I’m sure everyone has that one family member or friend that is very, very racist/chauvinist/orthodox, oh, unintentionally of course, but very much still biased towards anything and everything that does not match their standard of a normal person. This person may or not be aware of what he/she is doing but to a person who is aware of these things and is sensitive to gender, colour, race and lifestyle bias, this can be shocking, sometimes appalling and more often than you’d think – hurtful.
I have seen many people with the tendency to be insensitive towards people who society marginalizes. These incidences shock me because it’s not only that we are all human and that there should be no demarcating factor there, it is also about not trying to prove that some people are better than others. Because if one is trying to do so, Hitler is a proud man in hell. Here are some sentences that I've heard around me that have caused me to stop and evaluate for a moment, how society differentiates itself on the basis of its diversity.
“What was the name of that of that African coach? You can hardly tell those people apart!”
“You’re SO gay man…”
“So, when are you leaving for the land of our little yellow friends?”
“You have to learn to cook. Who will feed your husband? You expect HIM to cook?”
“Yo nigga! Waddup man!”
“She’s such a slut! I saw her kissing two guys in the same week!”
“So, what caste do you belong to?”
“Hey, don’t these Chinese all look like - the same?”
“What’s your religion?”
“Dude, you’re hanging out with those goras(white people)?”
And these are just some that I vividly remember for their scathing attack on people of different nationalities, different coloured skin, women, different religions/castes, different lifestyle choices and different relationship status’. It is even more disgusting to hear these things from those who you are surrounded with. Everywhere I go, I get to hear such tripe. Is it that people think that they are perfect and that these so-called “other people” are abnormal or freaks or weird and should not be part of society?
The answer, I feel, to this dilemma is not tolerance of all people. That might be confusing since everyone nowadays seems to be advocating tolerance towards everything else. Tolerance towards other religions, tolerance towards lower caste people, tolerance towards homosexuals, tolerance towards transsexuals, tolerance towards this and tolerance towards that… The list can go on. But I wonder - Is it tolerance that we need? In fact, what is tolerance? Tolerance is the mighty responsibility of the superior people to bear with the whims and fancies of the inferior people. That’s what tolerance means. Now, do we need that? Do we need to look down on people who are a wee bit different from people in our Utopian society? Or do we need to understand that we are all equal and one is not superior over any other person.
I’m not saying that I’m totally blameless here. I look into the mirror today and I see a hypocrite. Yes, because I've laughed at some of these, I've responded to some of these and I've not bothered to rebuke people who have said these things. But in retrospect, I have felt great remorse for what I have done to encourage people who make up such stuff and I have made up my mind to help people become aware of what they are saying and why it is against humanity as a whole. This is my commitment, my contribution to the betterment of society as I see it. I hope that at least one person will someday stop and think what they just said about another human being. That will be my greatest reward.