Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Sad "S" - 'Segregation'

Previously In the A-Z series

"The greatest motivator of humankind and human behavior is fear" (by Sigmund Freud)

Hello Everyone,
Every day for us is a judgment day and no I am not talking about the Terminator movie Judgment Day. I am talking about the judgment we pass onto others, over others and for others. We as human beings are taught to segregate behaviors, emotions, things and people into separate buckets and once we have done that anything outside that bucket or comfort zone is beneath us. No one is exempt from this, not one single person no matter how much saint they claim to be.
What I am talking about? I am talking about the prejudice we create because of the natural tendency of human mind to segregate based on experiences and fear - fear of losing the status quo. Just think whena person start learning skating he has a hard time telling his mind that while skating the tilting of body forward is natural and required and only when mind and body accepts it the person will be able to learn skating. Why it takes so much time to accept it because our mind is in the habit of maintaining of status quo and fearful of what if the conditions change. We are fearful of the unknown.
Coming back to the prejudices, some are pretty harmless and one should not actually worry about that. For example, I don’t like 'ghee'. I had a bad experience in childhood when I ate a very old and stale 'ghee'. Till few years back I had a hard time eating anything that had even the tiniest traces of 'ghee' on it. Does that mean everyone should stop eating that? Of course not and please no offense to the taste buds of people who really love 'ghee'. But a couple of years back I started slowly started trying out again thinking that not every time it will be stale and old. I still avoid if I can but that kind of aversion is no longer there. Had I maintained that status quo I would not have come near for the rest of my life? This was an example of pretty harmless status quo.
But when it comes to prejudices that affect people in groups it becomes serious business. We have worldwide example of segregation - prejudice was the reason why Adolf Hitler rose to power, he has a vendetta against the Jewish community; there was a huge prejudice against the dark skinned people in America until the segregation was outlawed in mid-sixties, Apartheid in South Africa, ironically only 20% population was fair skinned people who thought that they were superiorsto the natives. Did these prejudices do anyone any good? No it only caused bloodshed, deaths and hurt to the populace.
Coming to the present in our own country we have this cursed caste system where prejudices run deep. Marry intercaste and honor killings start to happen, the children are disinherited from the family. And then we blame that the government is not keeping the society safe. There are deep rooted prejudices against female community in this country where even today highly educated people think that their role is only as a housewife and take care of kids and family. And we wonder why this country is going to dogs.
We may blame government all we want but the politicians thrive on the segregation we create. They only fan the flame created by us. We say the government is corrupt but contrary to the popular notion it’s the general population us who is responsible for the majority of the corruption. We don’t realize it but we are the nutrition for these kinds of people. It’s not who they are running the caste politics, it’s us who created the caste politics; they are only reaping the benefits out of it.
Forget about thinking at the national level let’s take a look at the daily routine. When we enter the company mess many of us look down upon the workers and staff there. It’s sad to see the behavior of some of the people. Just because they are standing on the other side of the counter does not mean we can treat them with contempt. Who knows in future we are on that side of the counter. Hence I make it a point to say a 'Hi' and a 'Thank you' whenever I deal with anyone. You will not believe the happiness that brings on their face and in my heart seeing them happy for a moment.
So as we can see that prejudices run deep within us and we are the only one to blame for all the mess we have created. The people in position of power only use this mess to create even more power and profits.
We might have stopped segregation in form of color racism but we have started doing it many other forms. Segregation must go. So how many times have you segregated today? Have you been the part of the problem today? Because if you are not challenging the status quo and changing yourself, you are not part of the solution and when you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
Genie Signing off