” I am ” prejudice
We are constantly bombarded by the media with the news reports of hate crimes. Bigotry, infidelity, nepotism and crimes against cultural, religious,gender or societal groups are so common these days that it does not even phase us for the most part. We see these reports, it may make us feel sick and angry briefly but then we quietly continue our daily mundane lives as if all these things do not effect us. We act as if this is all just happening on television and not really to any one individual or group somewhere else in the world and sometimes even in the next street or town over. The world has become a much smaller place to live in, and with continued depletion of earth’s resources, we really cannot afford prejudice against anyone or any group lest it continue to plague us with violence, war, hate, death and destruction.
Where does this prejudice come from? Clearly we know that little children do not have such attributes when they are born and while their innocence lasts, peace reigns. So taking a page out of their book several questions arise. At what point does this change for them? Is it when they enter preschool, kindergarden, or further on in their educational and life experiences? How can we extend out this range of peaceful coexistence that they have revealed to us for the entire length of their lives?
Some answers may stem from the all mighty ” I am ” that develops very early on in our lifetimes. We have to create this “I am” in order to form this sense of self and belonging. We try to do this so that we understand our place in the universe, our place on the earth as we then try to broaden our sense of purpose. We embed ourselves into this identity that the ego formulates and so cannot change, or can we? We will join into packs and groups and work cooperatively as little children in school but any threat to that fragile ego or the self, results us in shutting down and protecting the ” I am” at whatever the cost. We form groups with other like minded individuals who are unknowingly also fearful. Then to preserve the ” I am ” or the newly formed “we are”, we systematically gravitate to a single ideal not based in fact but more in fiction led by an individual ( arguably the most frightened with the most to lose), and rally behind them. The only way to preserve an ego is to stomp out all other egos with the declaration of not just ” I am or we are” but ” I am right and you are wrong”. Armed with this mantra we proceed to dismantle the existent religious, societal, or cultural structure of others in a desperate effort of self preservation. It is truly a desperate effort as it is really just an expression of the self, but since no one is listening to each other, the shouting to be heard becomes the typical mob mentality that we are accustomed to seeing.
We are hardened by these reports and choose not to accept them as reality, as in doing so, it may just hone in on the fact that such things do happen and that any one of us could be victims of the same prejudice. So we choose to ignore instead of inspire change. We choose to hide instead of hinder the progress of prejudice. The next generation and the subsequent ones are inheriting a world of hate. An earth with scarce resources is what is being left for their future. You can try to change peoples minds with ideals, but you cannot change their prejudices with out changing their hearts. You change the hearts by making people want to change their Selves. If something is important to you or you know it will affect you adversely, you are conditioned and genetically programmed to evolve and adapt. If you realize that there is no threat, there is no fear. If no fear, then you give love a chance to grow within your heart, guided by the aware Self, you then change your mind. Perhaps finding differences in gender, race, religion, creed, societal and cultural values then does not become priority, and the shift to more pressing needs like reducing the burden of negativity in the world, developing peaceful cooperation and re-nurturing dwindling resources takes precedent.
The ” I am” should not to be quenched as one might think, but more allowed to bloom with out the menacing fear of self annihilation. Children are amazingly adaptable and malleable. The role models of their parents,friends and teachers that they follow must be of sound mind, spirit and consciousness if we have any hope to survive as a species. When you find only one type of flower in an otherwise diverse garden, you do not just pluck out the flower but instead you try to grow that species of flower and broaden its survival chances in numbers. You give it the nurturing love that all life needs to succeed and thrive. If we see ourselves only as ” I am” the unfortunately “We” will despair. Almost a self defeating prophecy occurs while trying to preserve the Self, we destroy the self and others in the process. When we harm another in thought, word or act, we have already harmed our Selves.
When you see prejudice, do not turn a blind eye or turn the other cheek. Fighting prejudice is everyones problem not someone else’s problem somewhere else. The ” I am ” concept in my opinion should be expanded to further words such as
” I am more..”
” I am love”
” I am help”
” I am joy”
” I am kind”
“I am goodness”
“I am not prejudicial’
What extension to your ” I am……” will you add on today?