We , human beings, always succumb to the temptation of judging the book by the cover , by the label.
The biggest ‘label’ is obviously your skin colour . But so often , it is more than that ; men against women , north against south , one religion against another , rich against poor , heterosexuals against homosexuals (for us, even specialists against generalists!) etc . The list is an exhaustive one.
Fundamentally , if I don’t ‘like’ you , anything you do or say is vile and you deserve my automatic rejection. If you do not belong to my ‘group’ or tribe, you need to stay away .Thousand years of history have passed and we do not seem to have learnt any lesson .
But then we also talk about ‘freedom’ ; freedom of speech , freedom of expression and freedom of press . Question is ‘does everyone know the true meaning of freedom?’ Indulging in the reflex actions following our likes and dislikes , is not to me freedom. This indulgence with hasty judgement (instead of discerning the facts of the matter ) is , ironically, our invisible shackles .Rather, I would want to ask myself everyday whether I have treated others fairly and respectably . Ultimately, it is also about our capacity to accommodate, really great capacity we are talking here. The same capacity when Voltaire wrote ,
‘’I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say.’’
Unfortunately, the recognition of this ‘universal virtue’ is often blinded and overshadowed by our greed , self-pride and most significantly , desire to overpower those we would consider as inferior(pure malice if being conscious; biased if being unconscious!)
Those who share these ‘qualities’ are members of our tribes ; those who don’t are aliens. Zuo zhuan (左傳）, one of the oldest Chinese historical literature written over 2000 years ago , already had this saying ,’ if you are not in my tribe , your heart must be different’ （非我族類，其心必異）.
This world remains as conservative as once it was . Instead of progressing with our civilisation, we have chosen to regress to tribalism , isolationism and protectionism. We deliberately allow our differences and disputes to ferment into prejudice and discrimination. With some spices of arrogance and bigotry, we direct hurtful actions (inactions) against each other .........
"No-one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion."