There is a lot of room in the world for prejudice and hate right now. Certain individuals in power leave space for entire nations to be hated – granted this isn’t exactly new, but it is the first time I am really cognizant enough to be aware of it.
Observing family members write off entire nations because of their leaders has been a new one for me. The individual is not a representation of the whole – not by any means – but it seems to be easier for some to hate an entire landmass than to look at the bigger picture. Stuck in the middle of the racism, xenophobia, bigotry and sexism of individuals are countless other people who are good hearted; who do not stand for this hate, and who did not vote or endorse this in their country. In fact the majority of my current homeland did not vote for this. But it can be easier to get swept up in the anti-American sentiment that has a tight grip on the other countries than to look at the larger picture. Boycotting an entire country and its people gets nothing done. Conversation does.
Lets face it, it is so much simpler to decide to hate an entire race, or nation based on a few characteristics. It is so simple to cut out an entire group of people, and to decide that you are done with them. It is much harder to engage people in conversation, and to subsequently put yourself in danger of being disagreed with. Oh, maybe you re-posted a few facebook articles or sent out a few messages. But in my opinion, this is cowardly. Maybe that is harsh – maybe it is just garden variety laziness, but when your efforts are met with rejection (because who has ever had their mind changed by one vague article??) your next move is to boycott the entire nation, I call it cowardly.
When we decide to strike out nations from our life, we are making a choice. We are choosing to close ourselves off to millions of humans who have never experienced anything else. This is so important. These are the people who need opposing conversation the most. How can you know of a different way of being when your entire world is based around a fifty-mile radius? We only elicit change in this world by conversation. Nobody responds well to being peppered online with articles implying your lifestyle choices are wrong. Exactly no change will ever be taken up that way. But through real human connection and genuine curiosity into why things are the way the way, people can change their minds. I have experienced this first hand in the past year.
Shutting yourself off from real conversation due to an inability to acknowledge a different view point is hypocritical and self defeating. If your ego is so large that you cannot even be open to conversation, you are no better than the people who threaten you. Because I truly believe that people are innately good. We are born into this world with zero defenses, and rely on our parents love to keep us alive. We rely on our friends and family as we grow up to keep us safe, teach us how to be unafraid, and to show us how to take our place in the world. Sometimes this doesn’t occur correctly, and that can take a lifetime of work to break the cycle of abuse. But I truly believe that humans want connection and love, and this doesn’t stop depending on who is currently in power.
It stops when we write people off for their choices. It stops when we pull up the drawbridge of conversation. And it stops when we stop asking questions, and learning from each other.
Every day choose whatever leads you to more love and connection. It really is that simple.
Peace and love,