I will start with the end – YOU ARE HUMAN.
I was having a passionate chat with my friend today. To give background he is British and of African ancestry (Nigerian). He’s very loving of equal rights, and rightly so. He can be more Malcolm X than MLK. Which has resulted in us clashing at times. I’m not going to even say that African decedents in America and around the world really have equal rights. Yes in a legal sense but they do seem to get picked on in the US, prison stats would re-enforce this. Some residual hatred and stereotyping remains from the times of slavery. This needs to be changed. My friend and I both agree on this.
Where we differ is in our approach. He is solely focused on black people. Whereas I chip in with “you should be focused on all people”. He fervently buys into the idea of black and white. I’m saying that by accepting those labels you are indirectly making something insignificant the defining identity variable. The thing that people pigeon hole themselves by. This furthers discrimination. Imagine a world where someone tries labeling you and you say “nah man, I’m human”.
For me, labels are bullshit. I’m a Christian, I’m a Muslim, I’m black, I’m a lawyer. You are none of those things. You are a human being. You are a human who practices law. You are a human of African origin. You are a human who’s faith is Buddhism.
My point is if we stopped putting so much importance on defining our identity with physical and cultural labels, and more time educating youth to realise that we are all one. That we are all human. That as a brotherhood, we need to love each other. When those old labels we so passionately clung too, wouldn’t seem as important.
I think the reason a lot of prejudice remains towards African Americans (as an example) is because we only ever cut down the plant (the issue), for example we stopped slavery, then got equal rights in place, but we left the root of the plant in the ground. So new issues grow back each year. We need to remove the root of the problem. That to me is seeing everyone as separate. If we all celebrated our one common interest, humanity, we may start turning it all around. Coleman Barks said it best when interpreting Sufi poet Rumi “You couldn't possibly go to war, if the friend of the beloved was everyone”. What he meant was if you knew (which you do deep down in your gut) that we are all connected at some level and we all share the same human fate, you could never treat anyone bad. Because you would only be hurting yourself.
“Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one”
- John Lennon
If I help someone, it has nothing to do with their skin colour, their religion or their culture. It has everything to with humanity.
I guess my plea to you is: Please see the light that is in each person before you acknowledge other ‘real world’ factors.
A world with that perspective would remove racial and religious boundaries.
To your success,
Regardless of what colour your skin, who your God is or your social status. Let's heed Martin Luther King's (Jesus') advice and love those that hate us, because they are just lost and sick individuals, desperately seeking home. Eventually with this strategy and saying "I'm human", we can get everyone on the same page. If someone really pushes you however, feel free to give them a slap (Disclaimer: At your own risk, absolute last resort, and your own free will).
P.S. Don't slap them. Walk away.