Tag Archives: prejudice

Thinking – Blog No. 66

DEBUTANTE’S BALL

Don’t look at your feet, he said, or you will trip.  Look straight ahead, at the far side of the room.
We crowded the staircase for a posed photo
after raiding the car park for some car-stereo O.M.D.,
illicit beers and cigarettes
and
our chaperones’ better sense for underage champagne.
Sparkling wine, actually.
Mildly a-buzz
we accepted certificates for our virginity
and waited to be stormed by the eligible batchelors.
I am still waiting.
I have told you beowulf, I hate waiting.

I wait for you to bare your teeth at me in a riding-hood smile
I anticipate shooting that smile off your face.
Eagerly.
Smug bastard, take a hike to nowhereland.
I have no time free to send your shit into my dreams.
You better not have told me another bullshit rendition of your truth.
Thus far, I only know yours in condition, like as in conditional.
I don’t agree with that.  I agree with as is.
That means eclectic – a bit new, a bit old.
A bite-sized bit in the middle.

Until ever, there will be three.  I go for ply-policy.
Never put your ducks in a row.  They are too easy to shoot.
Always put your eggs in the basket.  It kept Moses alive.
©
DINNER AT ABDEL’S

The goat coming for supper was an added boon.
The invitation was so warm, sincere, it did not cross my mind to say no, thank you –
even though the taxi was a stranger
and
we were seven months pregnant.
We sat cross-legged at a knee-high table
dressed in blue and white
and
spread with kind gestures and sweet memories
I am fortunate enough to have shared.

The stars spoke to us of Islam and Islamicism
and
Anti-Islamic hators.
We dissected western interest in a tourist trap
and
I felt affronted at the lack of respect shown
to a land of faith, in a land of faith
that protects the feminine.
That was me, feeling.
Not suspicion, prejudice, fear, doubt or recrimination.
Just love.

The moon tricked us into talking past midnight
and
we invoked spirits in German, English, French, Muslim.
For I believe that Muslim is a language all of its own.
As is any, that cares enough for its people.
I delighted in your children’s certificates and songs
and
loved their shyness.
I felt like part of your family.
I am grateful that you showed us around.
It made Tunisia feel like home.
©

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Stereotyping – Blog No. 37

stereotype

It is important not to stereotype people, a people.  Stereotyping and assumption are not that far removed from one another.  For instance, you cannot assume that because a man comes from a line of ancestors that believed in the practice of eating humans, he is a ‘savage’ at heart.  You cannot assume any of his ancestors were savages at heart, either.  It is the same to me as calling these communities ‘primitive’ simply because they choose – or chose – to live at one with Nature, pitted against her elements – rather than adapting to the alternative, Christianity, and drowning in the shame that colonisers brought to their shores.  For cannibals, the practice of eating another human being was a very serious business, it was not a wild urge that needed ‘taming’ by the whites.

Stereotyping tends to result in the objectifying of people, a people.  It gives them a label before they have had a chance to show who they are.  If labelled wrongly, a person may become disinclined to show anybody anything.  It does not take long to realise that it is a serious waste of energy trying to convince a prejudiced mind that it is mistaken.  When that prejudiced mindset is eventually exposed – because it will be – there will be no one around who will be bothered to tell that mind the real truth.

Stereotyping is a cop out.  Rather take the time to find out who a person is, and what has shaped them the way they have become.  Judgements are split-second, that is true for most people and it is not easy to refrain from deciding at a glance what a person is about.  You cannot know what a person is about unless you understand what made them the way they are.  The only way to know that, is to ask.  If you do not get an answer, it is likely that you will not understand.

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Foreigners – Blog No. 33

WorldLanguagesCF1Wherever you are in this world, you are likely to encounter foreigners.  If you should travel, you yourself will be a foreigner.  Feeling foreign is stressful.  Being treated as a foreigner is an uncomfortable feeling.  Particularly when that treatment is ongoing no matter how long you stay in a place.  Perhaps it is simply suspicion that makes people treat foreigners as if they were a lesser breed.  Perhaps it is more than that.  Fear of difference (… yawn …) keeps guards up, and this prevents open exchange between strangers.  You cannot have an open exchange with someone you mistrust.  It is important to trust yourself, too, it enables you to trust others without fear.  Foreigners are not usually dangerous.  It is safe to say there are more people on this planet that can be trusted, than those that cannot.  Just open your ears.  You will hear the difference, no matter what language comes rolling off a tongue.

