Default avatar user thumb

shivar

Singapore

Message to Readers

hello :) this is just something I wrote that was inspired by that particular Christopher Isherwood quote, and it's a matter that's of personal significance to me. please do drop any random thoughts/comments you have on the piece, I'd appreciate it very much :)

Fear of (being) the minority

November 5, 2015

PROMPT: Open Prompt

0
"A minority is only thought of as a minority when it constitutes some kind of a threat to the majority, real or imaginary. And no threat is ever quite imaginary. "
- Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man

Minorities have been subdued for years for various reasons, should they be unknown or misunderstod.

That doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that they aren’t widely known. Minorities were never suppressed because of pride. Pride wasn’t what led people to step over those who were considered lesser than them. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Fear.

Fear is a part of any person’s conscience, and it is something that haunts us all the time. Whether it lurkes somewhere in the further reaches of your mind, or has parked itself right at the front of your psyche, the fact is that it’s there. It exists in every one of us. Some have more, others have less. Some fear things that are completely ordinary, like tan coloured couches or centipedes. Others could be completely nonsensical, like serial killing clowns, but a fear is a fear nonetheless (hence the term phobia).

Fear is at the root of every insecurity, every doubt and every moment of hesitance. Fear is present to hinder you, but also to push you further. Fear can bind you, it can paralyse you until you feel like you can’t move or breathe lest the whole world come crumbling down on you. Fear can also keep you moving, keep you quick, keep you hyperaware of every minute detail that goes by. Fear can be something you mask with a roll of the eyes and a humorous smirk, something you hide from all outward appearance except for that hint of panic and anxiety in your eyes no one knows to look for. Fear can be something you bottle up desperately until it eventually explodes from all the pressure you put on it to keep it away. And when you have those that fear, there are also those of us who are considered “brave”, as we choose to vanquish our fears.

I call bullshit.

Fear is something that is an inherent part of our beings. Fear makes us human. Trying to banish that fear and make it go away only shows more weakness. People that try to stamp down on their fears, tear them apart and flush away the pieces are the biggest cowards of all. They do not have the strength or the endurance to embrace their fears and live and learn with them.

Fear makes a person better. It can inspire a person to be better, to be braver, to reach a level where they are at peace with their fear, and not let it affect them. You are only truly strong and brave if you try and change yourself to face your fear. Changing other people or circumstances to alleviate your fear is one of the most cowardly, spineless things a human could ever do.

Therein lies the beginning of humankind’s phobia and prejudice against the unfamiliar, against what they are scared may eventually overwhelm them. Such is the extent of humans’ jealousy and insecurity that they go so far just to beat others down before they have a chance to speak.

Imagine the first day of school. You live in a country where you are the majority, be it ethnically or otherwise. You see someone different from you, different from most others around you. They are odd. They are intriguing.

But you don’t know them. What if they are better than you? What if they are terrible people who don’t share your ideas of culture and civilisation? So you beat them down before they can even try to shake your hand. This is what is being done to minorities worldwide. Persecution only occurs because of humans’ selfish drive to protect the religious and cultural beliefs and rights of the “majority”.

Even if the majority is a major shareholder, the others with smaller shares still get to comment on the final direction of the company. The majority doesn’t rule the world such that they have the power to decide what everyone else can or cannot do, and they know that. They are scared of the change that will come when they are forced to share.

In a way, we are all still children at heart. The world, or our society, is our favourite toy, and no one wants to share their favourite toy. They are inseperable, and want to keep playing with it, even when, although they don’t know it yet, they will one day discard it and find something else to play with. We are scared of sharing the world with others, and along the way, compromising our beliefs, because they are what is most precious to us. What we oftentimes fail to realise is that one day we will die, and it’ll be our future generations who will inherit the earth and decide what to do with it. Ultimately, we are worried only about how change will affect our lifetime in this earth, and not how it affects the entire earth, or religion, or culture at all.

Here is the root of the problem of fighting against minorities. We are perhaps not scared that they will overtake the majority, because that much is, eventually, inevitable. We fear that these cultures will cause us to change the way we live our lives. We don’t want to be the generation that is affected by the presence of other cultural paradigms. We just want to keep prolonging it until we don’t have to face it anymore. Some other generation will be left to deal the problems that we ignored, or that we never resolved.

Change is inevitable. Change is the one and only fixed point in time. What we (think we) can control, though, is when the change occurs, so we, like the selfish people we are, fight until it isn’t our fight anymore, because we think that’s when the fight ends.

It’s not.

True visionaries and activists knew this, and they did what they did so that the fight would be well and truly over, and not just for their generation, but for those beyond. While that does hold true for some fights, it doesn’t work that way for every controversial paradigm that causes the plague of ignorance we have today. Exoneration will never be possible until we get rid of that blind eye, and learn to look at the world without our slanted perceptions marring and tinting everything we see.

At the end of the day, we are still all ruled by our fears, which honestly, makes us nothing more than children. We claim to age, but we never truly mature, do we? Most of us continue to live out our lives as children. Irrationally possessive over our “belongings” and unwilling to share.

Except, society doesn’t only belong to one individual or group, it belongs to everyone. Unlike children, we lack the open mindedness that we were once born with. We take our cognizance and turn that gift into something entirely unsavoury as, throughout our lives, we chip and carve away at our eager acceptance until all that remains is a thing of prejudice and narrow mindedness, with jagged edges and a stubbornness that disallows it from fitting together with any other piece of the jigsaw that is our world.

Print

See History
  • November 5, 2015 - 12:09am (Now Viewing)

Login or Signup to provide a comment.