAY, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/effects-of-racism
TV 2 PLAY, (2017), TV 2 | All That We Share [Video], YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD8tjhVO1Tc
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