Foreigners are a valuable source of income for any country.  They can also be an education if you can be bothered to give them the time of day.  Prejudice against anything foreign, or new, is not productive for anybody.  You cannot hope to grow when you are not interested to learn from another how they happened upon life, how it has moulded them.  The way you are – and the way you feel about that, as well the way you feel about your place in the world around you speaks for you when you enter into open exchange with someone from another country.  If they are interested to speak to you, they will read your ‘type’ in your eyes.  Your upbringing will show itself, your conditioning.  If you will not meet the eyes of a foreigner simply because they are foreign, you are rude.  If you will not meet the eyes of a woman, for whatever reason, you are even ruder.

Being foreign in a place should be enjoyable and exciting.  It is a learning.  Everyone should be bothered about learning from each other.  You cannot make the jump you need to make into your future without the insights of people who are not like you.  You cannot get where you need to be without cooperation.  We are like keys and locks – each one of us.  Give benefit of the doubt where possible.  It is good for you.  It is also good for the other person.  If you are taken advantage of, you will learn what not to do again.

 

 

 

 

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The Circus – 2

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The matinee performance held at high noon is packed.
Word of the glamour girls has leaked out. It never takes long.
The dads volunteer a day off work to take the kids on an ‘outing’.
The moms visit the spas and get pedicures. What a treat!
The cowboys have included some Indians in their act.
That always gets the boys hopping.
The girls watch, impassive.
They have seen prejudice before.
The boys beg for bows and arrows from the souvenir stall on the way out.
They want to shoot.
The dads comply. They want to shoot.
All in all, everyone leaves smiling.
The girls do like watching the dancers.

Do you buy candyfloss or popcorn when choosing snacks for your kids?
Perhaps you ask them their preference.
That is the polite thing to do.
If your child is too young to make a selection for itself, get both.
The child will appreciate your enterprise.
Do you believe that children should not eat sugar or salt?
Like fructose and gluten-free lactose are the only options?
Then you are destroying the delight in a child.
Everything in moderation (despite moderation being potentially fatal),
so we must also consider moderation in moderation.
That logic works for adults and for children.
You cannot watch a child laugh too much.
You cannot watch a child love too much.
The same applies to adults.

The trapeze artists/artistes warm up with their opening act.
They may as well.
Point. Flex. Lunge. Stretch. Breathe.
Point. Flex. Lunge. Stretch. Breathe.
They celebrate their evolution the way it should be celebrated.
They pay tribute to their muse.
The ‘aerial silk’ is not nervous.
Nerves do not play in their game.
They do not pay, either.
The trapeze artists/artistes have respect for the ‘aerial silk’.
You cannot witness their art and remain scornful of human beings.
Did you ever watch The Cirque de Soleil?
If you never did – you should.
Who needs animals?

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Burning – Blog No. 92

"Toro Jubilo" (Joy of the Bull) festival in the Medieval village of Medinaceli, in the province of Soria, north east of Madrid.As far as hellfire goes, I would not lose too much sleep over the thought that your ‘sins’ in life are going to have landed you in a pit of fire for eternity.  That isn’t what happens.  In anycase, when you are dead, you do not feel.  You could sit in a cauldron of boiling water all day.  Your burning happens while you are living.  That is what conscience is.  That is also what dumb public opinion is.  A branding.  Should it be negative opinion that follows your happenings – and your management of those happenings – you will feel the burn.  That burn is what you learn from.  It is not often easy to be thankful to those who cause you to burn in this life, in fact it is most often the desire of those under fire to do some serious damage to the person or institution doing the burning.  However.  There is always the charitable process of instant forgiveness via the grace of God – if that way is for you.  Or – you tolerate the burn and try to understand what is causing the friction in your days.

If you should find that it is you that is causing friction for yourself because you are being an arsehole in life – and again, both men and women qualify as arseholes – then you must accept the burn.  You allocate to yourself your suffering.  You will burn until you are made humble enough to realise that the way you think and the way you behave towards others does matter.  You will burn until you adjust your attitude to include the understanding that everything you do in life is measured.  Every single thing.  If you are feeling friction because external prejudice is criticising you or your choices, you need to distance yourself from the idiots who practice that prejudice.  Burning because you are gay, for instance, is unacceptable.  Burning because you dare to follow your heart?  That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life.  Who dares persecute a person who decides to follow what might appear to the masses to be an ‘unconventional’ path in their pursuit of purpose?  Convention, as a norm, is a load of shit – and tradition is not much better.  They both confine dreams, thinking.  Tradition and convention are constructs.  Reconstruct them.

There are those who enjoy burning.  And there are those who enjoy being on fire.  Leave them be.  It depends what you have been trying to achieve with your life as to how close you will have ventured to the flames and how long you will have exposed yourself to their heat.  Fire is transformative, no matter how you look at it.  The hotter your spot – and we all know what hot means – the more corrective your karma.  That is such a simple concept to understand.  Let karma play out the way it must.  It has your best interests at heart.

And keep in mind that for a phoenix, fire is necessary for rebirth.  For rising.  In the same way the burn caused by your conscience is necessary.  If you have no conscience, know that you are going nowhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DNA – Blog No. 21

30DNA Studies should be included in primary school curricula.  Imagine the suspense, waiting for the results of who you are to arrive in class.  Every child should contribute a sample of their own DNA and then study his or her heritage.  Each child must learn just how important what makes us up, is.  When you demonstrate to a child who it really is you will see prejudice disappear like magic.  How can you possibly be racist when you discover that in your life chain you have links made of every texture and colour?  I look at black people and wonder how much black is in me.  I wonder how much white is in them.  Coming from Zimbabwe, I have an inherent blackness, my heart belongs at home in Africa.  But I am white.  I have learned that this happens, and it doesn’t matter.  It is how you feel inside that is of consequence.  Until we appreciate properly the resonance of association with others, it seems we will not be able to see beyond the pale.

I think DNA should be on everyone’s minds.  Yours, that of your friends, your family.  For even you and your brother, your sister, are not the same though you share the same DNA.  Its existence is miraculous.  DNA tells our life stories.  All of them.  It tells us of the lives of those that came before we did.  It is a living history.  A certain truth.  I think we learn experience before we live it.  I think it is through watching our parents tackle life that we understand how to be.  This is both a good thing, and a bad thing.  It depends on your role model.  Being that we all play roles in this life, it is vital to realise that you may be someone’s role model.  If you have or had no parents to watch, I think you will adopt the ways of those role models most invasively in your space.  If you feel a love as a child, that is invasive.  If you feel a hatred as a child, that is invasive.  Do not make the mistake of thinking that invasive applies only to a violence.  A child’s space is invaded by many things, much of the time, until it is six.  A child’s retention – its ability to learn – during this time is mind-blowing.  I don’t think respect is a given when it comes to modelling yourself on another.  We emulate others because we respect them, of course.  We also emulate others because they seem to have a power that perhaps we feel we do not have.  We copy what works for them in the hopes that it will work for us, too.  This mimicking is not often a waste of energy, but it is not overly productive.  When something is done 33 times, it becomes a habit.  The same act must be not done 33 times in order to turn this habit around.  Be yourself for 33 days in a row.  No holds barred.  It’s a real challenge.  Imagine spending the next month being completely honest and speaking your mind.  What a relief?  You might be surprised.  Truth is one of those things that a lot of people are not bothering to hear.  They are not deaf, these people, they have just mastered the art of selective hearing.  To penetrate their particular stony silence we need to have something very relevant to say.  Ignorance understands relevance, if nothing else.  I think in a world as self-obsessed as this one we need to prove to people that they are relevant.  We can start by showing them who they are.

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